New Apple iPad Pro 12.9 Review

Get ready to empty your wallets and go bankrupt! The iPad Pro 2020 (12.9-inches variant) is here. Apple has really outdone itself this time, and the new iPad is the proof of it. Boy, if you haven’t checked out the specs, then you are in for a treat.

Now your iPad is not just a tab, but more due to the new A12Z Bionic Chip and the trackpad support. It feels and performs better than a bunch of laptops.

With the flashy display, the new LiDAR scanner, and the Magic Keyboard (which actually feels magical), you won’t know whether you are holding a tab or a full-fledged laptop.

Nonetheless, it’s not all pros, and no cons. iPad Pro 2020 has a few aspects that I did not like. For instance, the money, the issues with the trackpad, and the rear cameras.

So before breaking your bank, I would suggest you go through my iPad Pro 12-inch Review. I’m confident that it will help you understand if the purchase is worth it or not.

| Since iPad Pro 12.9-inch showed itself on March earlier this year, we asked our good friends from Androidista to review it for us. Yes, they don’t review iPhone stuff. Yet, it was a special request they couldn’t refuse (Godfather reference, anyone?). |

The Basics of the Device in a Nutshell

If you are looking for a quick read because most people actually do while reading. So, for all the lazy ones out there like me, I present you with a compressed version of the most important details you need to know.

  • The iPad Pro 12.9 comes with the best chip ever used in a tablet, A12Z Bionic. It literally makes the device the fastest running tablet. If I am more specific, the chip enables the tab to pack a greater punch than the Surface Pro 7.
  • The iPad comes with a Li-Po battery of 9720 mAh, and trust me; it’s huge. It can easily outlast most devices, and you can go for almost 10 hours of web surfing without stopping for even a moment.
  • Now you get two cameras instead of one. Yes, the new iPad has TWO cameras now! The secondary camera is for ultra-wide shots, and it is of 10 megapixels. The rest is pretty much the same as before.
  • The new iPad Pro has a 12.9-inches display, which literally makes the tab bigger than my encyclopedia. It also has a resolution of 2732*2048 and supports 120Hz.
  • You thought a 7-core GPU was a badass, right? Well, guess what? This one has an 8-core GPU. So, kiss goodbye to the old age of gaming and embrace the new era of ultimate performance.
  • Drop the beat! With the new -22.1 LUFS loudspeaker, every sound that comes out of the iPad will be clearer and sharper.
  • The tab weighs a little more than the last ones, and it’s around 1.41 pounds. Don’t worry! You won’t have to hit the gym to carry it.
  • With the new iPad Pro, you get your very own LiDAR scanner. It basically amplifies augmented reality apps but more on that later.
  • If you have some extra cash lying in your vault, you should really check out the Magic Keyboard, which also comes with a trackpad. You will get a whole new experience; however, I should warn you, it costs more than my rent.

How Much Money Will New iPad Pro Cost?

Hate to break it to you, but it will cost a good chunk. Unless your pops left you a bank full of money like Bruce Wayne’s parents did, then I am afraid you will have to sell a kidney like I did (pun intended). Nevertheless, check out the prices, and you can decide whether your kidney stays or not.

iPad Pro 12.9 with a 128 GB storage costs around $900 – $1000. The one with 256 GB costs around $1000 to 1100. Afterward, it is basically $250-ish for storage upgrades. So, 512GB is around $1200 – $1300, and 1 TB storage costs somewhere along the lines of $1700 or so.

If you think this is the highest it can get, then I’m sorry again, but it’s a big no from me.

To enjoy both Wi-Fi and Cellular connections, you will need to add an additional $150-ish. Now comes the cost of Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard. These accessories are not included with the purchase, and both the items cost quite a lot. The Apple Pencil is about $129 and the Magic Keyboard $349, yikes!

So, if you want the maximum specification and the entire set, it will cost you somewhere around $2327. Honestly, even Bruce Wayne will be a little dazed by the numbers. Okay, who am I kidding? He is a billionaire.

Witness the Ultimate Performance

Get ready to be bamboozled as the iPad Pro 12.9 comes with the best chipset ever used in a tablet. Previously, the iPad Pro 11 had the A12X Bionic chip, and it was able to support a 7-core GPU. However, this time it’s the A12Z Bionic chip and an 8-core GPU.

With a record-breaking score of 1,126 on the single-core and 4,720 multi-core portion tests on Geekbench, the iPad Pro 12.9 has surpassed all of its predecessors in terms of performance. Don’t get too excited; it was a win but not a crushing victory; in fact, it was a very close fight with the last iPad Pro.

The previous one had a score of 1,114 and 4,635, which, to be honest, is quite close to the score of the iPad 12.9. However, I believe in improvement, and something is always better than nothing.

Now, let us look at the Surface Pro 7, which is, by the way, a 2-in-1 laptop, and the one I used had an 8 GB ram and a 10th gen Intel Core i5 processor. On the Geekbench multi-core test, the laptop scores 4,443, a lot less than the tab. However, it scores 1,241 in the single-core test, which is slightly higher than the iPad’s score.

It is a little farfetched as laptops come with higher specifications that can rock the Geekbench tests, but we do have evidence leading to the fact that the iPad Pro 12.9 performs better than plenty of laptops and tablets.

With that said, I used the iPhone 11 Pro and the latest model of iPad to edit in the Adobe Rush app. The task was pretty simple; after applying a color filter, I converted a 4k video to 1080p.

The iPhone took about 34 seconds, and guess how much time the iPad took? 34 seconds! So, mark my words, you are sure to experience some superfast performance with the new iPad Pro.

My next test was between the new and the previous version of iPad Pro. I tried to see how efficient the new graphics system is, and for that, I checked out the scores of 12.9 and 11 on the BaseMark GPU test. The latest model got around 21,009 points, and the older one scored 19,588. So, we have a clear winner here, and it is the iPad Pro 12.9.

Dynamic Display

It is actually fair to expect some sick picture quality when you are spending so much money on a tab. Well, don’t worry about it because display quality is one of the strongest suits of the iPad Pro 12.9.

When I first turned on the tab, I was pretty much mesmerized by its picture quality. Every single detail, starting from the gigantic objects to tiny ones, all of it was extremely sharp and clear. So, how come we are getting such vivid images? It is simple Apple uses The Liquid Retina display on its new high-end devices.

Similarly, the iPad Pro 12.9 also features a Liquid Retina display, which is undoubtedly still the best for any mobile device. The particular display comes with ProMotion technology, enabling it to adjust the refresh rate to 120 Hz.

Wait that is not all, the display has a resolution of 2732*2048, and it emits a brightness of 559 nits.

This is more than the previous model of iPad, which used to emit 484 nits. I also tested out the Surface Pro 7 and Surface Pro X, and honestly, their brightness level is not even in the league. If you are curious, then let me give you the numbers; the former scored 395 nits and the latter 417 nits.

So, I watched some YouTube videos on the iPad Pro 12.9, and the quality was mesmerizing. Dang! It was amazing; you should’ve seen it.

I remember watching the Batman 2021 trailer, and it felt like Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, is literally beating the heck out of a guy in front of me. The shadows, the contrast, and the smallest of details were very clear and gorgeous.

I even tried maximizing the brightness level, and I have to say, it was way too bright for my darkroom. I was a little dazed there for a minute or two, and everything around me looked blurry.

A piece of friendly advice, don’t make the same mistake even out of curiosity; it’s not fun. Nonetheless, even when I brought the brightness level down to 50%, everything was still visible and quite clear, and this is actually praiseworthy.

As for colors, the latest iPad Pro registers 123% of the sRGB color gamut, meaning it delivers a very wide range of colors.

To help you understand this even better and for comparing purposes, I tested out the Surface Pro 7 and Surface Pro X. Guess what? They hit 102% and 103% individually, which is almost 20% less than the iPad.

Finally, in the Delta-E test, the tab scores 0.34, very close to the full marks, which is 0. Yes! Even in terms of colors, the iPad Pro kinda rocks. You can thank the Liquid Retina display for that.

Two Cameras Are Better Than One!

Honestly speaking, I don’t think it’s a very good idea to drag a 12.9-inches tab to take photos or even record videos. Imagine holding out an iPad Pro and trying to take some good shots; I bet the people around you will think, is this guy for real? Well, worry not mate, because the same thing happened with me while testing out the camera quality of the tab.

Okay, let’s focus on the details now; the new iPad Pro is actually better at taking pictures than its predecessors. The old ones only had only one camera, but the latest model has 2.

There is the standard 12MP camera and the recently hired 10MP ultra-wide camera. So, by the powers combined, they do not become a high-end DSLR but a lot better than the iPad Pro 11 2018.

You can already guess that I took a couple of shots with the tab to test out its quality. I was fairly impressed with the pictures, as most of them came out very clear and sharp.

The colors were quite impeccable, and the overall contrast was amazing too. However, the sides lack a little bit of attention. The focal points of the pictures are crystal clear, but the nearby items become slightly fuzzy.

When I compared the picture quality with the ones of the iPhone 11 Pro, I found the former lacking in several aspects. So, if you are already using an 11 pro, then the camera quality of the tab won’t be able to impress you.

I also noticed that the iPad Pro doesn’t feature a portrait and true night mode in the main camera settings. You will only get the portrait mode in the 7MP front TrueDepth camera. This doesn’t make any sense because who uses the portrait mode for selfies.

Additionally, not having a night mode is kind of a bummer. Yes, you will still get some good photos at night or even in low light. However, the true night mode offers so much more than just good exposure at dim light. I have tried both of them out, and the difference was quite significant.

I’m somewhat fed up with Apple for not introducing the true night mode. It could’ve been a great addition to the tab. The iPad Pro 12.9 is able to shoot better 1080p and 4k videos than its predecessors. You will see the recordings are much smoother and clearer than before.

Once again, like a goof, I went out with the tab to record videos, and I was actually impressed with the results. I was able to capture and view even the smallest of objects. So, thumbs up to the video recording quality.

Old but Bold Looks

After unboxing the iPad Pro 12.9, I had a poker face because I really expected that they would change the design or make it look more stylish than the previous model. I never hated the old look, but I was expecting something more. Nonetheless, beggars can’t be choosers.

The design is pretty much the same except for some teeny-tiny details. Similar to the Pro 11, the new model is also square-shaped with round corners on all the sides. The good thing about the tab is that it still features the ultra-slim design, making it look classy.

Now, the first major difference is size. The new iPad Pro looks way bigger due to the additional 1.9-inches. It has narrow bezels, which only consume a small portion of the display. The rest is left untouched for you to enjoy.

The other noteworthy difference that I have noticed is in the back. I’m not sure whether it’s actually a change or not, but it is something. So, there is a square housing at the top left corner of the tab (Depends on how you are holding the tab), which contains the dual cameras and the LiDAR scanner.

If you look closely, you are sure to notice that Apple literally copy-pasted the design of the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Get more creative, Apple!

I had a good look at the tab, and when I viewed the front from a landscape perspective, I noticed Apple didn’t change the position of the pencil holder. The magnetic strip still remains at the top. Similar to the previous models, you’ll only get one USB-C port.

This doesn’t make things any easier because you can either charge the tab or use other accessories at a single time. There goes my hope of listening to songs and charging at the same time.

Like the old one, the new iPad has a TrueDepth camera at the front. A quick lesson for all of you who don’t know, the TrueDepth camera features Face ID or facial recognition for faster access.

Let me fill you up the rest. The new iPad Pro has a dimension of 280.6 x 214.9 x 5.9 mm (11.05 x 8.46 x 0.23 in). It is a tad heavier than the earlier model, which was 1.39 pounds. Now it’s like 1.41 pounds, and if you get the Wi-Fi + Cellular model, then the weight goes up to 1.42 pounds. Don’t worry! You won’t need to hit the gym to carry the extra pounds.

The New and Improved LiDAR Scanner and AR

Hats off to Apple for introducing a LiDAR scanner in the iPad Pro 12.9. Now, this is something very innovative, and I was expecting such improvements.

Now… before I start blabbering about the LiDAR scanner, I should tell you what it is. LiDAR scanner, aka time-of-flight sensor, stands for light detection and ranging. It is used for measuring the time it takes for light to reach a certain object and reflect back to the scanner.

You probably haven’t heard about it because a LiDAR scanner is not something that we use or need for our daily lives. However, if you are familiar with self or auto-driving cars then, you may know a thing or two about it.

The purpose of adding a LiDAR scanner is to allow developers to create compelling AR (augmented reality) apps. I used some AR apps before, and I noticed a massive difference between them and the scanner of iPad Pro.

It takes quite a while and, to be specific, a few seconds for these apps to scan a surface or an object. Furthermore, the readings were not accurate, and I found it somewhat useless. However, the iPad Pro’s scanner is a different thing. It can work almost in an instant and with minimum miscalculations.

For instance, I measured a Pixel 4Xl, and the readings said it was 6.5 X 3 inches. However, the right measurement of the phone is 6.3 X 3 inches.

So, as you can see, the AR app was a little off the mark but very close. I should let you in on one more detail; sometimes, the readings are accurate as well. When I measured my monitor for a second try, the readings were on point.

I tried comparing the AR of iPad Pro 12.9 and iPhone 11 Pro. The phone did a pretty good job and was able to capture everything. However, after a while, I ran into several issues. The virtual items started overlapping on one another, and it was a mess.

Afterward, I tried using the iPad, and guess what? The problems were no more. It is evident that the combination of the LiDAR scanner, Apple’s Neural Engine, and A12Z bionic chip is enhancing the AR placement process.

The next weird thing I did was play Angry Birds on my reading table. It only took a few seconds for the entire 3D game board to appear on my desk. I had some fun playing, but I got bored pretty soon.

I’m still unaware of the full usage of the LiDAR scanner and AR. I think it is primarily meant for developers and not for a common guy like me. Although I heard the new ARkit 3.5 could bring in some revolutionary changes for developers, it is still left to see what happens in the future.

Full-on Laptop Mode

To transform my new iPad Pro into a Laptop, I had to spend $349. Yes! I’m talking about the Magic Keyboard with a trackpad. At first, I felt awful for spending so much extra money, but after using it for a while, I was not sure whether I’m using a laptop or a tab.

The buttons of the keyboard felt amazing on my fingers, and the feedback was instantaneous. The touchpad is smooth, and the entire thing is clickable, unlike some touchpads on numerous laptops.

One other detail I noticed is that when you connect your iPad to the Magic Keyboard, it looks like the tab is floating. It looked very cool, trust me.

The Magic Keyboard allows you to adjust the tab from 85 to 130 degrees; however, it would have been better if I was able to angle it some more. Overall, I had a great experience using the keyboard. The only two downsides to it are the price and weight. It makes the iPad weigh almost 3 pounds.

I also tried out the Apple Pencil, which also made a dent in my wallet. Honestly, it is not for me as I’m not into art or anything. It did an excellent job, and whatever I drew or wrote came out perfectly. So, if you are into signing documents or art, then, by all means, go for it.

What’s New

The long-awaited trackpad support is here. People were screaming for it, and I was also one of them.

Finally, when I plug in a trackpad or Bluetooth mouse, I see a cursor. It is not your regular arrow-shaped cursor; instead, it is circular and changes shape for particular tasks. Whenever I moved around the cursor, I saw it morph into different shapes, and the change was specific to what I was doing.

We also got several other improvements in the iPad Pro 12.9. It has a better battery life and supports USB-C charging. However, the cable is only 1 meter, which for me, is very short. Other than that, iPadOS 14 is coming online soon. It is said to bring massive changes and improvements to the iPad.

There will be redesigned widgets for better home screen usage. New and improved pull-down menus and sidebars to make it feel even more like a laptop. Apple Pencil upgrades, which will allow users to convert handwriting to shape or text.

The Perks

  • Longer battery life
  • A12Z Bionic chip for greater performance
  • Dual Cameras
  • LiDAR scanner and AR
  • Trackpad support at last
  • Fantastic display

The Flaws

  • The main camera doesn’t feature night or portrait mode
  • Very short charging cable
  • Only one port to rule them all
  • The trackpad goes crazy with some apps

What Do We Have So Far? – The Time of Judgement

First of all, a big round of applause for those who have come this far. If you have gone through my entire iPad Pro 12.9 (2020) Review or even the basics, you know what you are going into.

The new iPad Pro is practically a pseudo laptop with a wide range of features. It’s more of a laptop than many laptops out there. But I won’t say that you can use it as an alternative for high-end PCs. Although the tab is high functioning and all, it still lacks in some cases.

If you want my honest opinion, then I would say the tab is worth the purchase. Apple put a lot of effort this time, and I believe it’s worth something.

So, there is only one thing left to say, if you don’t have an iPad Pro you just don’t have an iPad Pro.

A big thanks to Gareth for going out of their way to review Apple iPad 12.9 for us! You guys can check his website out for the Best Earbuds for Android and other latest stuff that they’re working on. Have a good day, everyone!

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