he iPad Pro 10.5 is absurdly powerful. Almost to irresponsible levels.
If Tony Stark built tablets instead of mechanised suits of armour, I think he’d struggle to come up with something better. This is an iPad that’s truly deserving of that “Pro” moniker.
It has a fantastic screen, a battery that will genuinely last you all day, and CPU grunt that’ll outpace a laptop. It is, hands down, the best tablet you can buy today. Add the Apple Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil into the mix and it becomes a productivity powerhouse, too.
But Apple hasn’t built this iPad for today - it has built it for tomorrow. When iOS 11 rolls around later this year, with its iPad-specific upgrades, this could be the only device you’ll need, for both work and play.
APPLE IPAD PRO 10.5-INCH DESIGN & BUILD: ICONIC. AGAIN
This new iPad Pro doesn’t stray far from the iconic looks of the previous model. It’s built into a similar unibody aluminium shell, and you can pick one up in the same four colours: gold, silver, Rose Gold or Space Grey.
It’s bigger than the outgoing 9.7in model, sure, and weighs about 30g more, but by continuing the 2017 trend of shaving down screen bezels, it crams in a 20% bigger screen without massively expanding the dimensions.
You’ll hardly notice the increase when you pick it up - even if there’s enough of a difference that any iPad Pro 9.7 owners considering an upgrade will need to buy all-new accessories.
The familiar Home button still sits up front. It’s packing the faster, second-gen version of TouchID - the first time Apple has added the tech to a tablet. The slightest press skips straight past the lockscreen, it’s just that quick.
Those oh-so-handy Smart Connector pins sit on the side, ready for hooking up the official Smart Keyboard, and twin speaker grilles still flank the top and bottom edges.
The whole thing is built to an impeccable standard, naturally - there’s no bend or flex here, thank you very much. Just a smooth slice of metal and glass that’s an absolute pleasure to hold and use.
APPLE IPAD PRO 10.5-INCH SCREEN & SOUND: HOW REFRESHING
There’s a lot more going on behind that gorgeous glass face than a slightly bigger panel and skinnier bezels, of course. This new iPad Pro has the best screen Apple has ever squeezed into a tablet.
Resolution and brightness were hardly lacking before, but both have been boosted anyway: up to 2224x1668 and 600 nits respectively. Want to work outside? Well, you won’t have to worry about light reflections or poor visibility with one of these.
That’s partly because the LCD itself is bonded to the glass, so the pixels sit directly under your fingertips, and also because there’s an anti-reflective coating.
A wide colour gamut really makes photos and videos pop off the screen, with phenomenal contrast, vivid hues and subtle gradation. Pixel density matches last year’s model, so everything looks just as sharp on the bigger display.
A lot of existing tech returns, too. True Tone automatically tweaks colours on the fly to better suit the ambient light in the room, and it’s as useful/intrusive as ever. Cinephiles will still be diving into the Settings menu to turn it off before settling in for a boxset binge, but desk-bound workers will be grateful for how it eases eye strain.
The real game-changer, though? ProMotion. Basically, this latest iPad has a 120Hz panel, whereas every other mobile device thus far has run at 60Hz. What that means is that it can refresh each pixel at twice the speed of a regular tablet - when it needs to. A dedicated timing chip can drop the refresh rate down when you’re reading an eBook or watching a movie, then push it up to the max when you’re scrolling through websites or flipping between home screens.
It makes everything feel super-smooth and responsive, especially when you’re using the Apple Pencil. A faster refresh rate lowers input latency to 20 milliseconds - that’s so quick it feels like you’re writing on paper instead of a screen. Creative types are going to love it, but it’ll make games feel smoother for the rest of us untalented plebs.
There’s fantastic sound to compliment the screen, too. The four stereo speakers can really crank up the volume, so you won’t need to hook up a Bluetooth speaker to catch up on catch-up while you’re cooking.
The EQ is automatically tweaked depending on how you’re holding the iPad, too: highs and mid-tones are always piped to the top two speakers, giving vocal tracks real presence. Want some personal listening time? There’s still a good ol’ 3.5mm headphone port on the top edge.
APPLE IPAD PRO 10.5-INCH CAMERA: 7TH HEAVEN
Last year’s iPad Pro 9.7 had a great camera - and not just a great camera for a tablet, either. But this one is even better.
Apple has essentially transplanted the 12MP snapper from the iPhone 7 directly over to the iPad Pro 10.5, complete with f/1.8 aperture lens, optical image stabilisation, and quad-LED flash.
Yes, it still pokes out from the tablet body, but you won’t mind when you see the results. It’ll come as no surprise that it takes photos that are on par with the iPhone 7.
Everything looks sharp, naturally lit and coloured, and bursting with detail. That improved flash helps balance out low-light shots so they look more lifelike, too.
Now I’m not a big fan of taking photos on a tablet, at least in public, but if you decide that capturing the moment is more important than your street cred, the resulting snaps will be top quality.
With no 3D Touch, you’ve got to long-press to view your Live Photos, but otherwise the Camera app has everything you’ll find on the iPhone - including 4K video recording.