Ap­ple iPad Pro 10.5in

THE SLICKEST TABLET YET, THE AP­PLE IPAD PRO 10.5IN IS A COM­PACT POW­ER­HOUSE AND A VI­ABLE LAP­TOP RE­PLACE­MENT

PC & Tech Authority - - REVIEWS - Thomas McMullan

W hen you scroll, it’s but­tery smooth.” So said Ap­ple’s Greg Joswiak, on stage at WWDC 2017, wax­ing lyri­cal about the 10.5in Ap­ple iPad Pro. You can imag­ine those words printed 20-feet high on a bill­board out­side Palo Alto, along with a pic­ture of some­one smear­ing Lur­pak on a tablet.

Turns out, smooth­ness is very much the iPad Pro’s big­gest ad­van­tage. The new model has a slightly di‡er­ent de­sign to its Pro and non-Pro iPad sib­lings, but what truly sets it apart is how it cou­ples com­pact­ness with a bright dis­play that has an out­stand­ing re­fresh rate. Re­spon­sive to touch and op­ti­mised for mul­ti­task­ing, this is Ap­ple’s best pitch yet against the lap­top.

SPOT THE DIF­FER­ENCE?

At a glance, the de­vice looks to have the same di­men­sions as the 9.7in iPad Pro it re­places. Mea­sur­ing 251 x 174 x 6.1mm, it is in fact slightly larger, but makes the most of this real es­tate with thin­ner side bezels. The re­sult is a tablet that o‡ers around 20% more screen space than its pre­de­ces­sor de­spite their sim­i­lar size. At 469g, it’s only a frac­tion heav­ier than the 437g 9.7in iPad Pro too.

Slim bezels are in vogue, with the Sam­sung Galaxy S8 demon­strat­ing that there’s plenty of de­mand for de­vices that spread their dis­plays across the whole of their face. The 10.5in iPad Pro doesn’t quite have Sam­sung’s “In­fin­ity Dis­play” de­sign, but the thin­ner side bezels give the new iPad Pro a pre­mium aes­thetic that sets it apart from its pre­de­ces­sor.

The one nat­u­ral worry with this new de­sign is ac­ci­den­tal ac­ti­va­tion of the touch­screen, but Ap­ple’s palm­re­jec­tion tech­nol­ogy does an ex­cel­lent job of judg­ing what’s pur­pose­ful from ac­ci­den­tal.

SO SLICK IT HZ

The iPad Pro range’s dis­play was al­ready fab­u­lous, but Ap­ple has im­proved on its screen tech­nol­ogy with this year’s re­vamped line-up. Both the 12.9in and 10.5in mod­els come with a re­designed Retina dis­play, each pack­ing a pixel den­sity of 264ppi. In the 10.5in vari­ant, the res­o­lu­tion rises to 2,224 x 1,668 (ver­sus stan­dard iPad mod­els’ 2,048 x 1,536) and Ap­ple’s wide colour dis­play claims to cover the en­tire DCI-P3 colour gamut – which means red­der reds, greener greens and bluer blues.

Clev­erly, iOS switches be­tween the wider DCI-P3 and stan­dard sRGB gamuts au­to­mat­i­cally, so colours won’t ap­pear un­der- or over­sat­u­rated. In our test­ing, that colour man­age­ment worked flaw­lessly, with the 10.5in iPad Pro’s dis­play cover­ing an im­pres­sive 95.8% cov­er­age of the sRGB gamut.

Mon­u­ment Val­ley 2, for ex­am­ple, is a joy­ful bloom of colour that looks spec­tac­u­lar on the iPad’s screen, re­gard­less of whether it’s played in­doors or out­doors. The iPad Pro’s True Tone dis­play, which de­buted in the 9.7in iPad Pro, au­to­mat­i­cally adapts colour and hue to suit the light of a given en­vi­ron­ment, and with the tablet’s anti-re­flec­tive, oleo­pho­bic coat­ing keep­ing glare and fin­ger­print smudges to a min­i­mum, I could play games on a café pa­tio, write emails un­der­ground and read ar­ti­cles in the back of a car as it passed in and out of shade, just as com­fort­ably as if I was sat in the o£c e.

If you’re used to the iPad Pro, you’ll al­ready be fa­mil­iar with True Tone and this co­terie of ex­tras. What the new lineup brings to the mix, how­ever, is a re­fresh rate of 120Hz. This “Pro­Mo­tion” dis­play setup isn’t pure mar­ket­ing: it gen­uinely raises the game when it comes to screen re­spon­sive­ness. Us­ing ei­ther fin­gers or Ap­ple Pen­cil feels as­ton­ish­ingly smooth, with im­ages look­ing crisp in mo­tion, and text main­tain­ing read­abil­ity as it whizzes across the screen. The re­fresh rate also dy­nam­i­cally changes de­pend­ing on what’s on­screen, with the aim of max­imis­ing bat­tery life.

PER­FOR­MANCE BOOST

The new iPad Pro mod­els both come with a six-core, A10X Fu­sion chip and 4GB of RAM, im­prove­ments on the 9.7in iPad Pro’s A9X and 2GB. Quite sim­ply, the A10X blows both its com­peti­tors and its pre­de­ces­sor com­pletely out of the wa­ter, with a 30% in­crease in sin­gle-core per­for­mance over the A9X, and a hugely im­pres­sive 82% in­crease in multi-core per­for­mance.

As the graphs to the right show, the new chipset is in­cred­i­bly quick, es­pe­cially for graph­ics. The 10.5in iPad Pro man­aged a Geek­bench 4 sin­gle-core score of 3,930, beat­ing both the 9.7in iPad Pro and the orig­i­nal 12.9in iPad Pro. That’s im­pres­sive enough, but it’s the multi-core score that pro­vides a real feel for the new Pro’s

power. While the 9.7in and orig­i­nal 12.9in mod­els man­aged 4,844 and 5,095 re­spec­tively, the 10.5in iPad Pro recorded a stag­ger­ing 9,380.

In terms of pro­fes­sional use, this means that the new iPad Pro is even more ca­pa­ble of edit­ing 4K video and ren­der­ing 3D im­ages, not to men­tion play­ing even more graph­i­cally de­mand­ing games.

Bat­tery life has also seen a jump, last­ing just shy of 13 hours in our vide­orun­down test. That com­pares to 8hrs 36mins for the iPad Pro 9.7in, and few peo­ple com­plained about that model’s bat­tery.

Cam­era-wise, the 10.5in iPad Pro comes with the same 12-megapixel, ƒ/1.8 aper­ture cam­era as the iPhone 7 and a 7-megapixel FaceTime cam­era. En­com­pass­ing op­ti­cal im­age sta­bil­i­sa­tion, quad-LED True Tone flash and the abil­ity to shoot 4K video, the main cam­era is a stel­lar shooter, de­liv­er­ing pic­tures that look rich and full of de­tail. It’s no­tice­ably bet­ter than the 8-megapixel unit on the reg­u­lar iPad. Cou­ple it with a few edit­ing tools and the new iPad Pro could make a con­vinc­ing all-in-one film stu­dio.

As with pre­vi­ous iPad Pros, it has punchy, four-speaker au­dio, which ad­justs mid and high fre­quen­cies de­pend­ing on how you’re hold­ing the de­vice. As for con­nec­tiv­ity, you have the usual Smart Con­nec­tion sit­u­ated on the long left side of the tablet – three dots that prom­ise a num­ber of ac­ces­sory match-ups.

There’s a new Smart Key­board – if you have one for the iPad Pro 9.7in, it won’t cover the full frontage of the new tablet – and it’s an iden­ti­cal de­sign to the old model, stick­ing to the edge of the 10.5in iPad Pro like an ex­tra limb. While I still pre­fer the heft of a lap­top key­board for pro­longed writ­ing ses­sions, this lightweight at­tach­ment is a use­ful tool for pro­fes­sion­als less fo­cused on typ­ing.

TURN IT UP TO IOS 11

Our re­view model didn’t come with iOS 11 (it won’t be o™cially re­leased un­til Q3) but I had a chance to play around with the new OS at WWDC and it’s worth not­ing a few of its fea­tures, as they stand to pro­vide some ma­jor up­grades to the iPad Pro.

In par­tic­u­lar, this is the up­date that puts ques­tions about the iPad Pro’s use­ful­ness for “real work” to bed. The plethora of tweaks and ad­di­tions are all aimed at in­creas­ing the de­vice’s use as a mul­ti­task­ing work hub. First, there’s a new Mac-like Dock, with the op­tion for adding mul­ti­ple short­cuts to apps, along with a trio of apps the iPad pre­dicts you’ll use. Both are valu­able fea­tures, re­duc­ing the num­ber of taps and swipes re­quired to open apps.

Mul­ti­task­ing has also been given an im­por­tant up­grade in iOS 11. Whereas pre­vi­ous soft­ware ver­sions have al­lowed mul­ti­ple ap­pli­ca­tions to open on a sin­gle screen, the new setup has much more flex­i­bil­ity. An app such as Twit­ter, for ex­am­ple, can be opened be­side Sa­fari, but can also be dragged into a hov­er­ing “pop-over” win­dow be­fore be­ing plonked down to oc­cupy a por­tion of the screen on ei­ther side.

iOS 11 also adds a use­ful, mul­ti­touch drag and drop. Clev­erly, Ap­ple has broad­ened this in­ter­ac­tive gram­mar beyond the sin­gle-pointer, sin­gle­op­er­a­tion choices we’re used to with a com­puter mouse or a smart­phone fin­ger. If you want to, say, drag mul­ti­ple pic­tures from an on­screen app into an o¡-screen app, you first use one hand to se­lect di¡er­ent im­ages, then use your other hand to swipe be­tween apps, be­fore re­leas­ing the first hand.

While iOS 11 won’t be avail­able for a few months yet, it’s worth bear­ing in mind the im­prove­ments it’s set to bring if you’re buy­ing an iPad Pro now. Soon these ex­cel­lent tablets will be even more ca­pa­ble of han­dling the pace of pro­fes­sional work, with touch- based in­ter­ac­tions that go fur­ther than mim­ick­ing those of lap­tops.

PRICE AND VER­DICT

Start­ing at $979 for 64GB and run­ning to $1,429 for 512GB, the 10.5in iPad Pro is a big step up in price over the tablet it re­places. And, as ever, you’ll have to fork out $235 on top of that for the Smart Key­board and $145 for the Pen­cil, bring­ing the price to $1,359.

But if you’re look­ing to use a tablet as a re­place­ment for a work lap­top – and that work cov­ers a lot of de­sign or edit­ing – then you should se­ri­ously con­sider the 10.5in iPad Pro. It’s more por­ta­ble than a MacBook, less ex­pen­sive and works out cheaper than many 12in or 13in ul­tra­portable Win­dows 10 lap­tops.

With the match of iOS 11 and a newly re­spon­sive dis­play, Ap­ple looks like it has fi­nally reached a tip­ping point with iPad Pro func­tion­al­ity. Will it re­de­fine the pro­fes­sional iPad, fi­nally win­ning over naysay­ers and con­vinc­ing users to opt for work­place touch­screens? Or will it be the fi­nal gasp for a sec­tor that’s un­able to find a place for it­self be­tween the worlds of lap­tops and smart­phones? On the ba­sis of the ex­cel­lent 10.5in iPad Pro, it de­serves to be the for­mer.

Ap­ple an­nounced a new 12.5in iPad Pro at the same time as the 10.5in model

There’s a range of ac­ces­sories, but nat­u­rally you’ll pay through the nose for them all

Ap­ple’s palm-re­jec­tion tech­nol­ogy means writ­ing and draw­ing is seam­less

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