Apple iPad Pro: Custom made for the pros, but the general cos also matter
Technology giant Apple, which as expected released the new iPad Pro during Q3 2015, has seemingly tried to re-invent itself as far as its iPad segment is concerned. The Cupertino-based company, this time around has come up with not one but two iPad variants out of which one is the larger 12.7-inch measuring iPad Pro and the other a much smaller 9.7-inch edition.
Since the larger 12.7-inch iPad Pro device was launched earlier than the smaller variant, we did a hands-on review of the former as the tablet has not only been grabbing the eyeballs of Apple loyalists, but also of the general first-time buyers. These factors got us enthused into conducting a hands-on analysis of the iPad Pro.
Check out how Apple’s iPad Pro performed, in our tests, below:
Design Elements and Display
The 12.7-inch Apple iPad Pro feels exactly like its predecessor models except for the increase in size. The tablet has dimensions of 12.05 x 8.69 x 0.27 inches and weighs in at 713 grams (the Wi-Fi only model), and at a tad bulky 723 grams (for the LTE only variant).
These dimensions not only add an extra element of bulkiness, but also makes the iPad Pro a not-so-ideal companion when it comes to working on the move.
However, the iPad Pro’s display impresses while you indulge yourself in serious stuff such as creating/editing documents (ideally sitting at your desk), preparation/delivering presentations, viewing multimedia content and most importantly while the device is being used with the external Smart Keyboard and the Apple Pencil (both sold externally); as a laptop. If you are carrying the iPad Pro and both the Smart Keyboard as well as the Apple Pencil, do keep in mind the fact that the combined weight of the assembly amounts to more than a kilogram.
We checked out the iPad Pro, by using it for varied tasks such as reading eBooks, professional photo/video editing, and we also streamed live videos to watch on the tablet. Here are our observations:
As far as its actual display is concerned, Apple iPad Pro comes with a 12.9-inch screen having resolutions of 2732 x 2048 pixels with pixel densities of approximately 265 ppi. This capacitive touchscreen supports 16 Million colors and Multitouch.
The display is protected by an external oleophobic coating which adds the scratch-resistant touch. During our usage, we checked out functionality such as the Spilt-View feature that let us run applications simultaneously in tandem, and the feature worked fairly well. We feel that, the business class of users would take a special liking for the Split View functionality as it is customized for multitasking.
While testing outdoors, we experienced increased reflection effect, but the rendered images/text were bright. We felt that Apple could have improved the sharpness by a degree or two, to match the good resolution of the display. Watching videos/movies was fairly good, but movie situations involving dark themes proved to be a disappointment. Nonetheless, the professionals preferring to use the iPad Pro as a business tool would have plenty to cheer about.
Processor and Memory
The iPad Pro incorporates Apple’s in-house A9X processor which is basically a 2.26 GHz dual-core CPU. To complement this, there is a 4GB RAM under-the-hood. Buyers get to choose between 32/128GB fixed internal storage variants. The performance of the Apple A9X was on expected lines in a multi-tasking scenario with an increased number of apps installed.
During our testing, in a high-end gaming scenario, we were happy with the performance offered by the Apple iPad Pro. We could not experience lags even during image/video editing. We also procured the external Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil and checked out the iPad Pro by using these accessories. We can easily conclude that the graphic designers would potentially praise the device when using in tandem with the Smart Keyboard and the Pencil.
The Apple IPad Pro captures fairly good images with its 8 MP primary camera. Though image capturing is not great, the slate still does a good job as far as photography through tablets is concerned. The slate’s primary shooter does not offer 4K capabilities. There is also a 1.2 MP Face-Time snapper on the front targeted dominantly at those preferring to indulge in video calling. Low-light photographs rendered, during our testing, were fairly good considering the fact that the Apple iPad is not intended to be an amateur photographer’s tool.
Operating system, UI and software
Apple iPad Pro runs on the recent iOS 9 operating platform, which in turn is upgradeable to the comparatively newer iOS 9.0.2 platform. Multitasking, during our testing, proved to be a pleasure. We could work on two apps at a time without switching between them. However, this feature is dependent on the apps that are launched. Also, we were able to customize the Quick Launch bar with a trifle 5 apps which was a letdown as far as ease of use is concerned. Nonetheless, the overall User Interface proved to be intuitive, but needs sufficient time to get used to.
The Apple iPad Pro is powered by a fixed 10,307 mAh Lithium-Ion battery that is claimed to offer talktime of nearly 10 hours. During our testing, we could watch, streamed videos with optimal brightness, for a trifle less than 10 hours. Graphic-rich gaming also drained the battery significantly; but again this depends on individual user preference and way of usage. However, Apple’s iPad Pro can be made to last for an entire day, if usage is limited to business tasks (rather than viewing multimedia content within the slate).
After using Apple’s large iPad Pro for a significant period of time, we can state that the slate is a custom-made business device. It surely has the potential to serve as an alternative to laptops, when the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil are used, the graphic designers also have lost to cheer about as far as investing in the device is concerned. However, the general everyday home users are better off investing in other low-priced and smaller (by size) alternatives.