|Apple iPad Pro|
The Apple iPad Pro is the biggest iPad to date, cramming in an impressive 12.9-inch screen, offering an (optional) keyboard case and has Microsoft's Surface firmly in its sights. Is it a proper Surface - and even laptop - rival though, or is it just an overgrown tablet? We've been putting one through its paces to find out.
The GoodLet’s start with what you’ll be staring at the most when you’re using Apple’s top of the range iPad: its 12.9-inch Retina screen is positively massive by tablet standards, and it's an absolute corker. The 2,732 x 2,048 pixel resolution is razor sharp, with photographs and movies positively jumping out at you, and it's just as impressive when you start editing text or movies, or checking out websites.
It's not just the screen that makes it the perfect choice for entertainment either, with loud and clear speakers that are more than capable of blasting out decent sound effects. Sure, it'll never replace your TV, but it's a great substitute when you're on the move and you want to catch up with Netflix.
With a screen that's similar in size to compact laptops, it's almost inevitable that the Pro will get compared with them, and it's thankfully capable of holding its own. There's an impressive amount of power on offer from the iPad Pro, which packs in Apple's latest A9X chip and 4GB of RAM, and we found it genuinely quick even when carrying out intensive tasks.Apple debuted the Pencil with the iPad Pro, the company’s take on the stylus, and it's an impressive bit of kit. With more than a few sensors crammed into the Pro, exerting different pressure - and even angles - will make a difference to what you get, and although writing or drawing on glass will never feel quite the same as sketching on paper, it is a really good effort. It's also pretty costly though, at £79.
The Smart Keyboard is another (costly, at £129) option, and just like the Microsoft Surface it'll act as a cover and turn the iPad into something you can use for typing. It's well balanced during use and the keys are pretty big, but the near complete lack of travel does make it tricky to touch type at speed. It's not bad, but it's still not as good as the Surface when it comes to typing. We do like the smart connector Apple has included, meaning you don’t have to pair up over Bluetooth or plug it into the Lightning port - it just works, which is great.
As expected, the build quality on the iPad Pro really is stunning, and just like its iPad siblings it's easily one of the nicest tablets on the market. The aluminium build gives it the same tactile, premium feel as other Apple gadgets, yet the skinny dimensions make it easy and comfortable to hold for short periods of time - we did find it can get quite tiresome after a while though!
That super-sized screen is certainly an improvement when you actually want to do stuff, but it's a big compromise when you're out and about, and it may even make the Pro too big to fit in some smaller bags - it's certainly nowhere near as portable as other iPad offerings. It can also be a bit trickier to use for those of us with tiny hands, with icons and keyboard buttons just that little bit further out of reach.
With such gorgeous hardware on offer, and the iPad Pro seemingly designed to be a proper Surface rival, it seems almost a shame to see iOS bundled with the tablet. The iPad Pro is capable of a whole lot more than running a mobile operating system (you can edit 4K video on it if you want), and although it's now capable of proper multitasking, iOS still fails to take advantage of the huge screen real estate.
The Pro is an impressive bit of kit, but as expected it's also expensive. Prices start at £679, rising to £899 for the 128GB 4G model. Add a keyboard and you're over a grand before you've even thought about adding the Pencil - still want one now?