Review: Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro (Second Generation), 10.5-inch iPad Pro | iLounge

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Review: Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro (Second Generation), 10.5-inch iPad Pro

A-
Highly Recommended

Company: Apple

Model: iPad Pro

Price: $649 – $1,229

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Jesse Hollington

Pros: Apple’s latest pair of iPad Pro models are now on par with one another, with the new larger iPad Pro gaining the True Tone display, significant camera improvements with flash, and “Hey Siri” support, while the smaller iPad Pro gets a 10.5” screen upgrade, along with 4GB of RAM, USB 3.0 support, faster USB-C charging, and now includes a 12W power supply. New “ProMotion” display technology in both models doubles the refresh rate to 120Hz, improving scrolling and Apple Pencil performance. Both models catch up with Apple’s latest technology, sporting both front and rear cameras equivalent to the iPhone 7 and an A10X processor that provides a significant performance boost over both prior models. Battery life remains exceptional, and a new 512GB model provides for the highest storage capacity of any iOS device to date. Both models continue to be compatible with the current Apple Pencil and existing Smart Connector accessories.

Cons: The 12.9” model is still a behemoth by iPad standards, making it more suitable as a tabletop or laptop device. Despite the reduced bezels, the 10.5” model is still slightly larger than the 9.7” model, limiting case options. 3D Touch support still remains absent on both models.

The new 12.9” iPad Pro gains the True Tone display that was originally introduced on the 9.7” iPad Pro last year, again bringing both devices up to the same standard. This will be an especially important improvement for those who want to use the iPad Pro for color-dependent work such as photo processing — scenarios in which the larger 12.9” model may very well have been more attractive due to the larger screen, but where customers were previously forced to make the tradeoff between the better screen quality or larger screen size. Similarly, while the new display isn’t significantly brighter than the one found in the 9.7” iPad Pro, it’s noticeably brighter at peak brightness than the first-generation 12.9” version. As with the 9.7” iPad Pro, the True Tone display feature is optional, and still tends to make the display slightly warmer in most lighting environments, but it can be easily switched off from within the Settings app.

The other major display enhancement in both new iPad Pro models is what Apple is calling “ProMotion” display technology; the company has basically doubled the display refresh rate to 120Hz, which provides noticeably smoother scrolling as well as a much more natural feel when using the Apple Pencil. The higher refresh rate isn’t fixed, however — the display and iOS will automatically adjust refresh rates downward in scenarios where the faster rate isn’t necessary — when watching a movie, for instance — in order to optimize battery life.

While Apple accurately touts the new scrolling performance as “buttery smooth,” we can’t say that we’ve ever had reason to complain about scrolling performance on any other iPad model. It’s a nice to have, but certainly nothing particularly exciting. However, where the faster refresh rate definitely had us impressed was when working with the Apple Pencil — the whole experience of using it feels even more natural on the new display, and it’s a feature that will definitely have more direct appeal to artists and other creative users.

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Editors' Note: iLounge only reviews products in "final" form, but many companies now change their offerings - sometimes several times - after our reviews have been published. This iLounge article provides more information on this practice, known as revving.

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