iPad Pro 9.7 Review

How many device reviews are written on that very device? In terms of mobile devices there can’t be many at all. However, now more than ever Apple is positioning their new iPad Pro tablets as true laptop replacements, even though almost every previous model has also been also capable of exactly the same thing.

Pro is a weird description of a piece of technology. When Apple use the term Pro it doesn’t fit into any of the dictionary definitions — does the device make you a professional at something? When it comes to Apple devices — it often boils down to you paid more for it — and it has higher specs than most of the other models available. Both of those statements are befitting of this new iPad, but is it really worth it?

The Apple model for the recent announcements was to take the last iteration, pull the guts out and put a newer model’s internals inside it. A strange move for the iPhone SE, but one we all could have predicted for the iPad refresh. An iPad Pro in a more manageable size while keeping all of the abilities, taking all the good things and squeezing them into something less unwieldy — they even added some extra ability.

Usage And Keyboard

There are still some issues with the ‘lapability’ of the new iPad, even more so than the larger version. The smart keyboard sits much better on the knee than the Surface Pro, but still doesn’t come close to a real laptop experience. Thankfully Apple have done a great job in slimming down the keyboard to match its 9.7-inch version, leaving plenty of space between keys and also a good key size.

Typing isn’t nearly as comfortable than the 12.9 inch version, but it’s not a cramped experience either. It is more akin to typing on an 11″ Macbook Air than many of the third party versions available for previous iPads. With that said there are not many third party options available for the new Pro yet, and beware of many versions that claim to work. Apple chose to move the magnets, meaning many iPad Air 2 options will simply not work very well if at all.

iPad Pro Desktop Performance

Much was made of the A9x in the iPad Pro, giving a performance better than many laptops on the market. You will never see any slow down, stutters or usage glitches while doing even the most strenuous of tasks. However the same can be said for the majority of the time spent using an iPad Air 2, but performance on the new Pro is fast and fluid 100% of the time.

Let’s not overplay the role of the iPad though. In homes all over the world it’s used as a web browser, kids entertainment and a Netflix machine. If that is your use case, consider purchasing the now £150 cheaper iPad Air 2 — that is unless four speakers and an extra 16gb of space is worth the extra cash. With that said the speakers do sound great, and should eliminate accidentally covering the speaker during use that plagues all the other models.

Screen and Camera

The real stand out feature is the new screen. It retains the same dimensions and resolution of last time model — but the wide colour gamut (DCI 3) and true tone feature make using it a real pleasure when compared to almost any other similar resolution display available.

The true tone display feature is a perfect example of technology that is completely forgettable, this is until you compare the new Pro alongside an older model. Or heaven forbid turn it off! The screen shift subtly depending on the surrounding environment, meaning colours appear natural whatever the conditions. Combined with a less reflective display this means that the screen is readable even in direct sunlight.

Unfortunately iPad photographers exist, and there is nothing you can do about it. You can go around and around about the feelings that brew when you see someone holding up a 10-inch tablet to take photos — but there is something quite appealing to taking snaps with such a large viewfinder. Images are as crisp and as clear as they are on the newest iPhones — however the loss of OIS may irritate some users of the Plus version.

The real appeal of Apple fitting the 12megapixel camera into the new iPad pro is you can (could if you wanted to) now capture all the photos and video that the A9x makes it possible to edit straight from the iPad. Apple claim the A9x is capable of editing 4 streams of 4K video at once, and now you can record it too. Just for goo measure I went out and took some photos for the review — and it was actually a good experience.

Laptop Replacement?

Since the launch of its bigger brother much has been made of the iPad Pro moniker. Apple market this as a laptop replacement — which is in stark contrast to Steve Jobs words when launching the original. It bridged a gap between phone and laptops and launched a product people didn’t even know they wanted.

That was at a time when Apple’s own phones were 3.5inches — getting anything done on it was truly a task. However when Apple itself sells phone sporting another 2 inches in screen size when compared to 2010, could this be a call to stop the cannibalisation of iPad sales?

The 9.7-inch Pad pro is the best iPad yet, but not since the iPad 3 have Apple taken a step backwards in improving the range. It is quite frankly not a laptop replacement yet, it may well be the “future of personal computing” but it still doesn’t do some things that a laptop can. That’s not to be taken lightly, I am not a reviewer that uses the device for a few days and never goes back. I use my iPad as my first choice computer, but it still lacks something to make it a real laptop replacement.

I say ‘something’ because that’s going to be a completely different thing from person to person. For me the iPad has already become my every day device, but unfortunately there are a handful of tasks that I still can’t perform on an iPad. Upgrading the processor and giving me a smart connector doesn’t solve that software or apps do. For some people it may be an accessible file system, for some it might be floating Windows, and the list could go on.

TL;DR

I fear that the language used by Apple has clouded the launch of such a great device. If you are looking to buy a replacement for your ageing iPad or have Air 2, think long and hard before an upgrade. A computer replacement it is not — but it is by far the best iPad to date. The iPad Pro fills and performs in the iPad space perfectly — better than ever.

[taq_review]

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