iPad competition with new tablet computers

FRESNO, Calif.

Liz Fogarty Foote bought an iPad as soon as it came out. "I have the iPhone. I have a Macbook Pro. I love it. So as soon as I heard they were making this, I wanted it."

For a while, the iPad stood alone in the tablet-computer arena. But other companies are starting to offer tablets, too.

Consumer reports tested several, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and less-expensive tablets including one sold at Walgreens.

The iPad is the most expensive tablet computer - ranging in price from $500 to more than $800. But you get a lot of bang for your buck. On the iPad, you can create documents, browse the web, and play plenty of games.

The less-expensive tablets cost about a $100, and consumer reports finds you get what you pay for.

"One of the drawbacks we've noticed with some of the less-expensive tablets is you don't get access to Android market, which is where you get your third-party apps from. That's a pretty big problem," Donna Tapellini said.

Another drawback? The touch screens on some are less sensitive, so it's hard to get where you want.

However, the Samsung Galaxy Tab has a lot to offer. It costs less than the iPad - anywhere from $400 to $650. It's smaller and lighter, too, so it's easier to hold while reading books.

And consumer reports' tests show that the Galaxy's screen quality is comparable to the iPad.

And while the Galaxy's small screen might make it less appealing than the iPad for watching movies and TV, it definitely gives the iPad some competition.

"If you're in the market for a tablet computer, right now your only choices really are the Galaxy Tab of the Apple iPad. And the one you choose really depends on what's most important to you," Tapellini said.

Consumer reports' battery-life tests show the iPad has more staying power. Its battery charge lasts a full ten hours, while the Galaxy Tab battery runs only for seven hours.

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