Review: 10.5-inch iPad Pro

I’ve been using Apple’s new 10.5-inch iPad Pro for five days now and there is a lot to like about the device. When you factor in what’s coming this fall in iOS 11 and the features built specifically for iPad, you have a device that’s more compelling than it’s ever been before.

I use my iPads all the time. I switch back and forth between the 9.7-inch and 12-inch models, depending on what I’m doing. What I wondered before I started using the 10.5-inch iPad is if it would add enough screen real estate to make it the perfect size for all my needs.

One of the key elements for me on the iPad Pro is the True Tone display. With this technology, the iPad display automatically adjusts to the lighting conditions around you.

It doesn’t just adjust the brightness, but the color and intensity of the display to match the light wherever you’re viewing the iPad. This means I can be outside in direct sunlight and read the display perfectly. When I move inside, the display adjusts again and it is perfect for those lighting conditions.

This was on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro I was previously using, but not on the 12-inch I had. It makes such a huge difference, I wouldn’t want an iPad without it now.

The new iPad Pro also comes with ProMotion, which delivers refresh rates up to 120Hz. In practical terms for the user, this means that everything you’re viewing is more responsive. From gameplay to scrolling pages in Safari, everything is really smooth. You may not think this would make much of a difference, until you see it in action. ProMotion will also adjust to match the frame rate of video, so video looks a lot better too.

The big concern with screen technologies is that they will take a toll on your battery and reduce the 10 hours of battery life. I have always found Apple to be fairly conservative on its battery life claims and the iPad Pro is no different.

There are many things to consider when looking at your battery life, including the settings for screen brightness, and what you are doing on the iPad. For my uses, writing, listening to music and doing other general tasks, battery life has not been a concern at all.

I’ve always had a Smart Keyboard with my iPad because portability is so important for a device like this. I like having a built-in keyboard that is also a cover. It’s convenient and easy to use in most situations.

I do have a complaint about the size of the keys on the Smart Keyboard though. I’m a huge fan of Apple’s new MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards and their larger sized keys. There seems to be lots of room on this keyboard to have larger keys, but they haven’t done it yet.

It would be much more comfortable moving from a Mac to an iPad if the keys were more uniform. Having said all of that, the Smart Keyboard is still a convenient option when you’re working remotely and you need a compact solution to work with.

I rarely use the camera on my iPad, but the fact it has a 12-megapixel camera that allows you to capture and edit 4K video is going to be a huge plus for a lot of users. Not to mention that the A10X chip is so powerful, it allows you to edit multiple streams of 4K video.

Many of the new features for iPad will come with iOS 11. Apple realized that in order for the iPad to be used like they, and their customers, wanted, the operating system need to change to accommodate the device. With iOS 11, some of those changes are happening and I couldn’t be happier.

Being able to drag and drop from one app to another is one of the things that made me smile during the keynote. Now when I’m researching an article, I can add links, text, and photos easily without leaving the current app.

The Dock expands, accommodating more of the apps you choose, as well as your most recently used apps. The new Files app gives you a view of all your documents on multiple cloud services including iCloud, Dropbox, and Box. There can be multi cloud challenges but these are avoidable.

If you tap the screen with your Apple Pencil, the iPad will automatically open up in the Notes app, so you can quickly jot down some hand written notes. Since iOS 11 can recognize handwriting, those notes will also be searchable.

Being able to have these types of features will make the iPad Pro more attractive to users that want to use it as a work machine, as a complement to their Mac, or perhaps as their only machine.

I mentioned at the beginning of this review that I was wondering if the 10.5-inch iPad would be the perfect size for me. So far, it really has been.

The 12-inch is great for working in a fixed location, but isn’t really as mobile as I would like. The 9.7-inch is a great size, but I wanted a bit more screen real estate to work, especially when multitasking with other apps.

The 10.5-inch really is the “Goldilocks”1 of iPads for me. Not too big, not too small, and really powerful in everything it does. I would highly recommend it.

  1. Shawn King first mentioned that it sounded like I was looking for the Goldilocks iPad and he was right.