Interface and Functionality

Apple's tablet support has come a long way, but iOS still has few issues left unresolved


Right now, there's not a lot unique and special going on with the interface you're going to find on the iPad Pro – if you're familiar with iOS 10 already, expect more of the same. Mind you, iOS 11 is just around the corner, and we can look forward to a number of upgrades and new features focused specifically on Apple's tablet lineup – but that's still a few months away.

For the moment, we can reflect on how Apple's mobile OS responds to larger-screen devices than the typical 9.7-inch iPad fare. On a very basic level, iOS still doesn't feel particularly optimized for tablets, and that's made clear the moment you power the tablet on and see the operating system's home screen with the same paltry 4 x 5 array of app icons you get on a much, much smaller iPhone display.

Sure, they're not much worse here than on a 9.7-inch iPad, and the situation is far more pronounced on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, but it's still just a bit infuriating that – with the default wallpaper – we literally have tiny icons floating on a vast sea of empty space between them. Some users may find serenity in the low-density layout, but for those who thought that a big-screen Pro-branded tablet would be all about optimizing the tablet's interface with a focus on productivity, it's something in the neighborhood of maddening.


What works better is split-screen and picture-in-picture support, letting you view two apps side-by-side or superimpose a video thumbnail over another full-screen app. The limited screen real estate compared to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro does make split-screen a little less functional here, but it's still handy in a decent number of scenarios, like viewing a map to a restaurant while checking out its menu to the side.

With both of these features, though, we wish there were more flexibility. You're highly limited in terms of how you can resize apps, as well as video windows. And there's still the issue that PIP isn't supported at all in popular third-party apps like YouTube.

Processor and Memory

With some of the best performance we've ever seen, the new iPad Pro is in a league of its own

A new generation of iPads is more often than not an opportunity to get to know Apple's latest silicon, and that's very much the case this time around. For both the original 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the now-discontinued 9.7-inch edition, Apple used its A9X chip, which was already a quite powerful processor. With this new wave of tablets, the company's introducing the beefed-up A10X, which produces what Apple claims to be a 30 boost in processing power, and 40 percent increase to graphics computational speed.


Not content to just take Apple's word for it, we ran the 10.5-inch iPad Pro through our full assault of benchmark tests, and it's done nothing less than utterly blow away the competition. While each test we run measures a slightly different array of variables, we're looking at performance that's roughly 20 to 25% better than you'll get from an iPhone 7. Put simply, we've yet to see another tablet with speeds anything like this.

That's not just a benchmark determination, either, and subjectively the iPad Pro is phenomenally fast. The speed has a way of sneaking up on you, not always leaving you aware of the improvements – and that's a very good thing. Rather than thinking to yourself, “my stars, this app is fast,” it's more like you don't think about the speed at all – things are just running so smoothly that you never see those slowdown moments that get you pondering performance bottlenecks in the first place.

While Apple continues to play coy about the topic of RAM in its mobile devices, teardowns have confirmed that the new iPad Pro is equipped with 4GB of LPDDR4 memory. We might look for more on a full-blown laptop, but for an iOS device, that capacity feels more than sufficient to keep app-multitasking running smoothly.

As far as storage is concerned, Apple offers 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB editions of the tablet, starting at about $650, $750, and $950 as WiFi-only editions, respectively. For the purposes of this review, we're looking at the 64GB model, but if we had to pick a sweet spot on that storage/pricing curve, 256GB is feeling like a pretty nice balance.

AnTuTu Higher is better
Apple iPad Pro 10.5-inch 220321
Apple iPad Pro 9.7-inch 156667
Apple iPad Air 2 62856
JetStream Higher is better
Apple iPad Pro 10.5-inch 203.63
Apple iPad Pro 9.7-inch 142.93
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen Higher is better
Apple iPad Pro 10.5-inch 60
Apple iPad Pro 9.7-inch 59.8
Apple iPad Air 2 52.2
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
Apple iPad Pro 10.5-inch 50
Apple iPad Pro 9.7-inch 35
Apple iPad Air 2 24.1
Basemark OS II Higher is better
Apple iPad Pro 10.5-inch 3983
Apple iPad Pro 9.7-inch 2765
Apple iPad Air 2 1880

Connectivity


As per usual, Apple offers its latest iPads in both WiFi-only and cellular equipped models, and no matter which storage configuration you go with, opting for cellular connectivity will add $130 to your final cost.

But perhaps the more relevant connectivity concerns accessories, and as an iPad Pro model, this tablet supports both the Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard. While the former is obviously a wireless devices, the keyboard connects to the iPad Pro through a proprietary edge interface. We didn't evaluate the Smart Keyboard as part of this review, but if you want to pick one up, Apple's got a new edition custom-sized for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, priced at just about $160.

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65 Comments

65. madara82

Posts: 36; Member since: Jul 01, 2017

awesome phone.. I hope the sound is really improved...

62. Moose

Posts: 418; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

The new iPad may be brilliant at a lot of things but I would never buy any tablet that didn't allow me to connect a bluetooth mouse for serious typing.

61. Foxgabanna unregistered

I have one of these and if you already own an iMac/MBP and a cell phone, I dont see where this fits in your life.

44. Izoe

Posts: 150; Member since: Sep 02, 2010

Think the score fair, this doesn't bring any feature that is particularly new to the tablet segment. It hasn't pushed the boundaries but instead has caught up with respect to functionality. It is a good device but not an awesome device. Once the older iPads get the OS update, what exactly would make this one special?

43. Pureviewuser1

Posts: 170; Member since: Mar 28, 2016

The fruit rentbouys are out in force how dare them score less than 9.5 !!!!

42. redmd

Posts: 1965; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

Chill people. don't cry over a "low" score. 8.8 is still high.

38. manzer

Posts: 64; Member since: Apr 05, 2014

I know that it's apple, but a tablet not having a SD- micro card reader is ridiculous.

41. Iodine

Posts: 1520; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

It also doesn't have floppy drive... truly terrible.

37. Nexus4lifes

Posts: 303; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

phonearena talking about apple devices is soon becoming like phil schiller's speach at wwdc.

36. ahmuzencab

Posts: 192; Member since: May 12, 2017

WHAt a joke of a rating. Guess you have to please the disgruntled cry babies that kept crying. Almost every renowned tech site has nothing but great things to say about this iPad. Wait... renowned. Tech site. Renowned. Tech. Site. Scratch that. Carry on with your “journalism”.

34. Podrick

Posts: 1285; Member since: Aug 19, 2015

Is this the 1st time people here are disagreeing that an "Apple product" scored less? Never thought I'd see this day lol. And I agree with you all. This deserves more than 9. True successor of iPad Air 2 imo.

25. davthom123

Posts: 121; Member since: Mar 02, 2015

plus if any product deserves a re-review it should be this iPad with ios11

28. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

You share my thoughts.

23. davthom123

Posts: 121; Member since: Mar 02, 2015

weird I thought this should get a 9.5 or at least a 9 coz the only major con is its price tag heck in fact that's the only one

17. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Honestly PhoneArena, as many have already said, this tablet easily deserves a 9. You don't seem to give credit where it's due. Are the cons really something that should affect the score negatively this much? Not in my opinion. Please change it to something like a 9.2 or more. The iPhone 7 got 9.3, and it had amazing competitors like the S7. Why this iPad got an 8.8 even though it has no direct rivals, all things considered? The Tab S3 lags behind in features against the iPad Pro 10.5. This should justify what I said.

31. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3109; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

They shouldn't bother with giving scores anymore. It's pointless and giving them a back lash. Just review the product and list the pros and cons and call it a day.

35. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

I like the idea. However, then, viewers won't know which device is better than the other. Would cause annoyance especially for phone reviews where they won't know which phone was liked by PA author(s) and which wasn't.

13. chaosnightmare

Posts: 182; Member since: May 20, 2010

As an apple hater I must say this is the best product they have made in years and it scored below 9... what's wrong with this site?

11. Lumberjack

Posts: 306; Member since: May 04, 2017

Apple product that score less than 9 here?

9. jellmoo

Posts: 2699; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Want a tablet with some laptop like functionality? The iPad Pro is the king of the castle. Want a laptop with some tablet like functionality? The Surface Pro is the king of the castle.

5. antifanboyism

Posts: 57; Member since: Jun 20, 2017

See a contrast ratio of 1:1300 is excellent . It should be atleast 1:1500

4. Papa_Ji

Posts: 928; Member since: Jun 27, 2016

Still it can't beat Tab S3 it's look, feel, productivity and value... iPads display still look white washed in comparison to AMOLED on tab s3...... Basically it's same iCrap with 120Hz display wrapped in aluminium foil.

7. whatev

Posts: 2459; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

Dont write comments while you’re dreaming, it makes you look delusional, you’re welcome ;)

21. Bankz

Posts: 2555; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

Lmao!

16. chaosnightmare

Posts: 182; Member since: May 20, 2010

Dude I love samsung and android as much as you do and I wish samsung could do something to kick the crap out of the iPad every year just like the note line does with the iphone (except for the last year with the note 7 incident) but android tablets are crap and will be crap until Google makes something to push the tablet market forward. Besides we must admit apple has something nice here at least this time.

3. Papa_Ji

Posts: 928; Member since: Jun 27, 2016

Still it can't beat Tab S3 it's look, feel, productivity and value... iPads display still look white washed in comparison to AMOLED on tab s3...... Basically it's same iCrap with 120Hz display wrapped in aluminium foil.

8. maherk

Posts: 7101; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I'm sorry, but apart from the Amoled panel and the free S-pen, this is way better than the Tab S3, and as much as I prefer anything Android, I would gladly take this over the Tab S3.

15. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

please ignore papa-ji; he's a troll. Btw papa-ji in english means 'dad'. Just so you guys know

48. PapaJi

Posts: 60; Member since: May 15, 2016

Beta apny papa ki baat ko ignore nhi krty.... Madrch*d pakistani.

49. PapaJi

Posts: 60; Member since: May 15, 2016

Think different ...think more than one PAPA Kashmir to mily ga nhi ek or papa hy ly ly...

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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

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