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Two weeks with the iPad Pro made me fall in love

Two weeks with the iPad Pro made me fall in love

Those who have followed my experiments in tech should know by now that I skew towards the Google life. Stock Android phones (mostly Nexus with one foray into the Moto X) have been my daily drivers since the Nexus One came out, I’ve had a string of Nexus tablets, and I’ve been a big proponent of Chromebooks as the perfect “good enough” computers for most people.

At least that last part stood true until I used the new iPad Pro 10.5 for the past two weeks. Now, I’m not so sure anymore.

I’ve attempted switching from Android to an iPhone a couple times (most recently in the spring of 2016) and it’s never worked out for me. Even after my experience with the iPad Pro, I don’t see that changing anytime soon, but tablets are a different beast than phones. Phones are more personal and what you need from the workflow on a phone is very different than what you do on a tablet, in my experience.

Even as a writer with relatively few needs, a tablet has mainly been a consumption device, but the iPad Pro is the first time I felt like a tablet could not only be that great consumption device for reading and video, but it could reasonably replace a traditional laptop or my Chromebook. On the other hand, a phone can be those things, but also must be a communication device first and foremost.

For example, a major issue I had with my attempt to switch to an iPhone was in regards to app investment. I simply can’t have a phone that doesn’t integrate Google Voice directly into the dialer, because it would be too annoying to split my contacts list into Google Voice people (aka international) and T-Mobile number people (aka domestic). So, Google’s got me hooked on that. Additionally, while iOS apps are very expensive, the only app that I even considered I might need to buy on the iPad was Tweetbot 4, because I hate how the official Twitter app buries lists.

Otherwise, the main apps I needed were video (Netflix, Amazon Video), social (Facebook, Twitter), reading (Google Play Books, Kindle, Pocket, Flipboard, Feedly), and work (Outlook, Word, Slack, Box). And, with those apps, I had the opposite problem with the iPad that I had with the iPhone: two of the major apps I needed (Amazon Video and Word) were on the iPad and worked very well, but neither is available on the Chromebook Plus I have without sideloading. 

Two weeks with the iPad Pro made me fall in love

While that normally wouldn’t be an issue for me, sideloading on a Chromebook is not as easy as on an Android tablet at the moment, and the web versions of those apps don’t do what I need. Word online is an awkward fit because of the way Microsoft handles 365 accounts. And, while Amazon Prime Video is available in a browser, you can’t save offline videos without an app.

Obviously, Android apps on Chromebooks are still in beta and theoretically issues like this (at least with Microsoft Word) should be sorted out eventually, but beyond the apps themselves, the iPad touchscreen is far more responsive and pleasing to use; the iPad and keyboard cover are thinner and lighter than the competition; the speakers are loud; and, ultimately things just work better and smoother on the iPad.

As a daily driver, the iPhone can’t replace my Android, but the iPad Pro could fairly easily be my primary computer for everything else. I was surprised how quickly I fell in love with the iPad Pro, actually. While I had the device for two weeks, I was smitten in less than one day.

The hardware is gorgeous, sleek and fast. The Smart Keyboard Cover is thin, light and very pleasant to type on. Using the iPad Pro with iOS 11 beta made it super seamless to multitask and do what I needed. And, while I’ve historically said Android/Chromebook tablet apps are “good enough” I have to admit that the iOS tablet ecosystem is flat out better (especially since I still can’t even get Microsoft Office apps on my Samsung Chromebook Plus.)

The iPad was not a perfect experience. The idea of paying $10 for a Twitter client that may or may not be all that great, but is the only real alternative available isn’t terribly exciting and I’d rather have the Tweetdeck web app on my Chromebook. The magnets on the Smart Cover are so strong that they make a lot of noise when attaching/detaching from the iPad, which got me in trouble by waking up my wife a couple times. And, of course, there’s the question of price. 

Two weeks with the iPad Pro made me fall in love

It cost $865 for the 32GB iPad Pro 10.5 plus Smart Keyboard Cover. The Samsung Chromebook Plus can be had for about $425 right now. It’s hard to justify that cost over a Chromebook Plus, even with the beta Android app weirdness.

As much as I love the iPad Pro, I can’t justify that price for a device that I can’t share easily with my wife. The Chromebook Plus can be used by anyone in the house, but Apple still doesn’t seem to understand that tablets are often used as communal devices in regular homes (Apple does allow multiple users on iPads in education markets). I’ll miss using it after I return it to the Apple store, but it being more than twice as expensive as a Chromebook Plus is too much for me. But, if I really had to have one true computer, the iPad Pro would likely be the perfect device to span work, personal, and media consumption for me. 

Surface Pro addendum

By far the most popular comment on this piece (aside from the usual Apple hate, which is unavoidable) has been people saying that I should get a Surface Pro, and while I have responded a bit in the comments, I wanted to have something here to make it easier for everyone to see. 

As background, I haven't used a Surface Pro for extended time, but I have spent quite a lot of time with touchscreen Windows 10 on a Dell XPS 13. So, I feel confident in saying the Surface Pro would not work for what I want. Yes, I do want a hybrid tablet/PC experience, and the Surface Pro does offer that, but honestly the Surface Pro skews too far towards traditional laptop and offers a pretty bad tablet experience. 

First of all, the Surface Pro is too heavy to be a comfortable tablet at around 1.7 pounds (~770g), depending on configuration. That's a huge difference from the iPad Pro 10.5 at just over 1 pound (463g). Add in the fact that tablet optimized apps on Windows aren't even as good as what you can get in the Android beta options on a Chromebook, let alone what iOS offers and that's a huge hit to the Surface Pro. The "freedom" of Windows doesn't much matter if the apps aren't there to give a good experience. 

The other big issue is the price. The iPad Pro, as much as I loved the experience, was too expensive at $865. So, the suggestion to buy a device that doesn't fit my needs as well and costs at least $1000 for a good configuration makes almost no sense. If I were looking for a solid, ultraportable laptop, the Surface Pro would be a consideration. But, if you're looking for something that can be a great tablet and a good enough laptop, the iPad Pro makes far more sense. 

  • Options

posted on 08 Aug 2017, 12:57 18

1. applesnapple93 (Posts: 76; Member since: 06 Jan 2016)

30 seconds of reading the article and just thinking about it made me hate it.

posted on 08 Aug 2017, 13:12 7

6. Well-Manicured-Man (Posts: 427; Member since: 16 Jun 2015)

How is that? After reading the article, I asked myself "... and why did he fell in love with the iPad PRO now?". I did not really see the author giving good reason for his statement. He only said why he doesn't like iPhones and that he believes that iOS is the better tablet operating system compared to Android. I don't see the author really making iPad Pro specific statements apart from the type cover.

posted on 08 Aug 2017, 14:25 7

26. maherk (Posts: 4845; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)

Same here, I felt like he just kept adding words just to fill this article, which is a shame when you consider he had lots of reasons that explains his reasons for falling in love with it. As much as I prefer Android, I went ahead today and pulled the plug and got myself the iPad Pro 10.5, and I'm in love with everything about it. The only thing that I would change if I could would be the screen, it is superb, but I would've definitely picked an AMOLED panel for such a beast.

posted on 08 Aug 2017, 15:24

34. Flash (Posts: 1423; Member since: 19 May 2017)

AMOLED is overrated.

posted on 08 Aug 2017, 17:17 11

51. Finalflash (Posts: 3527; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)

Until Apple invents it next month.....

posted on 08 Aug 2017, 18:10

58. Flash (Posts: 1423; Member since: 19 May 2017)

How can they invent something that's already available?

posted on 08 Aug 2017, 18:59 8

70. cmdacos (Posts: 651; Member since: 01 Nov 2016)

They do it all the time apparently.

posted on 08 Aug 2017, 23:05 2

84. L0n3n1nja (Posts: 523; Member since: 12 Jul 2016)

Most of the innovation they claim was invented already.

posted on 08 Aug 2017, 18:16 4

61. tedkord (Posts: 14114; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)

AMOLED is top rated. TIFTFY.

posted on 09 Aug 2017, 00:35

90. GoTstan (Posts: 139; Member since: 25 Jul 2015)

Said flash, ever

posted on 08 Aug 2017, 19:34 2

73. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2720; Member since: 26 May 2011)

AMOLED would have been really nice, but even so I was surprised how comfortable the iPad was in bed with all the lights off. Even with my Nexus 6P, I usually have to have Twilight running, but the iPad was easy to read and even black text on a white background didn't blind me or wake up my wife.

posted on 08 Aug 2017, 21:23 4

81. buccob (Posts: 2732; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)

I agree Michael, a great quality lcd is more than enough.... And I don't trust Amoled for long term devices such as tablets or computers... Burn ins are still a real issue.

My surface book has a screen that has been mistaken with Amoled for its deep black and vibrancy.

By the way you should ditch the Chromebook and give the Surface Pro a try...

posted on 08 Aug 2017, 23:08 1

85. L0n3n1nja (Posts: 523; Member since: 12 Jul 2016)

Surface Pro 3 owner here, wish it had an AMOLED display, I do not have good blacks compared to my Tab S2. I've personally not experienced burn in yet, had several LCD screens develop bad light bleed or have the back light completely fail. But to each their own, it's why choice is good.

posted on 09 Aug 2017, 09:28

100. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2720; Member since: 26 May 2011)

I really don't understand why people keep suggesting the Surface Pro. 1) I want something that's a good tablet. Surface tablet apps are not good, even beta Android on this Chrome is better.

2) My main issue with the iPad was the price ($865), so why would I instead drop my $400 Chromebook for a Surface Pro that's at least $1000 for a good config?

posted on 09 Aug 2017, 21:09 1

120. buccob (Posts: 2732; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)

Well if your configuration works great for you then ok.... You are still talking about ~900+400 vs ~1000.

The suggestions of surface device is because they are actually great devices... I personally wanted the book because I need a laptop first and a tablet rarely.... And it excels at that.

Now the tablet portion while lackluster on app offerings, it does have what I need for media consumption... And my gaming needs are in full laptop mode...

The keyboard is great and typing on it is awesome. I work with 3D industrial and mechanical designs, and it performs very good.

And I use Google services mostly, so my work flow is nicely synced with my android device...

I fail to see how an Android phone + iPad + Chromebook is a better solution (you even complained about it), but I guess that if it's just for Word then you will be OK with whatever.

posted on 10 Aug 2017, 09:11

123. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2720; Member since: 26 May 2011)

The iPad would replace the Chromebook completely and be my primary computer, so the combo would be Nexus 6P + iPad, so the question is $400 for the Chromebook or $865 for the iPad or $1000 for the Surface. The Chrome has its issues, but that's a big price jump to justify for me.

A good portion of my media consumption is reading (books, comics, news), so the weight of the iPad on its own is a big consideration and basically kills the Surface for me. Admittedly, the Surface would be much lighter than the Chrome, but it still doesn't fit what I want as well as the iPad.

posted on 08 Aug 2017, 15:40

39. Leo_MC (Posts: 2675; Member since: 02 Dec 2011)

"iOS is the better tablet operating system compared to Android"

Compared with Chrome OS; Android on tablets is non-existent.

posted on 08 Aug 2017, 19:04

71. piyath (Posts: 1033; Member since: 23 Mar 2012)

Apple is the best! Every hater who is jealous of Apple as a successful company will say otherwise but that's the truth. Apple will succeed, Apple will dominate and Apple will prevail. Because Apple makes the best products in the world by a long shot.

posted on 09 Aug 2017, 00:36 1

91. GoTstan (Posts: 139; Member since: 25 Jul 2015)

Feel better after getting that up

posted on 09 Aug 2017, 17:57

109. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 14501; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)

Not according to this:


posted on 08 Aug 2017, 12:59 8

2. adi9764 (limited) (Posts: 119; Member since: 16 Feb 2016)

Apple sucks

posted on 08 Aug 2017, 15:25 3

36. Flash (Posts: 1423; Member since: 19 May 2017)

Sure that's not you instead?

posted on 08 Aug 2017, 15:39 1

38. darkkjedii (Posts: 24899; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

No it doesn't.

posted on 08 Aug 2017, 13:00 4

3. You_Dont_Say (Posts: 329; Member since: 26 Jan 2015)

iPad 10.5 is hands down the best tablet with mobile OS available.

posted on 08 Aug 2017, 13:28

8. bucky (Posts: 3132; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)

No, its the best tablet on the market.

posted on 08 Aug 2017, 18:17 9

62. tedkord (Posts: 14114; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)

Not even close to the Surface Pro.

posted on 08 Aug 2017, 14:18 6

22. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 1287; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)

That's your opinion, best mobile tablet is the surface pro. All tech sites say this about the surface pro.

posted on 08 Aug 2017, 14:20 5

24. trojan_horse (Posts: 4928; Member since: 06 May 2016)

And just the fact that the Surface Pro runs a full-fledged desktop OS should make it the indisputable winner.

posted on 08 Aug 2017, 15:25

35. whatev (Posts: 394; Member since: 28 Oct 2015)

Yes, in any case it’s just about the surface and iPad Pro, Samsung is nowhere to be found on this tech field :-)

posted on 08 Aug 2017, 15:30 3

37. zeppo (Posts: 185; Member since: 21 Jul 2015)

Well said, people call iPad is more productive because they use it for social media and Netflix, Hulu imao. Any netbook with a desktop browser can do it better than mobile apps infested with ads.

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