Two weeks with the iPad Pro made me fall in love

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.

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. 

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. 

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. 

Related phones

iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • Display 10.5 inches
    2224 x 1668 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Single camera)
    7 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A10X Fusion, 4GB RAM
  • Storage 512GB,
  • Battery 8134 mAh
  • OS iOS 13.x



104. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

You were doing fine until you mentioned the Surface. It's not a laptop its, tablet. Next, if you're complaining about 1.7lbs, then you must be a girl and not a man. It's a real computer with real hardware. It's not meant to be a cheap toy you can bend with your hands. I can bend the iPad Pro with breaking a sweat or a nail. As far as the SP4 tablet experience. The difference is a kiddie UI on the iPad vs using the Windows UI on a tablet. I didnt install lots of mobile apps on the SP4, because I rarely take it out as my phone handles what i need. It's not in the same class as an iPad. Anyone who tells an iPad user to get a Surface is mostly looking at price. For $800 ! Sp4 id a better buy because it's a real computer and the iPad cant do half as much, but costs as much. I guess it depends on what you are using an up iPad for. First off you mentioned Word and said the online version isnt enough. Well th3 Surface wouod solve thst problem. Next the Surface resolution and you would allow you to view native content perfectly for anything lesd than 4K. Being able you have the pen handy, and use a mouse and keyboard, which the iPad cannot makes it a better ta let overall. I understand if it's not what you want, but based on your claimed usage of a ta let, it seems its a better fit. The think the issue is, PA writers have their face so far in Apple's bite, tbey cant see the benefits of something else. The iPad is ok, but it's just an iOhone with a bigger display. It's an overpriced toy. If the price was $500 or less then it would be a perfect priced toy. But T $800 the iPad lacks so much with only being able to split 2 apps, no mouse support, expensive dongles and accessories and doesn't even come with a pen. It seems you are confused as to what really works for you. The fact is, you could own both an iPad, Android phone and SP4. And you could dump your PC.

94. Arashmahmoodi25

Posts: 133; Member since: Apr 07, 2017

That promotion technology is VERY IMPRESSIVE !!

93. ColinW

Posts: 413; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

Better to spend the money on a Surface it is better and far more useful than an iPad. As a tablet they are great if you can live within the bounds of IOS and Apples restrictive ecosystem, but other than that better to look elsewhere.

89. GoTstan

Posts: 386; Member since: Jul 25, 2015

I just threw up in my mouth a bit

88. HansP

Posts: 542; Member since: Oct 16, 2011

Featured, i.e. infomercial.

83. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

iPad's are pretty much the perfect tablet, wouldn't expect any less from the Pro series. And that's coming from someone who refuses to be entrenched in the Apple ecosystem. Only bar for a majority of people getting one is the pricing. Thanks for the article Michael H. As always, enjoy your honest and in-depth viewpoints.

79. Luuthian

Posts: 332; Member since: Sep 09, 2011

We just bought one of the new iPad Pros to replace my wife's Surface Pro laptop. She loves it. We sold the Surface. It was way too much computer for her. So far there's nothing we've thrown at the Pro that it couldn't really do that you wouldn't expect it to. She even uses it for Word and OneNote for recipes and things. And we're using the iOS11 Beta so even better. Honestly it's a great product. it's pricey but it does 95% of the things a regular laptop can do. it just takes some time to get used to how it does them. Worth the buy.

69. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Was going to say someone will bring up Surface but I'm to late. It's all over the comments but it's not the usual suspect who brought it up.

107. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Ahhh. Was there ever really a doubt?

59. JMartin22

Posts: 2426; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

My stance has always been that Android is a superior and more sophisticated operating software for Phone. However, I feel where iOS shines is tablets. They feel optimized for that type of platform, whereas Android feels like they try to awkwardly scale the phone experience to a larger display. Sure, Samsung has tried to put some propriety spin on the Android tablet productivity, however, it doesn’t feel quite as polished compared to these recent iOS devices running iOS 11, as far as performance and longevity goes. But I am not trying to diss Samsung, they definitely make the best high-end phones in the business.

66. tedkord

Posts: 17529; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

I can agree with all that. The iPad is the best mobile tablet, especially for media. I have one for work, and this is where it falls short. I'm part of a beta program to see if iPads will increase productivity, and the feedback has been nearly unanimous - no. We've told them we'd rather use pen and paper, then input at the PC when we're at it. And that's what I do. The iPad is almost never turned on, sitting in my bag. And even when it is on, it's being used to watch a TV show downloaded from my Tivo or Netflix. For actual work, the Surface Pro can't be beaten, with an Intel Core cpu and full windows.

86. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1620; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

Android still has a lot of apps that are designed for phone, and they scale up and get locked to portrait orientation on a tablet. It's a bit frustrating when something like Instagram is actually a better app experience on windows 10 than it is an Android tablet. LOL I still really like my Tab S2 for how I use it, but it is frustrating some days.

55. Ironboned

Posts: 77; Member since: Jun 16, 2016

iPhonearena and it's retard bulls**t apple advertising s**ttie posts

54. poptart574

Posts: 223; Member since: Feb 29, 2016

I'm curious about the iPad. I enjoy watching movies and such on my portable devices, can this tablet run anything I throw at it? Will I be able to run kodi and cloud TV if I wanted?

119. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

You csnt use Kid I unless you jail real and sideload. Neither of which you have to do on Android or Windows. Both Android and Windows support file for.ats including lossless ones tbat Apple.does not support.

52. Cat97

Posts: 2069; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

One day with the iPad Pro made me fell in love with my Surface Pro 4...again.

47. cnour

Posts: 2305; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

The best in the market and the proof is the increase in iPad sales. Android tablets sucks and Surface Pro runs Windows.

65. tedkord

Posts: 17529; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

It can't even eat the Surface Pro's dust is so far behind it.

118. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

IPad sales Re down and have been going down every year. You must be blind or illiterate.

45. Rocket

Posts: 747; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

Paid by Apple.

43. mikehunta727 unregistered

It's for sure overpriced but the 120 hz refresh rate on a mobile device and the performance of the A10X is just very very nice. I cannot wait at all until we start seeing higher refresh rate mobile devices. It's a huge improvement

117. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

The refresh rate is over exaggerated because the display is to small to benefit. Here is where it does matter. Larger screens with higher refresh rates, help prevent ghosting mostky in fast action movies. It gets rid of the annoying blur that some think is part of the move, but it isn't. In a small screen, even with 4K resokution, 60hz is enough because even though it's the same amount of pixels, it's a smaller space. On the iPad its a waste and anyone who bought the new foe not is dumb.

121. mikehunta727 unregistered

Umm completly wrong, coming from the guy who says you can't see past 60 HZ, you are 100% wrong and I can see a dramatic difference between 120 hz and 60 hz, it is literally night and day Resolution has nothing to do with refresh rate of a display, you don't even know what you are talking about 120 hz= much more smoother display while interacting with it (animations, scrolling, etc, everything) and offers even more reduced touch latency due to the higher refresh rate. Not only that but the display can dynamically adjust its hz range which leaves the window open for a Freesync/Gsync type of experience in games, which is just absolutely amazing technology for games. Once again you don't have an idea at all what you're talking about here

122. mikehunta727 unregistered

Movies run at 24 hz with motion interpolation if the TV's offer it, which can make the movie appear smoother but offer a soap opera like motion effect to the movies while playing. Where super high refresh rate shines extremely well is in pretty much everything outside watching videos. Higher refresh rate on mobile devices and all devices is the future

33. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1620; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

IPad pro still feels like an overpriced toy to me. Can get a Samsung Galaxy Book 10.6 for $599.99 right now. 128Gb storage, 4Gb RAM, 7th Gen Core M processor, it even includes the keyboard and pen. Windows may not have a lot of good apps, but it offers a superior experience once keyboards are factored in.

77. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

I was surprised how much I liked the keyboard of the iPad Smart Cover. It was stable enough to use on my lap, I could type quickly, and it made a very pleasing sound when typing. Definitely a better experience than expected and since the iPad apps are much better than the tablet options on Windows, that was it. I didn't need the storage or the pen, and the iPad Pro has 4GB of RAM and the A10X Fusion seemed plenty fast for everything I did.

87. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1620; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

I don't have any Apple products personally, but I have used them plenty. I think they make great products, especially the iPads, they're just expensive IMO. Well the new entry level 9.7" iPad looks like a great deal to me to be honest, but these Pro ones just don't feel Pro enough to justify their price. I find it awkward to use a touch screen with a keyboard, and I've never cared to use a laptop on my lap. iOS is hands down the best OS to use on a tablet when holding it and relying on touch only, and it's got great apps. I find both iOS and Android awkward with a keyboard going between touch and physical keyboard for input. So if I'm going for keyboard input and productivity, I want a mouse as well and I want to use Windows and actually get things done.

103. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

Using a touchscreen with a keyboard definitely takes getting used to, but I found it's more awkward on a Windows or Chrome machine where there's a trackpad. In those cases, I'll usually default to the trackpad, but I didn't find any problems with the iPad. It seemed intuitive.

25. jellmoo

Posts: 2701; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

How is it harder to sideload on a Chromebook than on an Android tablet? You pretty much allow unknown sources, download APK, install. The process is practically identical.

76. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

Actually, you have to put the entire Chromebook into developer mode first which isn't too hard a process, but it means you need to hit a certain keystroke everytime you boot up or else it'll wipe clean and revert to normal mode. I've tried it before but it ended up confusing other people in my house who use the Chrome and being more work than the benefits of what I got.

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