Ap­ple iPad Pro

HWM (Malaysia) - - TELEPORT - UNLOCKED - by Kenny Yeo

The iPad Pro is Ap­ple's new­est and largest tablet with a huge 12.9-inch dis­play that of­fers a res­o­lu­tion of 2,732 x 2,048 pix­els. The large dis­play means the iPad Pro is most adept at mul­ti­task­ing, es­pe­cially when us­ing Split View - the mode where two apps take up half the dis­play each. Even with two doc­u­ments opened side by side, I had no prob­lems read­ing text. How­ever, one thing to note is that mul­ti­task­ing is only avail­able for com­pat­i­ble apps, and there's no get­ting around the fact that it's a pretty re­stricted list yet.

Size aside, Ap­ple has also made other im­prove­ments with re­gards to the dis­play. To con­serve power and to give the iPad Pro the same all-day bat­tery life that users have come to ex­pect from iPads, the iPad Pro's dis­play sup­ports a vari­able re­fresh rate. At times when the dis­play isn't show­ing any­thing that is an­i­mated, the re­fresh rate drops to 30Hz. But the mo­ment where there are videos or an­i­ma­tions, the re­fresh rate gets bumped up to 60Hz for more fluid look­ing graph­ics.

In terms of de­sign, the iPad Pro looks just like an up­sized ver­sion of the iPad Air 2. But amaz­ingly, weight is kept down to just 723g for the Wi-Fi and cel­lu­lar ver­sion that we tested. This is the same weight as the very first iPad Steve Jobs in­tro­duced in 2010. The iPad Pro is also supremely thin. At 6.9mm thick, it is only slightly thicker than the iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 4, but thin­ner than an iPhone 6s.

The iPad Pro still has cham­fered edges, but look around and you will no­tice speaker grilles at all four cor­ners of the de­vice. Ap­ple has thor­oughly up­graded the iPad Pro's au­dio sys­tem to make it a more ca­pa­ble de­vice for lis­ten­ing to mu­sic and watch­ing movies. The speaker units have spe­cial hous­ing ma­chined di­rectly into the alu­minum en­clo­sure and have car­bon fiber caps to pro­duce deeper, fuller bass. Ad­di­tion­ally, the iPad Pro will au­to­mat­i­cally ad­just out­put de­pend­ing on ori­en­ta­tion such that the top two speak­ers will al­ways be re­spon­si­ble for pro­duc­ing the mid and high fre­quen­cies.

Of course, the new iPad Pro would not be com­plete with­out a new pro­ces­sor, and un­der­neath the dis­play

is Ap­ple's lat­est A9X mo­bile pro­ces­sor. In fact, the new A9X is so pow­er­ful that Ap­ple claims that it is faster than 80 per­cent of all por­ta­ble PCs that were shipped in the past year.

In our SunSpi­der bench­mark tests, the iPad Pro was over 37 per­cent faster than the al­ready very quick iPad Air. And on 3DMark, it recorded an im­prove­ment of over 55 per­cent when com­pared to the iPad Air 2 and over 80 per­cent when com­pared to the iPad mini 4. It's sim­ply a beast of a tablet.

How­ever, you can­not have your cake and eat it. And what was dis­ap­point­ing about the iPad Pro was its bat­tery life. De­spite hav­ing a sig­nif­i­cantly larger bat­tery than the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4, it recorded a bat­tery life of four hours and 17 min­utes - over an hour less than iPad Air 2 and nearly two and a half hours less than the iPad mini 4.

In my time with the iPad Pro, I found it to be an ex­tremely ca­pa­ble de­vice for me­dia con­sump­tion. The up­graded au­dio made watch­ing movies more en­joy­able and thanks to the large dis­play, you'll feel like read­ing an ac­tual mag­a­zine, and mul­ti­task­ing ac­tu­ally works for pro­duc­tiv­ity apps.

Speak­ing of pro­duc­tiv­ity, Ap­ple has in­tro­duced two new ac­ces­sories spe­cially de­signed for the iPad Pro. The Ap­ple Pen­cil is a sty­lus de­signed for dig­i­tal artists and it is the best sty­lus I have ever used on any iPad. There is very lit­tle la­tency, is ex­tremely pre­cise and ac­cu­rate, and thanks to sen­sors in the tip, can de­tect force and ori­en­ta­tion for shad­ing ef­fects.

The other ac­ces­sory is the Smart Key­board, a por­ta­ble key­board and cover for the iPad Pro all rolled into one. Un­like iPad key­boards of old, the Smart Key­board con­nects to and draws power di­rectly from the iPad Pro us­ing the Smart Con­nec­tor. It has full-sized keys and a com­fort­able amount of travel mak­ing typ­ing a joy.

All things con­sid­ered, the iPad Pro is an ex­cel­lent tablet. The larger dis­play makes a big dif­fer­ence when it comes to mul­ti­task­ing, and had a pro­found im­pact on the way I con­sumed me­dia. The only prob­lem is its price. Be­gin­ning at RM3,599 for the ba­sic 32GB Wi-Fi only model, the iPad Pro com­mands a sig­nif­i­cant pre­mium over older iPads. And un­less you are an iPad power user, it's re­ally hard to jus­tify this over the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4.

The new iPad Pro has 78 per­cent more screen real es­tate than the iPad Air 2, and can com­fort­ably fit two iPad mini 4s within.

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