Apple iPad Pro 2018 review
Apple iPad 2018 review • From £799
- PROS – Gorgeous design • Stunning edge-to-edge display • Blistering performance • Good battery life • Improved accessories
- CONS – Price can get very high • Old accessories don’t work • Face ID placement can cause issues
It’s been a hugely busy year in the world of technology but, despite endless gadget launches, it’s hard to say that anything has been truly that exciting.
But with just a few months to go until the end of 2018, that’s all changed.
Apple’s latest iPad has just received an update that’s as big as when it was first unveiled back in 2010 and it genuinely offers tablet users some thrilling upgrades.
The new iPad Pro goes on sale later this week and here’s why it’s about to make your old digital slate look mightily outdated.
DESIGN AND DISPLAY
Apple has given the new iPad Pro a complete overhaul with a radical redesign that, for the first time, offers a stunning all-screen finish.
The changes are pretty dramatic with the rounded corners and aluminium unibody giving this tablet a precise and premium feel.
The revamp has allowed the firm to push the new Liquid Retina display to the very edges meaning you get more screen in a device that’s physically smaller in your hands.
For our review, we’ve been using the 12.9-inch model which possibly gains the biggest reward for featuring edge-to-edge screen technology.
That’s because this larger tablet has had its overall size reduced by almost 25 percent making it much easier to handle than Apple’s current 12.9-inch model.
Along with those reduced bezels, you also get an improved viewing experience with the new display looking pin-sharp and packed full of colour.
We’ve been putting the larger 12.9-inch model trough its paces
The iPad Pro features an edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display
Apple is also boasting that this is their most accurate iPad display ever with it featuring P3 wide colour support which makes content appear much more true-to-life.
The display also includes Apple’s True Tone technology which changes the appearance depending on the light around you and there’s a new antireflective coating which certainly helps when using this device outside.
On the rear case you will find the usual single camera which does protrude slightly from the tablet but, unlike the iPhone Xs, there’s no annoying wobble when the Pro is placed on a flat surface.
The overall design upgrade is massive and there’s very little, if anything, not to like about it.
It’s lovely to hold and at under 700g isn’t too heavy making it a perfect for those who want premium power and ultimate portability.
Apple’s new iPad Pro will arrive in UK stores later this week
Clearly, to make this an all-screen device Apple has had to remove the Touch ID fingerprint scanner and iconic home button.
This means the new Pro now uses Face ID and screen gestures to unlock and navigate around your apps and content.
If you own a new iPhone you’ll be well used to it magically unlocking the moment you stare at the screen.
The same is true of the iPad with Apple’s clever front-facing TrueDepth camera working just as well on the Pro.
If you haven’t used this technology before don’t panic as it’s simple to use and more secure than your fingerprint.
Face ID works well until you happen to cover the camera with your thumb
However, despite Face ID clearly being the future there is one small problem on the iPad Pro.
Apple has placed the Face ID sensor at one side of the screen and, if you happen to be using the device in landscape mode it’s exactly where you place your fingers to hold the tablet.
With the camera covered, Face ID doesn’t work.
Apple is clearly aware of this design quirk with an alert popping up on the display explaining that you need to uncover the camera to unlock the device.
It’s worth noting that this problem won’t affect you all the time and it’s a small price to pay for getting that giant display.
Apple iPad Pro 2018 review
SPEED AND PROCESSOR
If you think the iPad is just for fun then think again.
The new Pro is exceptionally capable with Apple even boasting that it’s faster than most PC laptops.
This incredible power comes from the new A12X Bionic processor which offers a truly sublime experience.
In fact, if you happen to own the original 2010 iPad you’ll find this new model is 1,000 times faster.
All of that speed means this tablet can perform tasks that you may never have thought possible on a tablet including video and photo editing.
With the Adobe Photoshop app arriving next year there’s now a real chance that, for some users, the Pro could finally replace a heavy and bulky laptop.
During our time with the iPad Pro, we’ve been incredibly impressed by its sheer performance with it never breaking a sweat – even when you have multiple apps open.
One of the reasons it copes so well is due to the device featuring an eight-core fusion design with four performance cores.
Apple has a clever performance controller which dynamically divides work across these cores, harnessing all eight when a power boost is needed.
Along with that speed, there’s also now an option to add a huge 1TB of memory to the Pro.
Admittedly, this does push the cost to over £1,700 for the 12.9-inch model but it could be a handy bonus for photographers or 4K video editing.
The iPad Pro features the latest A12X Bionic processor
BATTERY AND USB-C CHARGING
The new A12X Bionic processor is not only fast but also very efficient which means the battery life continues to impress.
The Pro will easily last most long-haul flights with an average screen time of around 10-hours.
We’re still performing our full battery test and will update this article in the coming days but early signs are good.
When it does run flat there’s no sign of Apple’s Lightning port with the US technology firm choosing USB-C instead.
This is a big change but one that makes plenty of sense as this port offers more flexibility for professional users.
The new iPad features USB-C charging
USB-C on the iPad Pro allows you to connect to data accessories and a display at the same time, which is critical for those whose workflows require high-bandwidth input and output at the same time.
And iPad Pro now supports USB 3.1 Gen 2 – doubling the speed of previous wired data transfers – up to 10 Gbps.
Another great bonus is you can now use the iPad Pro to charge your iPhone and this feature even works with some Android phones.
All this is clearly good news but there is one niggle and it comes from the plug supplied with the iPad.
Charge times are quite long with the tablet taking well over two hours to go from flat to full.
If you happen to own a new MacBook then you can use the laptop’s more powerful plug to boost the iPad faster but it still baffles us why Apple would ship such a low powered charger with a device that can cost in excess of £1,700.
You can charge your iPhone via the new iPad Pro
CAMERA AND EXTRAS
As we mentioned earlier in this review, the iPad Pro includes a 12-megapixel single rear camera.
If you really want to use a tablet to take photos this will do a decent enough job.
It’s worth noting that the rear camera will take standard pictures, video and even offers slow motion but you can’t add DSLR-style depth of field.
This stunning effect is only available on the front-facing TrueDepth selfie camera which seems a little odd especially as Apple now lets owners of the iPhone XR – which also only uses a single camera – to get access to this feature.
Although the Pro might be missing the rear camera Portrait Mode there’s good news if you want to view the latest blockbusters.
The new iPad Pro 2018 features a 12-megapixel rear camera
Apple iPad Pro 2018 review
Apple has included four stereo speakers which is no mean feat considering the reduced size of the new tablet.
Apple came up with a completely new audio architecture that delivers wider stereo sound for a high-fidelity, cinematic audio experience in any orientation.
The sound they produce is truly epic and are easily good enough to use without needing an external speaker.
Along with producing some great audio, the iPad can also record some decent sounds with it featuring five internal microphones.
This allows the iPad Pro to capture stereo audio when recording video in either orientation.
Other extras include fast wireless technology and the clever eSIM continues to be an option which allows you to connect to local networks across the world without needing a physical SIM card.
There’s a much improved Apple Pencil
The all-new iPad Pro gets a refreshed range of accessories including an updated Apple Pencil.
This digital stylus is a hefty upgrade and fixes two of the previous generation’s biggest flaws.
Firstly, the Apple Pencil now sticks to the iPad Pro via some strong magnets which makes much more sense as there’s finally somewhere to store the stylus when you are not using it.
This concept works well with the Pencil staying firmly connected despite being pulled and pushed in and out of our backpack.
Apple has also been really clever as the moment the Pencil attaches to the Pro it automatically begins charging wirelessly
The Apple Pencil now sticks to the iPad and wirelessly charges
This is so much better than having to stick it in the charging port for a refill and should also mean it never runs low on power.
There’s some additional extras on the Pencil with a simple double tap now changing tools without interrupting your workflow.
You can also customise your taps to easily switch between Apple Pencil functions and app developers will be able to add their own features in the future.
If you want to use the Pro more like a laptop, Apple has updated the Smart Keyboard case.
This now covers the entire iPad and offers other improvements such as two viewing angles rather than the single setting on the original Keyboard case.
One thing that will frustrate some users is the older Apple Pencil and Keyboard cover are not compatible with this new device so you’ll need to invest again if you want these features.
The new Keyboard case now covers all of the iPad
The Apple iPad Pro 2018 is by far the best tablet Apple has made
The new Pro is an incredible machine but all of this technology does not come cheap.
The basic 11-inch iPad will now set you back £799 with the top-end 12.9-inch 1TG model with cellular and Wi-Fi rising to over £1,800.
That’s a lot of money, especially if you then add the Smart Keyboard (£199) and Apple Pencil (£119).
Apple iPad Pro 2018 review
The new iPad Pro is the tablet many have been waiting for.
This is not a small update from Apple but a massive refresh that allows this device to do so much more than before.
Apple’s new Pro offers supreme power which allows it to perform tasks you never thought possible on a tablet.
The stunning new edge-to-edge display also means the overall size of the Pro is smaller and even more portable.
USB-C is a welcome addition and the new Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard case are much improved, especially with the stylus now attaching neatly to the side of the display.
We do have some slight niggles including the issue of the Face ID camera sometimes getting covered by your fingers and the slow charge times.
It’s also hugely expensive especially if you fancy adding 1TB of storage and the updated accessories to your shopping basket.
However, this is the most exciting tablet Apple has ever made and, for some, could finally replace a bulky laptop.
It’s fast, fabulous to use and is so light and portable you’ll hardly notice it’s crammed in your bag.
We do have one final word of warning.
If your bank balance isn’t looking too healthy we’d steer clear of Apple Stores this week as we guarantee once you see and use the new Pro the chances are you’ll definitely want to buy one.