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iPad Pro 10.5 Review: Apple’s best iPad yet

Even though the iPad has only been around for seven years, it has revolutionized how we think of computing and started the tablet revolution. And since 2010, Apple has stuck to the 9.7-inch screen size for the main iPad line, until they introduced the 12.9-inch iPad Pro back in 2015.

But now, Apple has gotten rid of the 9.7-inch screen size and replaced it with a 10.5-inch screen which is the perfect middle ground between the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the 7.9-inch iPad Mini. I’ve been using the 10.5-inch iPad Pro for about two weeks and it’s one of the best iPads to date.

Design & Hardware

The smaller iPad Pro now has a 10.5-inch Retina Display with a resolution of 2224-by-1668 at 264 ppi. The new display looks great from all angles and playing videos and games on it look amazing.

The new iPad Pro 10.5’s screen has a 120Hz refresh rate along with Apple’s ProMotion technology. This makes the screen feel much more responsive than previous models. And the True Tone display technology automatically adjusts the warmness of the screen depending on the light in the room you’re in. The iPad Pro 10.5 that I tested was in Space Gray, which means it had a black front and that helped when watching videos.

Apple has somehow made the iPad Pro 10.5 even thinner than its outgoing model. The iPad Pro 10.5 is just 6.1mm thin and weighs around 1 pound, it was fairly easy to carry around. The device is being powered by the new 6-core A10X Fusion chip and the device could easily keep up even on the most demanding tasks like editing videos or playing graphically intense games.

Just below the display, you’ll find an improved Touch ID sensor which was fairly quick to unlock the device, my only minor annoyance is the way Apple has changed how unlocking your device works in iOS 10. Before you would just hold your finger on the home button for it to unlock but now in iOS 10, you need actually press the home button and sometimes that always doesn’t work.

As for battery life, I was able to easily get 8-10 hours of usage on the iPad Pro 10.5. And when I wasn’t using the device, the standby time is so good that you could leave the device for a day or so and it will still have a decent amount of charge left.

The iPad Pro 10.5 has a Lightning port for charging and data transfers, and you’ll find the standard volume buttons, headphone jack and four speakers, which helped when watching videos.

In my iPad Pro 12.9 (2015) review, I talked about some of the accessories available for the two iPad Pros like the Smart Cover, Smart Keyboard but alongside the new iPad Pro 10.5 announcement at WWDC 2017, Apple introduced some more iPad Pro accessories.

Apple introduced a new leather sleeve that will allow you take your Apple Pencil along with your iPad on the go. I tested out the Leather Sleeve in Midnight Blue and it’s a very high-quality case to keep your iPad Pro protected. And the included slot for the Apple Pencil makes it so much easier to carry the Pencil. But the Leather Sleeve is a bit on the expensive side at $179 CAD (for the iPad Pro 10.5 version) but it does come in four colours, Midnight Blue, Black, Taupe and Saddle Brown.

The Leather Sleeve is available for the iPad Pro 10.5 and the refreshed 12.9. There is also an Apple Pencil case that comes in the same four colours as the Leather Sleeve and goes for $39 CAD. In addition, there are some new Smart Cover colours including Mist Blue, Pollen (aka yellow), Flamingo, White, Pink Sand, Midnight Blue and Charcoal Grey and cost $69 CAD.

You’ll also be able to get some new USB 3.0 adapters like one for Lightning to SD Card, Lightning to USB 3 Camera and USB-C to Lightning.

I also got to test out the iPad Pro 10.5 with Apple Pencil, which is an additional $129 CAD. Like I said in the iPad 12.9 review, the Apple Pencil is my favourite part of the iPad Pro. I’m one of those who likes to draw and drawing digitally makes it so much easier to colour my drawings and then share to social media.

The iPad Pro 10.5 comes in four colours, Silver, Space Gray, Gold and Rose Gold. It comes in three storage options, 64, 256 and 512GB.

The pricing for the iPad Pro 10.5 is as follows:

  • 64GB (Wi-Fi) – $869 CAD
  • 256GB (Wi-Fi) – $999 CAD
  • 512GB (Wi-Fi) – $1259 CAD
  • 64GB (Wi-Fi & Cellular) – $1,039 CAD
  • 256GB (Wi-Fi & Cellular) – $1,169 CAD
  • 512GB (Wi-Fi & Cellular) – $1,429 CAD*

* The model that I tested

The new iPad Pro 10.5 and the refreshed 12.9-inch version are available from Apple’s website.

Software

The iPad Pro 10.5 is running iOS 10 and I’ve gone into detail about iOS 10 in my iPad Pro 12.9 (2015) review. But when Apple introduced the iPad Pro 10.5 at WWDC 2017, they also detailed iOS 11 and all the new features coming to the iPad.

iOS 11 is said to bring a whole bunch of new features to the iPad. The first of which is a new Dock which allows you to easily find your favourite and recently used apps and files. This will make it much easier to multitask.

A new Files app will also be coming to iOS 11 for the iPad, it will allow users to not only access files on their device but on cloud services like Dropbox, iCloud and Google Drive. iOS 11 also brings drag and drop support to the iPad and you’ll be able to do things like move text, photos and files from one app to another.

Apple is also making multitasking more intuitive on the iPad in iOS 11 with the inclusion of the Dock in addition to Split View and Slider Over. The App Switcher in iOS 11 has also been redesigned and it will remember what apps you’ve multitasked with.

And for you Apple Pencil users, Apple has made using the Apple Pencil in iOS 11 “more versatile, powerful and natural than ever.” You’ll be able to do things like signing documents, annotate PDFs or even draw on screenshots in iOS 11. And you can also start writing notes with the Apple Pencil straight from the lock screen and they’ll be saved in the Notes app.  

iOS 11 will be coming to iOS devices in the fall.

You can read my experience about iOS 10 on the iPad Pro below.

iOS 10 is similar previous versions, meaning that you tap, swipe and scroll to get around. Your homescreen is just a grid of icons and to get back to the homescreen, is just a button press away. iOS 10 is a smooth experience and there’s zero lag.

Features like Multitasking and Slide Over and Split View were all introduced back with iOS 9 (which is what the iPad Pro launched with) but I found that some features like Slide Over still needs some work. Slide Over is there, so you can open a second app without leaving the one that you’re in but most of the time, when I tried to use Slide Over, it only opened YouTube in that view and wouldn’t let me choose another app to open.

Split View is a feature that allows you to use two apps at once and that’s one feature that does work well but I didn’t find myself using it that often.

Picture in Picture does work, but it only works for certain apps and sadly YouTube isn’t one of them but at least Netflix works in the mode.

One feature that I absolutely don’t like about iOS 10 is the press home to unlock. Gone is the swipe to unlock, because that was replaced by the new homescreen widgets, which I didn’t find useful. And even though the iPad Pro has Touch ID, whenever I would press the home button to unlock the device, it wouldn’t always work. I don’t know if it’s because of which generation Touch ID sensor the iPad Pro has but I’ve set at four fingers and when I press home to unlock, it doesn’t seem to work and asks for my passcode.

Camera

Apple has improved the camera on the iPad Pro 10.5. It is now 12-megapixels and is supposedly the same camera as in the iPhone 7. With the new camera on the iPad Pro 10.5, you’ll be able to take great photos including Live Photos.

The new camera is capable of taking 4K video and slow-motion at up to 240fps and there is optical image stabilization with the iPad Pro 10.5. The iPad Pro 10.5 takes good photos but they’re nothing mindblowing and please don’t be one of those people who take photos with their iPad, it’s just weird and awkward and you’re guaranteed to get at least one weird look (possibly more).

The front-facing camera is now 7-megapixels and can capture more colours for more vibrant selfies and better video during FaceTime calls.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for the best iPad you can get, then look no further than the iPad Pro 10.5. It strikes the perfect balance between the smaller iPad Mini and the biggest iPad Pro 12.9. If you’re looking to do more than just tablet things, you should look elsewhere (maybe a Macbook Pro or Surface Pro 4 or some other laptop).

However, the iPad Pro 10.5 does come at a cost, it starts at $869 CAD which is quite a lot for a tablet and that’s not including the cost of the Apple Pencil and other accessories. The 512GB Wi-Fi & Cellular model that I tested out goes for $1,429 CAD which at this price point, is laptop territory and I think most people would go for a laptop over a tablet at that price range.

But nonetheless, the iPad Pro 10.5 is one of Apple’s best iPad to date.

Pros

  • Beautiful display and the 120Hz refresh rate make it better
  • Premium design
  • Excellent battery life
  • Awesome speakers
  • Powerful processor
  • Great performance
  • iOS 11 looks promising for the iPad
  • Apple Pencil works great  (especially for drawing)

Cons

  • Can get as expensive as a laptop (especially when adding cost of accessories)
  • TouchID issues
  • iOS 10 can be limited




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