Apple iPad Pro in-depth review - Beauty without a purpose

Apple’s monster tablet is the size of laptops, impossibly thin and keeps you in a permanent state of fear that you will drop/snap or crack it. It is a stunning device and the add-ons make it extra interesting but the question remains, who is it for?

 Apple iPad Pro Review - Beauty without a purpose
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Review by Sunetra Chakravati,3/9/2016 11:10:19 PM

8

out of 10

Performance

10

out of 5

Look and feel

8

out of 5

Ease of use

7

out of 5

Features

9

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

Beautiful build | Stunning screen | Large screen great for creative industries | Brilliant audio

Cons:

Very expensive | Size can be unwieldy for some | Internal storage not conducive for creative work E.g: Final Cut, Photoshop etc | Keyboard flimsy & difficult to work with, on the go

- By Sunetra Chakravarti

Have you ever seen a beautiful outfit in a shop window and thought, ‘Gosh, I have to have it!!’, thats exactly how I felt when I first took the iPad Pro review unit out of its box. A sheet of glass, so beautiful, fragile and yet solid I immediately wanted to run to the shops and buy one for myself.

Apple iPad Pro: Build quality

Apple are known for the beautiful and solid craftsmanship on their products and with the iPad Pro, one of their premier devices, they have definitely not messed about. The box is massive and when you take it out, it is literally like a gigantic porcelain floor tile: thin, smooth and vast.

I use a MacBook Pro for work and the iPad Pro is basically the same size. I am not sure if we have gotten used to small tablets so much that a full-sized one makes us gasp but the 12.9-inch screen really stretches out.

With a 6.9mm thickness, almost exactly the same as a digestive biscuit, the iPad Pro mimics the 4:3 aspect ratio of other Apple products and with the fat bezels, the tablet is a lot larger than an A4 sheet of paper making it a firm two-handed device. The power button is back at the top of the tablet when held in portrait mode and there is a magnetic connector on the right that seamlessly attaches itself to the keyboard, one of its must-have accessories.

Apple iPad Pro: Display

I have always been a fan of retina display and even though the term means nothing other than the fact that the device has a ppi of around 300, so you cannot really see individual pixels, but the clarity is near perfect.

Sharp viewing angles and beautiful colour reproduction coupled with the 12.9-inch size and 2732x2048 resolution means that it is the ideal streaming device, whether in bed or on a commuter train.

Apple iPad Pro: Battery

A 10,307 mAh battery gives it the strength to power through a day’s work. Coupled with an extra long charging wire (finally!) the charging isn't superheats but a couple of hours usually do the trick.

During the fateful 36 hours that I used the tablet as my primary device, I charged it after about 9-ish hours because I just wanted to be comfortable battery-wise during my commute.

Apple iPad Pro: Performance

I decided to give the tablet a go and use it as my primary work device and I lasted exactly 36 hours. Emails, social media and writing on Notes was fine… I was even able to file my expenses on it using the Smart KeyBoard and an Apple wireless mouse. But storage space and the lack of a USB port killed it for me. Resizing images or tweaking brightness levels on Photoshop was very difficult. For the magazine, I have to download high-res images and with no USB port, I was forced to save everything on the tablet. To give you an idea of the size of files we are dealing with, each issue of the magazine requires atleast 150 images that are over 1MB, these images have to then again be saved in low-res for the digital copy, and then smaller size again for the website. There are videos for our YouTube channel and that need rendering and I could bore you with details for life…

The 32GB review device soon started to feel the heat and I gave up. I didn't really see an advantage to using the tablet over the MacBook because at the end of the day, they were the same size! However, the one aspect of the tablet I was very taken by was the presence of four speakers on all four corners of the tablet. And although at the corner, their placement was fantastic because there was no way you could cover it with your hands while holding the tablet either landscape or portrait mode.

An AnTuTu Benchmark test gave it 177427, which is the highest of almost all tablets, with Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S2 scoring 50,148, Apple’s own iPad Air 2 at 62856 and iPad mini 4 getting 82571.

Apple iPad Pro: Productivity features & accessories

You get the whole gamut of Apple’s fantastic applications like iMovie, Numbers, GarageBand and Pages as well as all the awesomeness of iTunes and all that it comes with but, and there is a but here… If you opt for the 32GB variant of the tablet, you will not have much space to stick apps like Photoshop, FinalCut etc. And even if you manage it, you will not have the space to store the images or videos you edit on your tablet.

However, on the plus side, the split screen feature is fantastic for those like me who have to write long form or edit photos/ create newsletters while listening to music or stream content. But again, you cannot use YouTube in split mode.

Slide Over allows you to carry on twitter chats etc while working in full window scale on something else. The biggest problem with the iPad Pro, however, is the fact that apps are not optimised for it and everything ends up looking terribly empty- Like someone has had to move from a cramped bedsit to a 4 bedroom house but still have the same amount of furniture…

The Smart KeyBoard looked like any other magnetic keyboard you could get off Amazon for under-£50 but its best feature was that it drew power from the tablet and didn't need to be charged separately like the one with the Sony Xperia Z4 tablet.

The keyboard was fine apart from the fact that it was supremely unstable while working on anything other than a desk. It just didn't work on the tray table on a flight or on the train, not on my lap and not even while balancing it on the sofa arm. So this is a £139 I would definitely not recommend you spend.

I have heard rave reviews about the Pencil but have not tried it myself and I am not sure how much of my opinion would change even if I did, as I am not an artist or do any graphic designing myself.

Apple iPad Pro: Verdict

As beautiful, sturdy and remarkable the iPad Pro is, I am still struggling to think who the tablet has been made for. Not for the regular business user, the Smart KeyBoard angle is too jaunty for comfortable working while travelling. And it is simply not made for laptop use.

It is definitely not for me, because as a journalist, I photoshop, mess about on social media and am constantly uploading and downloading massive flies from our cloud servers for the magazine, pretty much constantly and I fear the it is not easy and robust enough to take over from my MacBook Pro with its 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage capacity.

And then there is the price, if you really want to use it for work, you will probably opt for the 128GB Wifi + cellular model, which sets you back by £899 and then the KeyBoard and the Pencil add a further £139 and £79 to the already hefty price tag taking it well past the £1000 mark.

Would you not rather just opt for a MacBook Pro for £999 knowing you will be able to edit and create more on the go on there than on the iPad Pro?

Apple will still get my money, just not for the iPad Pro, but for one of their REAL work devices, the MacBook Pro.

(The Apple iPad Pro for this review was provided by Carphone Warehouse)

Apple iPad Pro: Specifications

Price: £679 (32GB, wi-fi), £799 (128GB, wi-fi) £899 (128GB, 4G+ wifi)

Operating System: iOS 9

Dimensions: 305.7 X 220.6 X 6.9mm

Weight: 713g (wi-fi) 723g (wi-fi + 4G)

Resolution: 2732x20480; 264ppi Display: 12.9-inch, Retina display

Processor: A9X third-gem chip with 64-bit architecture; M9 motion coprocessor

Camera: 8-MP primary camera and f2.4; 1.2-MP selfie camera. 1080p HD video recording

Memory: 32, 128 GB internal storage;

Battery: 10,307 mAh non-removable lithium-ion battery

Fingerprint sensor: Yes

Misc: Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating; fully laminated display; anti-reflective coating