iPad Pro review

Apple's biggest tablet takes the iPad in a new direction

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Our Verdict

A brilliant iPad that takes the devices into a new realm. I've loved using it, but just make sure you're ready for the larger size and weight.

For

  • Expansive, usable screen
  • Hugely powerful
  • Great speakers

Against

  • Powerfully huge
  • Battery life could be longer

Update: A number of apps are starting to appear on the iPad Pro that really make use of the Pencil and the raw power of the device - it's starting to look a lot more like a serious productivity tool now Microsoft's apps are fully-functional.

We're also about to see the iPad Pro's smaller brother - the iPad Air 3 rebooted as a the 9.7-inch iPad Pro - which will continue an attempted revival of the tablet market.

The iPad Pro review was one that I was really been dreading writing – but also one I was the most excited about in a while.

The issue was this: what is the iPad Pro? Is it a genuine laptop replacement? Or is it nothing more than a larger tablet from Apple?

It depends what you see a tablet as. For some, it's a device that sits on the sofa with you, and you sometimes idly think about getting a keyboard for it so you could do some writing on the go. For others, it's a laptop that packs a detachable screen for portability.

The former scenario is where iPads (and most Android tablets) sit. The latter is more the domain of Windows devices, where the operating system and hardware collide with varying results.

Apple doesn't seem to be pushing the iPad Pro into any particular market though – it's designed to be a media hub, a decent word processor, a creative design tool, and then anything the app world can dream up besides.

It's possible to use it as an enterprise device too, but there's a lot here that inches it enticingly towards the consumer world.

iPad Pro review

To many, this is a direct rival to Microsoft's Surface Pro 4, but in reality the two devices are coming at the laptop replacement issue from different angles. The iPad Pro is designed for the casual user, one who doesn't need a computer all day long. It's not a Macbook with a detachable screen – iOS doesn't have El Capitan's capabilities.

Microsoft's device is more for those who need to massively multitask all the time, using dedicated desktop applications to get everything done.

In terms of cost, well, for an Apple device it's actually less than you'd expect. Of course, I'm not saying that you should accept a higher price because it's an iThing, but I was expecting this to tip into a much higher bracket.

iPad

The iPad Pro costs US$799 (£679, AU$1249) for the 32GB Wi-Fi version and US$949 for the 32GB Wi-Fi and cellular version (seemingly only available in the US), with the 128GB Wi-Fi and 4G version coming in at US$1079 (£899, AU$1699).

Seems expensive. But compare that to the iPhone 6S Plus, which costs US$949 (£789, AU$1379) for the 128GB version, and it doesn't seem that pricey in the pantheon of Apple products.

The iPad Pro could be a lot of things to many people. To some, a great sofa pal. To others, a brilliant hybrid device that enables them to flip effortlessly from sketching to movies to typing reports on the go.

Is it good enough to usurp the need for a Macbook Pro? Could you ever get by just using this tablet and the optional accessories around it, or does it need to be part of a larger family – a device that's perfect for certain situations but gets relegated when it's time for proper work?

There was only one way to find out – force myself to ditch the laptop and try to write this review on the Pro (and you can see the results below). While that wasn't as easy as I'd hoped, I've found a lot of use for the iPad Pro in day to day life.

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