Review: iPad Pro 10.5

The Apple iPad Pro 10.5″ is pretty much the pinnacle of tablet design, at least if you’re an Apple fan.

Apple’s iPads have always had a ‘premium’ look to them but the Pro range, which started with the 12.9″ tablet in 2015, were a step up from this with a 9.7″ version arriving a year later.  The latest in the range, launched last year, is mid-way between these two in size but, thanks to a slimmed down bezel, it feels similar to the 9.7″ frame with the advantage of a larger screen.

That’s not the only difference, the new model, launched alongside a newer 12.9″ model, is faster and sports a better screen, as well as tweaks in other departments.   The frame has been slightly slimmed down to 6.1 mm with the dimensions of the tablet measuring 250.6 mm x 174.1 mm.  To put that in to perspective, it’s only 10mm longer and 5mm wider than the 9.7″ model and around the same difference with the iPad Air 2 but provides a much larger screen area.

The 2224-by-1668 pixel screen keeps the ‘Retina’ 264 ppi resolution but thanks to the new Wide Colour Gaumet technology, colours look more realistic and brighter than ever before.  ProMotion, with its 120 Hertz refresh rate, is Apple’s new technology that helps keep media and apps running smoothly without slowdown.

As well as keeping things running smoothly, the ProMotion function also aids the use of Apple Pencil, creating a much better response to the pencil on screen, which can be felt in apps like ProCreate and the Adobe range.  Handwriting is also improved and the iPad Pro feels like it keeps up with even the fastest writing far better.

The new 6 core Fusion A10X chip coupled with 4GB of fast LPDDR4 RAM is easily felt in any practical task, especially if you’ve come off the back of using any previous iPad.  It’s a noticeable difference in speed over previous models and other iPads in daily tasks.

Entertainment is dealt with by both the HDR screen, which is wonderful to watch movies on from any source that supports it (including iTunes, which is upgrading your movie collection to 4K HDR for free as the films arrive) and the 4 speakers which are surprisingly powerful.

Apple are selling the new Pro models as a desktop or laptop replacement and for many day-to-day tasks it’s evident that these models can easily cope with many tasks.  The iOS 11 update and the subsequent mini-updates to the OS have made it far easier to multi-task with several apps open, thanks to the new pop-up task bar and slide down single screen view dedicated to checking all your open apps on one page.  It feels more like a streamlined PC or Mac OS than ever before, but with the advantages of a tablet on hand.

It can’t, of course, do everything.  This is still an iPad and still restricted by Apple’s tight control on the iOS infrastructure and the need for the App Store, but with Microsoft’s Office Apps provided free, art and photo software from Adobe, a wealth of video editing, including Apple’s own iMovie and even music editing software, it’s clear that it can do many things you’d normally expect a laptop or PC to do and has the advantage of being available instantly and being portable.

Battery life, then, is even more important than previous iPads if Apple’s intentions are to be seen through. Thankfully, in general testing we’ve found that 5-6 hours is the average if using the tablet for the whole time, using word, art editing and videos.  Watching full movies from iTunes does drop this time considerably, though, as you’re streaming and showing videos in their highest quality. I found about 3-4 hours of movies will drain the battery.   More general sporadic use throughout the day saw the tablet hit the 10 hour mark.

The one surprising feature of the iPad Pro is the camera.  Normally tablet cameras are way behind their equivalent phones but the iPad Pro supports a rather good f/1.8 aperture 12MP camera that supports optical image stabilisation and a 7MP front facing camera with some good lighting techniques and a flash. Selfie fans and those who use apps with camera functions will be pleased with the results here.  It might not encourage people to take more photos with a large, cumbersome tablet, but it’s pretty handy to have around and, thanks to Apple’s recent push on the ability, works really well with AR games and apps on the larger screen.

It seems Apple have pretty much designed the ultimate iPad, for now at least, in the iPad Pro 10.5″.  The size of the screen compared to the body and the power behind it, alongside a good camera, connectivity to Apple and third party smart keyboards, Apple Pencil support and great speakers all go towards making this an easy to recommend package.

 

iPad Pro 10.5"

iPad Pro 10.5"
9

Overall

9.0 /10

Pros

  • New True Tone Wide Colour screen is a vast improvement
  • Fastest iPad yet deals easily with multi-tasking
  • Apple Pencil support with ProMotion makes writing and art more precise
  • Makes the most of new iOS 11 features

Cons

  • Cost can spiral with keyboard and Pencil
  • Still not a 'full' desktop replacement

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