iPad Pro 2020 in-depth review
Summers finally hit the British shores for the usual 5 days but things have gone back to normal, rainy and windy .. you will know this pattern for sure if you have lived in the Uk. So save your ice lollies and cold drink for another sunny spell, grab your hot brew, sit back and relax whilst I present to you, the iPad Pro 2020 in-depth review.
I knew I had to weigh this in carefully as the iPad Pro does sit in the super desirable slot and not the value for money slot. The value for money slot still goes to the iPad Air. But what can one do besides drool over the coolness which the iPad Pro brings to the table.
Let me start off with that gorgeous 120hz display as this thing goes synonymous with the Pro name. Everyone in the tech world is obsessed with it .. and why not, as it offers something unique which can only be experienced hands-on. No amount of cameras can do justice to this. And once you use it, anything else will feel sub par. In a way, you will be spoiled for life as looking at the way Apples reserves features, this 120hz display will always be towards the top tier.
But I need to keep that desirability factor at bay and talk more about practicality. See whilst watching videos or using documents or even photo editing, you do not notice any difference. But while scrolling though things or whilst playing resource intensive games or doing any kind of 3D rendering or artistic designs, you will find this refresh rate enhancing your experience. So if you fall into this end of the spectrum, then you will defiantly benefit with the 120hz screen whereas for most casual users, you really can save your money and invest it elsewhere, maybe on AirPods Pro or Apple Pencil and type cover or another entry iPad as all these cost somewhere it the region of the extra cash which the Pro demands.
Next up is that juice under the hood. The A12z bionic chip with 6gb ram. I think even the operating system doesn’t know the capability of it’s host. The 8 core Arm processor from Apple is really that kind of a serious performer, so much so that Apple is going to power whole desktop applications using that. True story, if you have checked the WWDC 2020 keynote then you will know this. They were powering and running proper desktop class applications like Microsoft Word, Final Cut Pro and Adobe Photoshop using this processor.
The graphics benchmark scores rivals even that of dedicated gaming machines like PS4 and Xbox one. Added to that you get the 120hz refresh rate display which even dedicated gaming machines and televisions cannot offer at the moment, making the iPad Pro a serious contender for dedicated gaming. Apple really should divert its attention towards this and make a first hand game controller and then get major game studios on-board so we can get games like Spider-Man, Last of Us and Uncharted on the iPad as well. Imagine how seriously cool that would be and would push the iPad Pro into a different league altogether.
Next is the USB C port. I need to talk about this in detail here. A universal port sure opens up a lot for possibilities and the USB C is one of the coolest things to come into existence in the tech world. On the iPad Pro it allows you to hook up various accessories which would seriously help with productivity.
I here have a simple Anker usb c dock which has ports for SD cards, 2 USB ports and a HDMI port all baked into one hub. It costs only 20£ and is from a reliable brand. Using this, you can connect SD cards and Pen Drives without any issue.
Then, the all important portable hard, when I tried to use a lighting dongle and connect it to the iPad Air, it didn’t work as it required more power. The dongle which I was using did not support portable hard drives.
But with this Anker hub connected to the iPad Pro’s USB C port, there are no issues and it works right away. If you have one of those newer hard drives with usb c connection instead of the old usb connectors then you do not need an adapter, you can directly plug it into the iPad and it will just work.
You can also use this hub to connect to an external monitor via the HDMI port. Right away, your iPad Pro has transformed from a tablet into productivity device and you can hook up a keyboard and a mouse at the same time and then work using this setup. I have actually been using this setup to edit videos and answering email and it has been working great.
Next, the stereo speakers, honestly what difference it makes. Comparing it with the single sided iPad Air speaker setup, the difference is like day and night.
Too bad none of the lower priced iPads give you this experience. This setup makes video watching experience so satisfying. And it’s not just the presence of the extra speakers on the other side, they are of very decent quality and give you true stereo phonic effect.
Now, let’s address the elephant, that camera cluster at the back. There is 12mp wide angle and 10mp ultra wide angle lens capable of 4K recording up to 60 FPS along with ture tone flash. Honestly, I never see myself using the iPad to take photos or record videos leaving my excellent iPhone in my pocket.
For scanning documents, this setup is an overkill and for students who wish to record lectures, you can do this at 4K which again in my opinion is an overkill. But sure, the added the lens are here so you can use this if needed. Also you don’t get the ability to take portrait pictures using the back lenses, not sure why but Apple reserves this only for selfies.
Then the lidar scanner, cool tech, but for most of us, you can play some AR related games and use the ikea app to your hearts content. That’s where it ends. Don’t think there is anything else to say about this for now.
The front camera is decent 7mp true depth shooter capable of taking portrait picture and video recording at 1080p upto 60fps. This is very decent camera, useful for FaceTime and video calls.. actually a bit too decent. I was recently in a conference call with clients and my face was the clearest amongst all of them, they even mentioned how they could see my Star Wars toy collection in detail in the background. So yes, wish I used the crappy vga one.
A forenote here .. your girlfriend or boyfriend will love it if you are FaceTiming them using such camera setup whereas when it comes to clients, switch back to the crappy vga one on your MacBook or windows laptop.
So that’s sums up my positive to mixed up Experience with my iPad Pro.
Shall we look at a very niggles now, there aren’t that many and they certainly do not ruin the overall experience but to keep this review fair, let’s get on with it.
First that thin form factor, the square edges do feel nicer to hold in hand and this is the first iPad which I felt confident to hold in hands without a case. But still I worry about it bending, guess it won’t be as bad as the 12.9 inch version, as posts on internet still suggest that the 2020 model is bending.
Next is FaceID .. I thought this would be cool on an iPad but upon using it for few weeks, I found this less than convenient compared to the TouchID. Don’t get me wrong, it still is decent and much better than the FaceID system you get on iPhones as it works in more angles and in any orientation but there are cases where I felt TouchID was more natural and convenient on an iPad.
For instance I always pick up my iPad in landscape mode and the thinner bezels means I always end up covering the FaceID cameras. And then when I am using the iPad on a desk or the bed, trying to download an app, authenticating via TouchID was easier as with FaceID you need to bring your face into the view of the camera system. It’s definitely not a deal breaker but touchid is more comfortable on an iPad.
Finally I would say the expensive first party accessories – the magic keyboard case and the Apple Pencil. Adding both of them to your iPad would increase the cost substantially. In fact it’s almost the cost of an entire iPad Air 3. Wish Apple offered some sort of a bundle deal.
So that’s it with the negatives. The iPad Pro is truly remarkable and Apple has added the right updates to this 2020 iteration to make it feel like it’s worth the extra cash which you will be forking out. That 120hz screen, extra RAM, faster processor, extra storage and the camera system all add upfront value and make you feel that your are getting your monies worth. However, you just cannot ignore the fact that the iPad Air does offer a lot of iPad catering for the needs of most users. But if you are after the best tablet money can buy and would like to take advantage of the speed, extra storage and the super high refresh rate screen, then it doesn’t get any better than the iPad Pro.