Apple’s latest iPad Pro is updated with the revolutionary M1 processor and a new screen that rivals the best televisions, let alone tablets and laptops.
The fifth-generation iPad Pro comes in two versions, one that costs £ 749 with an 11-inch screen and the top dog with a 12.9-inch screen that costs £ 999. Both have the new M1 chip, but only the larger model. , reviewed here, has the awesome new screen.
The new display technology is an evolution of the traditional LCD screen called “mini LED”, Which until now has been the exclusive domain of high-end televisions. A series of 2,596 individual LEDs behind the LCD screen only illuminate behind bright parts of the image, producing super-bright lights and inky deep blacks in dark areas.
Power the iPad Pro and HDR film and arguably has the best picture on this side of a £ 1,500 television set. Night scenes are a particular delight with lights that glow from total darkness, while sunrises burst with color and vibrancy. With very few rivals reaching a brightness of more than 500nits (a standard measure of screen brightness), only the best smartphone displays, like the one on the Galaxy S21 Ultra, come close to the iPad Pro’s maximum HDR brightness of 1,600 nits.
Outside of HDR video, the screen is restricted to the same 600-nit brightness as previous iPad Pros, which is still much brighter than most tablets, laptops, and monitors, but helps maintain a solid 10-hour runtime. Battery.
Screen: 12.9-inch 2732 x 2048 (264 pixels per inch) Liquid Retina XDR display
Processor: Apple M1 (8-core CPU / 8-core GPU)
RAM: 8 or 16 GB
Storage: 128/256/512 GB or 1/2 TB
Operating system: iPadOS 14.5
Camera: 12MP Wide 10MP Lidar Scanner, 12MP TrueDepth Selfie Camera
Connectivity: Wifi 6 (optional 5G, nano / eSim), Bluetooth 5, Thunderbolt 3 / USB 4
Dimensions: 280.6 x 214.9 x 6.4 mm
Weight: 682g (4G version: 684g)
The iPad Pro 2021 has Apple’s M1 desktop processor, the same one that was used with great success in the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and the new 24-inch iMac.
The chip makes it the fastest tablet available measured by both benchmarks and real-world usage, outperforming androids like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 + and Windows 10 machines like the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 alike.
It is also at least 1.5 times faster in benchmarks than the 2020 model, which itself was not far behind.
The tablet lasts up to 10 hours of browsing or watching movies, or more than nine hours of work using text editors, web browser, Affinity Photo, Evernote and various chat applications, which is about an hour longer than last year’s model , but well below the 16 hours that the MacBook Air lasts.
USB 4 / Thunderbolt 3
New for the iPad Pro M1 is the upgrade from the USB-C port to USB 4 full and Thunderbolt 3 support, which quadruples the connection bandwidth and opens up new expansion capabilities.
It worked as advertised with the Anker PowerExpand Elite 13-in-1 Thunderbolt 3 Dock connecting an external 4K monitor, keyboard, mouse, card reader, flash drives and ethernet. It is also compatible with the fastest external storage drives, such as the very fast 1TB G Drive Mobile Pro SSD. Copying a 14.91GB zip file to and from the SSD took just 19 and 22 seconds respectively.
Still only iPadOS
The tablet runs Apple’s iPadOS, which has limited multitasking capabilities compared to macOS, leaving the power of the M1 confined to individual apps.
Some creative, video and image editing apps and games can use that high-end performance, but I’m not convinced that many people buy such an expensive iPad for professional creative work instead of a similarly priced Mac.
The limitations of the iPad Pro as a standard computer are best summed up in this example: you can connect it to an external monitor, but iPadOS can only mirror what’s on the iPad screen, which isn’t very useful, unless an app is hard-coded. specifically use a second screen. Some applications, like Affinity photo or LumaFusion, show a preview of your finished work on the monitor while you edit on the iPad screen. But they are the often expensive exception to the rule.
The iPad Pro also has its advantages. It has the best screen that Apple makes out of its € 4,700 Pro Display XDR. It has a long-lasting and reliable battery, the option of 5G for data on the road, and is more portable than anything else. And you’ve been able to do real work on an iPad for a while.
There are also a lot of things you can do with an iPad that you couldn’t do with a regular computer without additional hardware. These include being a tennis coach, automatically transcribe sounds into musical score and exhibiting 3D models painted in the real world using augmented reality.
It is these novel uses that benefit the most from having increasingly powerful chips that open up exciting new capabilities, even when for the average user it may be a total overkill.
Center stage camera
The front-facing camera on the iPad Pro has been upgraded to a 12-megapixel ultra-wide angle camera and given some very useful auto-framing abilities for video calls called “Center Stage.” The camera pans and zooms to keep you and others in view as you move around the room. It makes it much easier to get a good view and works with any video calling app, not just Apple’s FaceTime.
It’s a feature found on dedicated video conferencing cameras and some smart displays, but combined with the tablet’s great microphones and speakers, it makes the iPad Pro the best portable video calling device you can get, one that’s plain and simple. works better. anything else.
Apple does not provide an estimated battery life for the iPad Pro, but it can be replaced for £ 99. The tablet can usually be repaired with the the cost of the out-of-warranty service is £ 636.44, which includes the screen. The previous generation iPad Pro was only awarded three out of 10 for repairability by the iFixit specialist.
The tablet has a 100% recycled aluminum body, plus 100% recycled tin in the solder of its main board, flash, and wireless charger, 98% recycled rare earth elements, and at least 35% recycled plastic used in multiple components. . Apple is also using renewable energy for the final assembly of the machine and is analyzing the tablet environmental impact in your report.
Apple also offers free and trade-in recycling schemes, even for non-Apple products.
It is compatible with the second generation Apple Pencil (a £ 119 optional extra) to draw, mark and sign documents, among other things.
The € 329 Magic keyboard is a great but very expensive optional accessory that helps the iPad Pro be a better computer replacement without losing the ability to quickly use it as a tablet.
Models with 5G cost an additional £ 150 plus mobile broadband subscription.
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro for 2021 is quite a device. It has one of the best displays, which makes it a great option for video. It has a lot of power with the M1 chip and a reliable battery of more than nine hours. It even has optional Thunderbolt 3 and 5G connectivity.
Yet at the end of the day it is still alone an iPad, which means dealing with some limitations as a computer replacement compared to a similarly priced laptop. But it’s the kind of multipurpose device that becomes invaluable, whether it’s for best-in-class video calling experience, wide media application support, or even novelty uses like tennis coaching, art production, or even video editing.
Hands down, the iPad Pro is the best tablet you can buy, but a super expensive one that will be an overkill for most.
Pros: good battery life, extremely fast M1 chip, impressive mini LED display, optional 5G, USB-C / Thunderbolt 3, great speakers, Face ID, good rear camera with lidar for AR, great app library.
Cons: very expensive, no kickstand, no case, no headphone jack, still has limitations as a PC / Mac replacement.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism