It has been a long wait, but the iPad Pro is finally here.
From afar, it can be mistaken for an iPad Air 2. It has the same smooth aluminium unibody chassis, chamfered edges and premium feel. It also has a Touch ID home button, but the mute/orientation lock switch is gone.
Apple's largest tablet is still skinny, with a thickness of 6.9mm - the same as the iPhone 6 and thinner than the iPhone 6s Plus (7.3mm).
Impressively, it weighs 723g - the same as the original iPad.
The display has a resolution of 2,732 x 2,048 pixels. This gives it a pixel density of 264 pixels per inch (ppi), which is close to that of the iPad Air 2. The iPad mini 4 has a higher pixel density of 326 ppi.
I find the iPad Pro, with all that extra screen real estate, perfect for watching movies, playing games and editing photos and videos.
It is also ideal for the Split View multitasking function in iOS 9. Despite having a heavy graphics workload, the touchscreen display shows no lag when responding to touch or gestures.
Photos and videos look brilliant and show lifelike contrast. Editing them is easier as the bigger display offers correspondingly larger buttons, sliders and adjustment tools.
I can imagine graphic designers or photographers using the iPad Pro to show their portfolios to clients.
It is a joy to use the Pro to play games like Hearthstone: Heroes Of Warcraft, and Magic: The Gathering. Card-game fanatics might buy the iPad Pro just for this purpose.
The gameplay of graphics-intensive titles, such as Infinity Blade III, Dungeon Hunter 5 and Modern Combat 5, feels smooth as silk. It is as though I am playing the games on a desktop computer.
On the downside, the display is still quite reflective, and it lacks the 3-D Touch capability of the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. My guess is that it will be included in the next iPad refresh.
In the Geekbench 3 benchmark test, the iPad Pro scores an impressive 3,236 in the single-core test and 5,491 in the multi-core test. The iPad Air 2 scores 1,812 and 4,544 respectively. I experienced no lag when editing 4K videos and photos using iMovie or Photoshop Express.
Productivity apps, such as Microsoft Office 365 or Apple's Pages and Keynote, run smoothly.
In our intensive battery test (looping a 720p video with Wi-Fi on and the display at full brightness), the Pro manages an impressive 9hr 15min.
And I find that if all I do is check e-mail, zip through news reports on Flipboard and read digital books or magazines, the iPad Pro needs to be charged only every other day.
But if I use more resource-intensive apps, such as UMake 3-D drawing or Complete Anatomy, the battery level drops to 75 per cent within an hour.
PRICE: $1,188 (32GB Wi-Fi) to $1,648 (128GB Wi-Fi + 4G, version tested)
OPERATING SYSTEM: iOS 9
PROCESSOR: A9X chip with 64-bit architecture, M9 motion coprocessor
DISPLAY: 12.9 inches, 2,732 x 2,048 pixels
CAMERA: 8-megapixel rear camera, 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera
WEIGHT: 713g (Wi-Fi), 723g (Wi-Fi + 4G)
BATTERY LIFE: 4/5
VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5
Verdict: A large, responsive display and speedy performance make the iPad Pro a terrific companion for creative professionals, graphic designers and photographers.
This article was first published on November 19, 2015.
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