Apple iPad Pro Review 2018 – Best iPad Ever, But Still Only An iPad
iPad Pro 2018 Review: Apple’s latest Pro-line tablet is as close to being a PC as ever
THE QUICK RUNDOWN
Brilliant, similar design as the iPhone X. This device is packed with amazing features and computing power that beats a lot of PCs. The remodeled Apple Pencil is gorgeously made, and connects magnetically. The Smart Keyboard makes typing as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. It features a USB C port which allows other devices to connect and also charge.
Still unable to multitask. A small number of apps and websites are still limited. The Smart Keyboard is quite shaky when placed on the lap. Does not feature a headphone jack (can we all agree that phone and tablet manufacturers need to bring it back already).
THE FULL REVIEW
Apple’s migration from its regular iPads to the 11-inch and 12.9 inch iPad Pro can be compared to the graduation of a college student ready to take on the world. CEO Tim Cook stated that the previous perspective that saw the Apple iPad as a mere tablet has changed, and referred to the iPad as a personal computer. With the new design, and description puts the new iPad in the ranks of the best-selling personal computers in the world.
After a proper assessment and usage of the new iPad Pro 12.9 for a couple of days, it is easy to say that it is an unbiased comparison. With new features that bring about a refreshing and ‘easy’ feeling, it can be easily said that Apple has stepped it up another notch with their newest iPad Pro. This device can be referred to as a “computer” but the question that follows is; is this computer right for you?
As Thin As Can Be
To a lot of people, it is still very strange to see an Apple product without a home button. But like the iPhone XR and other Apple X-series phones the iPad Pro lacks a home button, and as the X-series phone, the screen spans from edge to edge… to edge to edge. The sleek design uses slim black bezels of the same width for all four sides, which makes it difficult to distinguish one side from the other. At times, iOS indicates the position of the power button because, it is correct to think that I don’t know exactly where it is.
The design features a 5.9mm aluminum shell back that revolutionizes the look of the tapered glass which the iPad is prominent for and replaces it with a something a lot stronger. With the new design, the back of the iPad is totally flat as can be, straight to the side. The entire design resembles a remodeled iPhone 5. Also, the shape feels like a tweaked version of the 2011 iPad, with the only irregularity being the totally flat back except for the camera.
It consists of an incredibly large Liquid Retina LCD, which amounts for almost 11 or 13 inches, depending on the model. Every model is beautiful and pixel-packed, and owed to the precision-milled glass which is also featured in the iPhone XR, the edges of the display are rounded, alongside several other enhancements. The iPad has a first-class color definition, and owed to this electrifying and definite colors, it can be used for photoshopping and minute color tweaking if the need arises. (Apple ran complete analysis on the color accuracy of its displays in 160 different points.) Another amazing feature of the Pro is that it adapts the warmth of its display to the lighting in your room.
Just like the new iPhone X, XR and the other new designs, the new iPad Pro features a Face ID which employs several HD cameras, sensors, and algorithms to identify its owner. This new technology challenges the long-standing fingerprint technology and claims to provide more security for devices. It functions properly, without the need of a cut-out notch on the screen which is a requirement of the iPhone. Even if it’s not quirk-free. It is normal to hold our iPhones vertically, in a portrait rather than landscape orientation because it can easily fit into one hand. But with the iPad, you will need both hands almost every time you need to use it, and several times, my hand blocks the Face ID camera when I hold it in a horizontal (landscape) orientation. And if I’m just out somewhere relaxing, my face can’t be captured completely. With time, I have adapted to the new feature, and learnt to place my hands away from the camera, and head in front of the tablet, and this has made using the Face ID very effectual and ultimately secure way of locking my device. I’m not one of those people that bother to leverage on passcode or touch ID functionalities, but the Face ID presents a seamless means which is very attractive and easy at the same time.
Also, the 7-megapixel front camera is great at selfies, Animoji, and video chatting, in as much as you do not cover it with your hand. The 12-megapixel back camera reaches the standards of a typical iPhone, even if it is very clumsy, and outright embarrassing to make videos or take pictures with a 13-inch tablet throughout my stay in San Francisco. The new iPad Pro features augmented reality thanks to its new camera. I analyzed the interior aspect of a plant to gain knowledge of how it lives using an app called Plantale, and it was refreshing to bring a Lego Ninjago playset to life as an iOS game. During my childhood, I kept my Lego creations for as long as possible, and didn’t want to destroy them. It may have been more fun to blow them up digitally.
Yet As Powerful As a PC
The interior of the iPad Pro is the same as the exterior, simply amazing! It comes with an A12X Bionic chip, which can be compared to a turbocharged version of a processor that is inserted into every iPhone XS and XR. The Pro consists of eight cores: it uses four to carry out very challenging work such as playing Fortnite, and four more for carrying out simple tasks like checking your email. Currently, it can carry out this dual functionality more efficiently, which gives it 2x multi-core performance than before. Also, the graphics chip disseminates about 2x the usual power, and all these functionalities does not affect the 10-hour battery life that is promised.
Apple clearly stated that the iPad Pro beats about 92 percent of all laptops in speed; referring to laptops that were in the market last year. This includes laptops with an Intel Core i7 processor. In addition to this claim, it boasted that the new iPad’s game graphics is in the same ranks as the Xbox One S. Every app I’ve used on the Pro has ran seamlessly without any hitches and benchmark numbers have been impressive.
The iPad Pro offers impressive storage options which makes the device a viable option for photographers and video editors. It comes with a 64GB of storage by default which can be increased to as large as 1TB. And owed to the USB-C port availability, it can be simply connected to a camera, external monitor, or several other accessories. The Pro features only one port. You can expand your options by simply connecting a dongle. Also, you should invest in good wireless headphones as well. Despite Apple’s remodeling of the quad speakers to produce great sound, it completely took off the option of the headphone jack.
Pencil or Keyboard?
Both accessories for the new iPad Pro have been improved upon by Apple. The new Apple Pencil, which costs $129 and the Keyboard Folio which costs $179 got visible upgrades this year. Your choice would determine your love for your new iPad.
To me, the Apple Pencil my most cherished accessory. With the new matte plastic design, which has a flat side which is magnetically attached to either side of the iPad Pro, which probes immediate Bluetooth pairing and charging. This all-new simple magnetic charging is one of the biggest tech treat that was in the new iPad Pro, because it makes it incredibly easy to charge, pair and use the Pencil. (Still check on it every once in a while, it can get detached in your bag.)
I’m terrible at art, but I scribbled quite a lot on the iPad Pro. Even after three years since it was introduced, the Apple Pencil still ranks as the most responsive and definite digital writing tool that I’ve ever used. Trying out different virtual drawing tools is pleasurable, and as a south paw, it is good to know that iPad recognizes this and doesn’t think I’m trying to draw using my palm.
Considering the 12.9-inch size, it is still very big, but owed to the thinner bezels that are used in its design, it is a lot more convenient. Now, it can be compared to the size of a magazine, or sheet of paper as it is often referred to by Apple, which makes it a viable option for reading and writing.
Apple also made some improvements on the Smart Keyboard Folio. Just like the Pencil, it also magnetically snaps onto the back of the tablet with the usual delightful click. The most recent upgrade gives you two angles to choose from, keys that are well-spaced with a good amount of travel, and a firm click. If you have typed on any recent year MacBook Pro, you will feel right at home.
My only complaints? I would appreciate if even more angles were included. Also, due to the size of the new iPad Pro, it is quite unstable on the lap. Lastly, since the camera is located on the left hand size, it becomes taxing to take a good position for a video chat.
The Best Tablet
In every way I can think of it, these are by far the most powerful iPads I’ve ever come across. Their standard is unmatched by any other tablet.
But Apple has begged the question: Is it possible for an 11-inch ($799) or 13-inch ($999) iPad Pro to take the place of your MacBook or Windows PC at your place of work? Possibly, yes. However, the nature of your job matched with great patience and a lot of determination must align for this to work.
I established this fact earlier that the drawing capabilities of the Apple Pencil or the natural feel which it brings about cannot be matched by any laptop. They are not even in the same league. Here, the iPad clearly leads the race.
As a full-time replacement for a work PC, it has its downsides. For instance, this review was written using Google Docs on the Pro, while I opened several web pages on the right side of my screen simultaneously, but I spent several minutes longer than usual trying to do my research and get links – and several other minutes to discover how to perform other tasks. My original intent was to use the normal web version of Docs, however, I had to use the app. The place where I work uses a collaboration tool called Airtable, but that didn’t connect with an iPad browser. Again, I was forced to use the app, which didn’t have the features that I desired. It was an incredibly difficult task to attach certain files with the Gmail app. Furthermore, specific apps like Spotify disallow Split View multitasking for now. It forces you to use them full screen. Lastly, spreadsheets are a lot more difficult to operate in the apps I tried.
I discovered several tweaks and answers for these aforementioned challenges, however, I am sure the issues won’t stop coming. The iPad’s web browsers still have the basic features similar to that of smartphones, and most times the apps that are put in place do not function as well, and several desktop features are unavailable. One can easily say a lot of these are the fault of developers, but Apple takes the blame.
Without a doubt, the world is not set to drop their PCs or see the iPad in the same regard just yet, regardless of how powerful and how easy it is to use. After publicly declaring their new iPad Pro as a PC, it is time for them to adjust the policies on iOS to prompt developers to treat the iPad the same way they treat the MacBook. It’s about time for iOS to get critical upgrades that will make things work.
Finally, the iPad Pro is amongst the most powerful computers one can possess. Matter of fact, it can beat any PC or the Mac, but for the time being, it maintains its role as the most powerful tablet in the universe.
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.