Release Date: 06/13/2017
MSRP: $649.99 (wifi only) $749.99 (4G)
Colors: Rose Gold, Space Grey
Some longtime followers of my site may actually laugh at this review and some may have noticed I’m a hardcore Android user. Sure, I have a ton of iOS reviews from years back, but after my last iPod Touch 4G, I hadn’t looked back at the platform. As the years went by there were a ton of iOS games that just never made it to Android from Infinity Blade to Civilization VI and not to mention timed exclusives. Why an iPad and not a Touch? Well for starters, the Touch devices are being phased out and haven’t been updated since the iPhone 6 hardware. Second, the iPad series is still frequently updated and features more powerful hardware and a better experience than the Touch. Third, price. You can finance an iPad at wireless carriers as the full price for these things is outrageously expensive.
For starters the device is about what I expected, it’s sleek, fairly slim (not as slim as the Samsung Tab S tablets, however) and the 10.5″ size makes a huge difference over the standard 9.7″ tablets I am used to. The screen is gorgeous and the speakers are phenomenal. So what’s powering this iPad? The A10X processor is Apple’s latest and greatest chip offering and runs everything at lightning smooth speed. It is accompanied by the PowerVR 7XT GPU which will run the latest and greatest games at high framerates. The display is an odd 4:3 aspect ratio at 1668×2224 resolution, which is also odd, and has a 12MP rear-facing and 7MP front-facing camera. The iPad features HDR10 and 120Hz refresh rate for HDR content on YouTube and Netflix as well as lightning fast framerates. Probably the best looking tablet camera I’ve ever seen. Let’s not forget those speakers. I thought the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3’s speakers were great, but these blow those out of the water. I can actually feel the bass rumble in my hands at max volume and the sound projects very well and actually sounds like PC speakers rather than tinny muffled garbage.
The iPad Pro also features the new lightning charger cable that was featured in the iPhone 5. It’s no big deal to longtime Apple users, but for me, coming from the older iPod Touch hardware is really nice. Sadly, the tablet has no wireless charging which should be available by now and just isn’t due to Apple’s stubborn design quirks. With that said the tablet features a great physical home button with a responsive fingerprint sensor that’s quite impressive. You can clearly tell the iPads aren’t second-rate hardware like some other manufacturers on the Android side.
Onto the software, and this is where the impressions kind of sizzled away, the iOS suite hasn’t changed much in 8 years. It looks nearly the same just more streamlined, sleek, and faster. My iPad came with iOS 11.4 and the new dock and multitasking features actually impressed me as they are more intuitive than Android’s. Swiping up from the bottom on any app to get to the dock and then long swiping for the control panel is genius. The snap multitasking works so smoothly by dragging an app from the dock into the screen and having an overlay or tapping the title bar to bring up true multitasking. It works so well and they seemed to have gotten it right. The only downside is you need the apps you want to snap in the dock or it won’t work.
I do like how iTunes is dying and is no longer required to tether to your PC to download apps and music. The App Store is now separate from iTunes which is awesome as back in the day these were all in one. There is plenty of customization settings and ways to tweak your device, much more than 8 years ago, and I was pretty satisfied. However, customization is still absent after all these years. No widgets, custom home launchers, or any of those awesome features that Android offers including the more intuitive drop-down menus. What iOS offers is simple and easy to use, and very smooth, but hasn’t evolved really in 10 years.
Games look and play amazingly well on the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil is the big selling point for these tablets. I don’t have one myself, but I’ve used my wife’s as she draws with it and it’s so smooth and responsive, it’s a fantastic piece of hardware. The Pencil alone has evolved the iPads into something more than just steamrolled iPhones. They are true productivity devices that can do things laptops can’t even do.
Overall, the iPad Pro is an amazing tablet and offers Apple’s best tech. It’s great for mobile gaming, drawing, watching videos, and overall everyday use.