- Keyboard and stylus sold separately
- No true multi-tasking abilities
- Keyboard does not have trackpad
Apple seems to have gone the bigger is better route with their phones and now they've supersized their tablets with the iPad Pro. At 12 x 8.7 x 0.3 inches, it is the first iPad to reach the double digits in size. While large, it is also surprisingly light at 713 grams. This makes it slightly heavier than the original iPad, though experts found the weight was more evenly distributed thanks to the larger size. With that said, they add it is difficult to hold one-handed due to its massive size. Besides the size, however, the Pro has the same design language as other iPads: rounded edges, TouchID home button and metal chassis. The biggest difference is the inclusion of four speakers – two on the top and two on the bottom edge and a connector to attach to either an Apple or third-party keyboard.
The reason behind the Pro's large size is due to the 12.9-inch IPS LCD display. With a resolution of 2048 x 2732 it qualifies as a Retina display and actually offers the same pixel density as the iPad Air 2. As critics expected, the display is incredibly sharp and vibrant. Unlike AMOLED displays, they point out the LCD provides accurate colors without being oversaturated. It also has an anti-reflective coating which, when combined with the screen's overall brightness, provided reviewers with excellent bright light legibility. More importantly, the large size offers much more screen real estate for what they consider an incredibly immersive media experience and improved split screen multitasking.
Under the screen is a 2.2GHz A9X processor and 4GB of RAM. Trusted Reviews calls the performance "blistering" though their tests clock it at only 40 percent faster than the iPad Air 2. As expected, reporters had lag free experience regardless of whether they were multitasking, editing 4K videos or playing the latest 3D games. And thanks to its 10,307mAh battery, they were able to get around six hours of continuous video looping or around a full day of average use.
The biggest drawback of the Pro is the fact it runs on iOS not OSX. This means that even with Apple's split-screen mode experts still had very limited multi-tasking abilities. They could not easily save documents to a dedicated program nor could they easily edit photos as iOS did not allow certain keyboard shortcuts. With that said, most were able to complete basic tasks though they often defaulted to using a desktop for certain things as it was easier.
While Apple isn't calling the Pro a true 2-in-1 device, it's obvious to many it is competing with the Microsoft's Surface line especially with the introduction of two new peripherals – the Smart Keyboard and the Apple Pencil. Aside from typing, the keyboard also acts as a protective cover. For the most part, reviewers had no problem typing with it, though Tech Radar did notice their typing was not quite as fast as on standard ones. Still, they add, "It's not a bad start…and the portability…was really useful." The biggest drawback of the keyboard is its lack of a trackpad. This means users cannot navigate the tablet without tapping on the screen.
For artists or people who prefer writing to typing, there's the Apple Pencil. While its pressure sensitivity levels are far simpler than more professional ones, it still managed to impress critics with its overall responsiveness and zero latency. When using the tip at a normal angle, they were able to create lines of varying thickness and when angled slightly they were able to shade and color in areas. Despite its neat features, many still do not consider the stylus to be a necessary feature especially for artists or graphic designers. As well, they all complain about the lack of an actual holder or clip for it having misplaced the Apple Pencil several times.
For most reviewers the size of the Pro is not conducive to picture-taking even if it does come with an 8MP main camera. Its large size and weight made it much more likely for them to drop it and the large viewfinder made it harder for them to get the right angles. When they did take pictures, however, they found the images to be very accurate and detailed and on par with pictures taken with an iPhone 5.
Despite its stellar performance and immersive screen, reviewers do not suggest the iPad Pro for everyone, especially those who require very high end performances. Giz Mag states, "…this is a product that's more about meeting Apple's long-term ends than it is meeting your ends today." 9to5Mac adds, "…the iPad Pro is great at a few things, but everything "Pro-level" is much better on a MacBook." On the other hand Alphr says, "...for most people the iPad Pro is more than enough creation tool. For some – anyone who sketches or loves using a stylus – it's actually a better creation tool than the average PC of laptop."