Turns out that Apple created a near-perfect tablet with the 10.5-inch iPad Pro.
Truthfully speaking, this review could have been finished almost immediately after I took the newest iPad out of its box. Apple made a few key changes to the hardware, both in its design and specifications, and those changes make for a near-perfect device. The company kept what worked, tweaked things to improve them where it could, and, as a result, it’s made simply the best tablet this reviewer has ever used.
But I gave it some time, just in case any sneaking issues crept in along the way.
So we’re going to go through the basics right away, just to get them out of the way. And then we’ll talk about how the 10.5-inch iPad Pro sets a beautiful stage for new software set to be unveiled later this year, and how, remarkably, things are going to get even better.
The display. Apple says it’s the best display they’ve ever made, and that isn’t hyperbole. They don’t even need a reality distortion field for this one. This display is amazing. Sure, it isn’t an OLED panel, and some folks will give it a negative mark for that right out of the gate, but that honestly doesn’t matter. The colors pop, it supports High Dynamic Range (HDR), and it can get really, really bright (600 nits).
The other element here is the inclusion of what Apple calls “ProMotion.” They didn’t need to name it, but, that’s okay, because the result is fantastic. It’s one of those features that you have to use, actually see it with your own eyes, to truly appreciate it. Once you do, though, you’ll probably want it to be the standard on all the other devices you use, too.
The minimized bezels along the sides of the display are a nice touch. I didn’t think it would matter, but it does. The bezels on the top and bottom of the screen are still pretty hefty, but watching a movie, or even just a YouTube video, on this screen is fantastic.
This will be quick.
The A10X Fusion processor under the hood, coupled with the 4GB of RAM, make this thing fly. Switching between apps happens quickly and they are quick to launch. Performance on an iOS device has always been one of those shining points for Apple and this isn’t any different. If you want a tablet that can move from one thing to the next without suffering from it, this will fit the bill.
The camera in the 10.5-inch iPad Pro is the same 12-megapixel shooter that’s present in the iPhone 7. It isn’t a dual-camera setup like the iPhone 7 Plus, but it doesn’t need that. Some folks might say that the camera in the iPad Pro is overkill, and they might be right. But truth be told I just think it’s setting a new baseline at this point.
This is what a camera should be at this point, even in a tablet, and considering the performance and the results of the images, that’s a good place to be. If you’re someone who takes pictures with a tablet, well, this is the one to get. It might be overkill if you just need it for document scanning, though, but that’s a good problem to have.
Apple says you’ll get 10 hours of life out of your 10.5-inch iPad Pro, and as near as I can tell they’re pretty, pretty close to that estimation. Just like with any other device you can absolutely destroy the battery if you want, playing games, checking social networks, and otherwise keeping the display on for long periods of time. But if you don’t go out of your way to accomplish that, you should be more than able to get a couple of day’s usage out of the tablet.
Charging the battery takes some time, though. Even using the AC wall adapter that comes in the box, that hefty battery isn’t topped off all that quickly. That’s definitely something to keep in mind, especially if you’re running short on time for a trip or something.
The four speakers on the iPad Pro produce plenty of sound, and it’s one of my favorite parts of the iPad Pro lineup in general. I do genuinely wish that it supported USB Type-C, because while I might not ever actually connect my tablet to my computer, at least having the option would be nice. It’s lightweight and thin enough, without being too thin, and it’s easy to hold in one hand for extended periods of time.
I’m not going to say that the 10.5-inch iPad Pro is perfect, because that’s an impossible bar to reach. However, if you’ve seen, like I have, people say that Apple is “showing off” with their newest tablet, or that they are “running up the score” against the competition, those things are definitely accurate. When it comes to a tablet there isn’t much better to go with, technically speaking.
Of course, if you want a Windows-based tablet, it isn’t even an option.
The new display drops the latency in the Apple Pencil down to a ridiculous 20ms, and if you’ve used the stylus on the prior iPad Pro models, the difference is noticeable. And it’s an outstanding improvement. It’s good to see that Apple won’t have to change the Apple Pencil itself every year, but that it will just get better with improvements to the display, too.
The new iPad Pro might not be perfect, but it’s close. And it’s only going to get better once iOS 11 arrives. My previous thoughts on whether or not you should buy one right now, or wait until iOS 11 drops later this year, remain the same, though. If you’re in the market for a new tablet, this is the one to get (unless you want a giant screen, then the 12.9-inch model will suffice). Yeah, it’s going to get better later this year, but it’s already ridiculously good right now.
I do need to note one thing, though: Anticipation plays a big role with this tablet, too. While it’s fantastic, and it’s certainly more than good enough on its own merits as an existing product right now, it is going to get noticeably better later this year with iOS 11. More than that, though, the A10X Fusion is so good it actually just makes me think about what’s next with the A11 processor. It doesn’t feel like Apple can actually improve the experience in any meaningful capacity at this point, but I definitely want to see if they do.
Apple is showing off now, as far as tablets are concerned. The best part of that is owners of the new iPad Pro just get to sit back and reap in the benefits.
If you already bought your 10.5-inch (or 12.9-inch) iPad Pro, what do you think of it so far?