Review: Apple iPad Pro

The latest Apple iPad packs in so much power, it puts a lot of laptops and PCs to shame

Vishal Mathur
First Published22 Dec 2015
The iPad Pro&#8217;s 12.9-inch LED display offers the highest resolution ever in a tablet.<br />
The iPad Pro&#8217;s 12.9-inch LED display offers the highest resolution ever in a tablet.

With the bigger and more powerful iPad Pro, and its gamut of accessories, Apple has tried to make a genuine productivity device, one that can be used to work on documents and spreadsheets, as well as for photo- and video-editing.

Design

The big iPad Pro has the same visual features as the smaller iPad Air 2. You get the same unibody aluminium, in silver, gold and space-grey options. And it is just 6.9mm thick, which is iPhone territory.

There is one very small difference though—hold the Pro in landscape mode, and at the bottom is the new Smart Connector. This three-dot connector can be used to dock the tablet with various keyboard accessories that users may end up buying.

The connector is completely flush with the tablet, unlike the ones on various Windows hybrids that tend to jut out and can get damaged easily.

Display

The 12.9-inch LED (2,732x2,048 pixels) display is the highest resolution ever in a tablet, and the perfect foundation to build the experience on.  For it, Apple has borrowed two display features from the 5K iMac ( 1,48,900) desktop—the first is the oxide thin-film transistor, which retains charge longer while offering an even amount of brightness across the screen, while the variable refresh rate feature means the iPad Pro detects when you are using apps that offer static content and cuts down the refresh rate. The combination is meant to conserve battery life.

The massive screen worked brilliantly for almost every use case scenario we threw at it. The amount of detailing and smoothness in the visually intense Shadowmatic game pretty much proves the advantages of using the technology from the bigger iMac in the iPad Pro screen.

Switch to a movie, and the smoothness of the visuals as well as the colour accuracy is again unparalleled.

The only potential problem at the moment is that not every popular app is geared up to take full advantage of this screen size and resolution. Third-party developers are updating apps quickly, but it will be some time before the sweet spot is achieved.

Performance

Apple has packed in the new 64-bit A9X chip and the M9 motion co-processor.

We played games with dynamic graphics, Full HD and 4K videos and opened many apps in the background—but there didn’t seem to be even a hint of impact on how smoothly you could skip through a 4K video timeline or switch between apps. And you can take full advantage of the Spit view feature that allows two apps to share the same screen space, or the picture in picture modes.

So it’s in the perfect position to be a laptop replacement for power users (video editors and graphic designers, for example), because equivalent Windows options don’t offer such powerful graphics.

The battery lasts almost 11 hours with constant video playback, which is more than the 10 hours claimed by Apple.

Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil

The first big accessory is the Smart Keyboard for iPad Pro ( 14,900), which can pretty much make this a desktop replacement. Made of a mix of durable polyurethane and a soft microfibre, this is a full-fledged keyboard that allows access to the short cuts you may have used on the MacBooks or iMacs. It takes some time to get used to the layout, spacing and travel, but will work well for a lot of users.

The second is the return of the stylus, called the Apple Pencil ( 8,600). This is a must-have accessory for the ultimate power users and artists. You can scribble on images, sign documents virtually, draw diagrams and even full-fledged sketches. Apps such as Adobe Photoshop Sketch, Autodesk SketchBook and Evernote are geared up to take advantage of the Pencil’s capabilities.

Our take

While it is meant to appeal to a wide demographic of users, we feel that this sort of performance and screen size will be an overkill for casual users.

It’s ideal for people who need to replace their work machine, designers, and for those who want something to edit videos on. The price point of 67,900 for the 32 GB (Wi-Fi) version, it must be noted, is lower than what you may pay for the iPhone 6s Plus (16 GB; 72,000) smartphone.

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