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Apple's iPad mini and iPad 4 win Which? tablet battery tests

Battery usage is often a top consideration for consumers making tablet-buying decisions. But when every manufacturer boasts their device as the longest-lasting, who do you believe?

Consumer watchdog site Which? tested the battery life of more than two dozen iOS, Android, and Windows tablets, to see which one came out on top in in terms of Internet browsing and watching video. The winner: Apple.

The Which? team divided the tablets into two groups — those with a screen size of 7.9in or smaller, and those with a 9.4in and above screen. Each device's screen brightness was set to 200 nits, which the group said is a reasonable indoor daytime level. They were tested on Wi-Fi and 3G networks, when applicable.

Among the 16 larger tablets tested, the iPad with Retina display came out on top, beating its predecessor, the iPad 2, by almost four hours. The second-generation Apple tablet still holds its own, though, managing to last about an hour longer than the Sony Xperia Tablet S, which held more than nine hours more than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1.

Even the Microsoft Surface RT recorded what Which? called a "respectable 501 minutes (over eight and a half hours)," about 30 minutes longer than the new Google Nexus 10, which barely passed the average 451 minutes for all 10in tablets.

"It wasn't such great news for the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime," the site reported. The device lasted about 5.5 hours as a pure tablet, but attach the keyboard dock with additional built-in battery, and it gains another five hours. "While this would put it second overall ... with the dock it weighs a rather hefty 1.1kg — nearly double similar sized tablets."

Though Apple considers its iPad mini to be a 7in tablet, Which? found that the 7.9in device did best all others in the 7in category. It logged 13 hours of Internet browsing, a full three hours longer than the Amazon Kindle Fire HD. Google's Nexus 7 can deliver just over nine hours of Internet surfing, which is more than can be said for the Amazon Kindle Fire.

This, as the smaller of Amazon's lineup, recorded 437 minutes — about half an hour less than the average score of all 10 7in devices tested. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 rounded out the disappointing end, earning slightly more than seven hours of use.