Apple iPad Pro (3rd Gen) review: If you don’t mind the price, there’s no better tablet
The new iPad Pro is more powerful than ever but also thinner than ever.
Price: Rs 71,900 onwards (11-inch)
Rs 89,900 onwards (12.9-inch)
Everyone is obsessed with shrinking bezels these days. We already have thin bezels on our TVs, laptops and phones — so why not tablets? Now in it’s third generation, the iPad Pro is more powerful than ever but also thinner than ever. It’s a feat that Apple seems to pull off with consummate ease every year.
Thinner bezels mean that the home button is gone — being pushed further into obscurity & replaced by gestures. Like the iPhone X/XS and so many other new phones, you can swipe to go home and swipe up and hold for multitasking. Replacing the Touch ID system is Apple’s Face ID. Unlike the iPhone, Face ID here works in any orientation — even with the iPad upside down. It’s just as fast as the iPhone XS and also prompts you in case your hand is obstructing the camera.
Worth mentioning is the pixel masking technique Apple uses to round the corners of the LCD — it’s similar to the iPhone XR. Apple calls this their Liquid Retina display. LCDs normally have sharp corners but Apple masks them to match the corners of the device itself — a subtle but highly pleasing effect. And we can talk volumes about the display. Sure, it’s only LCD but Apple has put every bit of tech it knows into making this display just about the best on any portable device: 120Hz refresh rate (ProMotion), True Tone colour, P3 wide colour gamut, anti-reflective and 600 nits of brightness. There are two sizes available: 11-inch (2388 x 1668 pixels) and 12.9-inch (2732 x 2048 pixels). The 11-inch is the same overall size as the previous generation 10.5-inch. The 12.9-inch is significantly smaller than the previous 12.9-inch. Chalk it all up to the tiny bezels.
The sheer power of this new iPad is not apparent in everyday tasks — even the first generation iPad Pro is more than up to the job. But Apple has managed to shoehorn a massive amount of firepower into a tablet that doesn’t have any active cooling systems. So when they say the A12X Bionic is more powerful than most laptops, they actually mean it. We’re talking about Geekbench scores of over 5000 (single core) and 18,000 (multi core) — more than a typical Core i7 laptop. This means it’s capable enough to run the most demanding apps today plus the updates and apps for years to come.
We should also talk about the new Apple Pencil (a separate purchase for Rs 10,900). It now attaches magnetically to the iPad and charges wirelessly. A massive improvement for sure, but it’s not compatible with the older iPad Pro and neither is the older Pencil compatible here. The keyboard case is nice though not essential — you can use any third-party case and Bluetooth keyboard. The first party case is just a lot sleeker. Finally, let’s talk about the shift from Lightning to USB-C. It’s great because you can use third-party type C docks and you can reverse charge a phone. It’s got fast charge, 4K video out, high speed transfers and there are a bunch of high quality (but expensive) first-party adapters on offer.
But the question remains — can it replace your computer? It sure is powerful, has a great screen and camera (despite the removal of OIS) plus a 10 hour battery life as usual. However, there’s no universal answer to this question. If you’re adept at iOS, it’s going to be easy for you. But you will also inevitably run into some limitations from time-to-time — limitations inherent to the use of a mobile operating system. You’ll have to find workarounds for them which is sometimes annoying.
That being said, we’re really enjoying using the Pro. In the past few weeks, given a choice between a laptop and the iPad Pro 12.9, we found ourselves reaching for the Pro every time. And that’s saying a lot! We also think the 256GB version is in the sweet spot. If you don’t mind the price, there’s no better tablet out there.