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


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

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.

Apple’s two new iPad Pro models solidify the company’s “pro” tablet lineup in a meaningful way, bringing the two into feature parity so that the only factor users need to consider when deciding which one to buy is really just how big they want their iPad to be.

The 10.5” iPad Pro is admittedly a smaller upgrade over last year’s 9.7” version, but it does add a larger and faster screen, a nice performance boost, and USB-C fast charging and USB 3.0 support. We don’t think it’s enough that most users will be able to justify the upgrade — especially for an iPad that starts at an asking price of $650, almost double the price of the standard 9.7” iPad — but it can certainly tip the scales if you’ve been on the fence about the smaller iPad Pro.

On the other hand, the second-generation 12.9” iPad Pro is a much bigger deal. In many ways, last year’s release of the smaller 9.7” version added a number of features that made its bigger brother feel old before its time, such as the True Tone display and better cameras. The specs on the second-generation 12.9” iPad Pro are a significant increase over its predecessor, especially in the area of the cameras. Even if you don’t use your iPad Pro for traditional photography, the front FaceTime HD camera increase alone is significant. The second-generation 12.9” iPad Pro definitely makes the argument for exercising caution when purchasing first-generation Apple products, and we can see how the upgrade could be justified for serious “pro” users, even at the $800 starting price point. Further, while it doesn’t come cheap, the availability of a 512 GB model is something that serious photographers and videographers on the go will likely find even more appealing; the small storage footprint of iOS means that most of that storage will be available for storing large photo and video libraries, reducing one’s reliance on cloud services and the corresponding data usage.

Apple’s iPad Pro models still aren’t for everyone — something Apple tacitly admits by the very existence of its fifth-generation iPad — but those looking to do serious creative work will appreciate everything that either of the new iPad Pro models offer. Although we still don’t see the iPad Pro widely replacing laptops at this point — we’ve given it the old college try ourselves and still prefer our trusty MacBook Pros for our purposes — we can definitely see its appeal for users who are focused on more creative or artistic pursuits such as photography and design. While it’s a slightly tougher call, we can also see the appeal for more casual laptop users who only pull out their computer to surf the web, check Facebook and browse through photos and videos, but want better audio and video quality than what the basic iPad model offers; the audio quality alone makes the experience of watching videos significantly better than the fifth-generation iPad, but of course whether that improvement justifies the price is going to ultimately be a personal decision. It’s our take, however, that it’s well worth if if you have the money to spend and expect to use your iPad for anything more than basic web browsing and productivity tasks.

The bottom line is that both new iPad Pro models are solid entries in Apple’s iPad lineup, which now includes something for everyone. While users who simply want a basic iPad to supplement their smartphone or laptop for surfing, reading and productivity tasks will be well served by the standard fifth-generation iPad, the iPad Pro models will definitely appeal to serious iPad users who are willing to spend the money for top performance. Both models earn our high recommendation.



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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