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.

While we’re still not sure of the appeal of using an iPad for photography — especially in the case of the larger 12.9” model — both of this year’s iPad Pro devices gain the same camera hardware found in the iPhone 7.

This means the rear iSight camera gets a bump to 12 megapixels with an f–1.8 aperture, six element lens, wide color capture, and quad-LED True Tone flash. It also gains optical image stabilization for both video and audio, and 4K video recording at 30fps. It’s a modest but nice upgrade over last year’s 9.7” iPad Pro, but it’s a huge step up for users of the first-generation 12.9” version, which was more equivalent to the camera found in the 2014 iPhone 6.

12.9” iPad Pro (2nd Generation)

iPhone 7 Plus

Similarly, the front FaceTime camera gets bumped to 7 megapixels with wide color capture, 1080p video recording, and image stabliziation as well. It’s a decent bump to the 9.7” iPad Pro’s 5MP/720p FaceTime HD camera, but once again a huge upgrade to the 1.2MP version found in the first-generation 12.9” iPad Pro.

12.9” iPad Pro (2nd Generation)

iPhone 7 Plus

As the comparison shots above show, photos taken with either of the new iPad Pro models were essentially indistinguishable for the same photos taken on an iPhone 7 Plus. About the only thing the iPad Pro lacks by comparison is the dual-lens capabilities for optical zoom and Portrait mode features.

On the audio front, there’s not as much to say about the new iPad Pro models except that the audio still sounds great. The same four-speaker design is still used in the new models for rich stereo sound, and they continue to intelligently adjust to provide the best sound in whatever orientation you’re holding your iPad. Apple has also stepped up the speaker game in the smaller iPad Pro; while we observed that last year’s 9.7” iPad Pro wasn’t up to the same audio quality as its larger sibling, the audio quality between the two devices is now definitely much closer. There’s still a difference — the 12.9” has better depth, likely due to its larger speaker enclosures — but it’s not as significant as before, and it’s not something most users will care about unless they’re comparing the two devices side-by-side. That said, if you’re going to use your iPad primarily for watching movies, the richer sound quality on the 12.9” model complements the larger screen, providing a noticeably better experience overall.

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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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