Apple iPad Pro 10.5 Review
Apple iPad Pro 10.5
- Incredibly powerful for an iPad
- Great cameras
- Amazing audio
- Near-perfect display
- Fast Wi-Fi
- Works brilliantly with Pencil
- Still not quite a laptop replacement
- Takes long time to recharge
- No fast charger in the box
iPad Pro 10.5 – Anything you can do, you can do better.
No matter the task, the new iPad Pro is up to it — and then some. It offers far more power than most PC laptops, yet is delightfully simple to use. The redesigned Retina display is as stunning to look at as it is to touch. And it all comes together with iOS, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system. iPad Pro. Everything you want modern computing to be. Now even, well, better.
main competitors: Microsoft Surface Pro
No matter how you slice it, $649 is a lot of money to drop on an iPad. In return, however, you get one of the most powerful tablets around. Most people like the idea of a second screen for occasional web browsing on the couch when they can’t be bothered to move to a computer or dig a phone out of their pocket. If that’s you, just forget it: The iPad Pro 10.5 is total overkill.
That said, it’s not hard to find scenarios where this pricey Pro actually makes sense. If you’re a photographer looking for a better way to edit RAW files in the field, this might be for you. Ditto for videographers and producers looking to piece together rough cuts without running for a workstation. And if you’re the kind of person contemplating a life without a traditional PC at home or in your bag, the power on display make the Pro 10.5 a good place to start … though you may want to wait until iOS 11 launches. Long story short, this is an excellent machine with tons of untapped potential. Just make sure that it actually fits your lifestyle before dropping the cash on one.
The iPad Pro is the best tablet ever, but at a time the entire market is on the decline, that seems like faint praise. But this is much more than a tablet, because the sheer speed offered by the A10X chip — coupled with high-quality apps — enables creative pros to do things that used to require a laptop. I also appreciate the nearly 14 hours of battery life, innovative ProMotion display and iPhone-caliber cameras.
However, the 10.5-inch iPad Pro isn’t a laptop replacement — at least not yet — for two reasons. First, the screen is on the small side, and the Apple Keyboard doesn’t offer a touchpad to control the cursor. If you’re on the fence, I’d wait until iOS 11 arrives, as that software will finally offer a real File system along with much improved multitasking. At that point, I could see myself potentially using the iPad on the road a lot more as my daily driver. And that’s pretty impressive for a 1-pound tablet.
The 10.5-inch iPad Pro is a stunning machine in many ways. The speed and raw power on offer when doing pretty much any task on it can’t be understated, and the upgrades to the screen are just beautiful at times.
The issue comes when comparing what’s on offer to the cost – when you add up all the things you need to make the iPad Pro a real laptop competitor – the Smart Keyboard, Apple Pencil and the iPad itself – you’re looking at around $900 / £900 / AU$1200, and that’s verging on MacBook territory.
That would be less of an issue if iOS 11 was available right now, as the new OS really does help the iPad Pro to feel like a laptop replacement – but right now, we feel like we’re reviewing a tablet with the best part missing.
The camera, battery life, screen technology and audio output are all top-notch in the tablet world, and there’s no doubting this is the best tablet on the market right now (with the only competitors being the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the Surface Pro 4, a laptop that masquerades as a tablet).
Apple has decided not to give the iPad Pro 10.5 a full makeover and instead make real improvements where it matters most. Particularly the new display is impressive – its great reflective properties and HDR capabilities will be particularly interesting for fans of movies, series and gaming. Unfortunately, we could not measure the promised P3 color space coverage, but only the smaller sRGB color space.
The tablet has high-quality communication modules, but still does not support European Galileo GNSS positioning. Apple has also tried to save on the memory, which is slower than that of its predecessor, but this is not noticeable in day-to-day use.
Overall, Apple has managed to create an excellent product and set the bar for tablets very high. Its only real competitor is Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3, which, however, has an older SoC and less storage. The storage capacity has been increased, but so has the starting price: $649. The smallest model (64 GB) will be fully sufficient for most users, especially as video and audio content is often streamed nowadays. We feel that the second model with 256 GB is the best deal and is even a little cheaper than its predecessor with the same storage capacity. The 512-GB model can be recommended for users who want to have their own multimedia collection available offline or who want to use their tablet for editing videos or processing images.
The iPad Pro 10.5 has such a great performance that you might even think about using it as a complete notebook replacement. Whether it is for video editing of UHD material or image processing with Adobe Lightroom, the iPad Pro 10.5 works quickly and efficiently, although we feel that the Smart Keyboard is not flexible enough and only works well on hard surfaces. The Safari browser’s problems with CMSs and other complex web-based applications are annoying and file management is too inflexible. Therefore, we consider the iPad Pro to be a great tablet, but no replacement for a laptop.
Now that we know that the 10.5-inch iPad Pro is an impressive device and that we further know that iOS 11 is going to radically change how you use it, let’s get back to that value equation I mentioned earlier. Basically, should you buy it? The iPad Pro 10.5 presents a conundrum: it is a stupendous device that I firmly believe most people shouldn’t buy just yet.
To me, if you’re going to spend $650 on a computer, it should almost surely be your main computer. And if you’re going to make the iPad Pro your main computer, you should probably get more than 64GB of storage and you should also probably get a keyboard to go with it (to say nothing of the Apple Pencil). It hits the $1,000 mark very quickly.
If you’re going to spend that much money on an iPad, you should know exactly what you’re going to do with it that takes advantage of all the Pro features. There are people who are already doing that, but I don’t think the majority of computer users can be comfortable using an iPad as their main device. For those who can, go out and buy the hell out of this thing (unless you already have the iPad Pro 9.7).
For the rest of us, my advice is to hold out and see whether iOS 11 changes the calculus.
The iPad Pro 10.5-inch is the best tablet I have ever used, but the mass of high-end features leave it with a price-tag that might be hard to stomach. It’s £120 more expensive than the 9.7-inch model was last year – granted, you do get double the base-storage – and it’s double the price of the basic iPad 9.7-inch, which will offer enough power and features for the vast majority of people.
But, if you have the money and want the absolute best tablet experience there is nothing that comes close. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 pales in comparison, as does the aging Pixel C, and no one else seems to be making high-end tablets anymore. There’s always the Microsoft Surface Pro, but that feels like an entirely different proposition.
When you take that stunning display, good battery life, the accurate Pencil and the huge number of apps available on the App Store, the iPad Pro 10.5-inch is an exciting proposition. But it’s one that won’t feel completely ready until iOS 11 hits.
Apple strikes a very attractive balance with the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro. The larger screen size over the typical 9.7-inch variety gives you a tad more elbow room than you’d have on a smaller tablet, making things like reading text-dense websites slightly more comfortable. The bigger deal here is that Apple was able to give us such a screen without making the tablet’s dimensions significantly larger than before.
But really, the screen size isn’t the big draw here – we’re just glad there’s a smaller option than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and whether that spells 10.5 inches or 9.7 inches is mostly immaterial. This tablet succeeds because of how high-quality the rest of its hardware is.
The display looks great and is bright enough for even outdoor usage. The speakers sound fantastic, and will make you wonder how you ever settled for less. Battery life will easily stretch throughout a full day, even if recharge times are a little lengthy. And the tablet’s performance is literally second-to-none, outclassing every other mobile device we’ve looked at.
You can pay a lot for a fully-equipped iPad Pro, adding on extra storage, picking up cellular connectivity, and pairing the tablet with its stylus and keyboard accessories. But even if you opt for the simplest configuration Apple sells, you’re still going to get a fantastically well-outfitted tablet for a price that is still relatively competitive. And while you’re stuck with your choices of flash space and radio, you can always circle back around and add even more capability to the tablet with those accessories at a future date.
If you feel that a larger screen would add an extra dimension of productivity to your tablet-using experience, do think about dropping the extra $150 on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. But if you all you want is a really well-rounded tablet that delivers one of the best overall experiences we’ve seen from a mobile device in a long while, you won’t go wrong with the 10.5-inch iPad Pro.
As we all know, iOS 11 is coming soon with a lot of iPad-specific improvements. Once it is out, the iPad Pro (10.5-inch) will be good enough to replace the MacBook for a lot of people. If you use your laptop just to browse the Web, watch videos, write, listen to music, and perform other basic tasks, then the iPad Pro is an excellent gadget for you. It can do most of these things without breaking a sweat – but so could the less expensive iPad (2017).
During our review, we tried our best to avoid using our MacBook Air but we couldn’t manage it completely. Our podcast recording setup requires USB ports, which the iPad doesn’t have. Our Web publishing backend doesn’t work well on Safari or Chrome on iOS, so we used the MacBook Air to upload articles too. Other than those things we spent entire days working on the iPad Pro (10.5-inch) without ever feeling the need to return to the laptop.
The iPad Pro is not a MacBook replacement just yet but it is slowly getting there. Apple has built a premium tablet with an excellent display that delivers great performance in a market where there is virtually no competition. There’s absolutely no doubt that the iPad Pro lineup is a big part of Apple’s overall strategy. When iOS 11 releases, it will show how serious Apple is about its intention to pitch the iPad Pro models as productivity-oriented computers for professionals, not just entertainment devices.
As we noted in our Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 (review) recently, the Android tablet experience is nowhere near as polished as we’ve gotten used to with Apple’s iPad lineup. That means the iPad Pro (10.5-inch) has a pretty big lead against all other tablets currently on the market. Its nearest competitor would be the iPad (2017). It doesn’t have as good a display or processor and it also lacks the Smart Connector required for Apple’s neat Smart Keyboard case, but it’s a lot less expensive. If the Pro’s extra features don’t matter to you and you want a tablet for casual use, the iPad (2017) is a good choice.
Pricing for the iPad Pro (10.5-inch) starts at Rs. 50,800 for the 64GB Wi-Fi variant and goes all the way up to Rs. 84,500 for the 512GB Wi-Fi + LTE variant. Add the cost of a Smart Keyboard and an Apple Pencil and your total investment is going to be quite a lot. However, if you want the best hardware in the most portable form factor, you will have to pay a premium and for many people, the iPad Pro (10.5-inch) will be worth it.