iPad Pro Review

Price: $729.99 + See it on Amazon

The Pro comes in two sizes. 11 inch and the 12.9 inch. I’m reviewing the 12.9. Setting it next to the old model it’s smaller, or at least the overall footprint is smaller, the screen is the same size but without the home button and with smaller bezels the over design is more compact.

It’s also now sporting a USB-c port for charging and plugging in stuff. And don't forget the A12X processor which they tell me is a monster. It sounds impressive. And this iPad is powerful.

This is all to say it runs everything that you can run on an iPad and it’s going to run it really well for a long time.

The new design looks slick. I’m a big fan of the flat edges. I liked the iPhone 4 and 5 designs like this, looks really good on on something this big. One thing I was worried about going in was the camera bump. Because when drawing you want this to lay flat, I didn’t want it to be tippy. Probably because it’s so large.

I also picked up the basic case. It has an opening for the camera bump and lets it lay flush. It also connects via magnets, it’s a really slick case.

The other major upgrade is the Apple pencil. It feels and performs as well as it always has. Apple doesn’t release specs on things like pressure sensitivity for this which is all good by me , those metrics don’t really tell the full story of how good or bad a stylus is.

The good news here is that drawing with the APple pencil is great. It feels smooth and responsive. The pressure curve feels good, there are no weird quirks. I draw a lot of ink lines so I’m looking for things like smooth lines with no jitter, good beginning and end points to fast hatch lines, being able to hold a pressure level consistently and the Apple pencil passes those test with flying colors.

The price for this little guy went up another $30 which is unfortunate.

The one thing I didn’t like about the old pencil has been fixed here. Charging. The pencil used to chard like a really wobbly selfie stick. But now the charging is wireless by magnetically attaching to the side of the iPad.

THIS *CLAP* IS *CLAP* AWESOME *CLAP* If there is one reason to consider upgrading to the new iPad Pro and pencil this is the one.

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve sat down to draw and have gotten the dreaded dead pencil message. I only charged when I had to because I was always worried about setting it somewhere and it breaking by someone setting something on it or even bumping the table. Now it just charges when you’re not using it. So so so nice.

The pencil now has a matte finish and a hidden little piece of functionality. If you double tap anywhere between here and here it acts like a button press. Like in Procreate it switches between the brush and the eraser.

I like this because the hit area is big, it works on any side of the pencil and since it’s a double tap I haven’t had any false positives. Apple has again taken a feature that’s on most styluses and made it better.

The downside other than the price is that it only works on these new iPad Pros and the old pencil doesn’t work on these new devices. That second part is a real bummer and doesn’t makes sense, Obviously you would now need a dongle to charge but still sometimes Apple feels like it’s price gouging because they can and this is a perfect example of that.

Also you don’t have a headphone jack. A single tear rolls down my cheek.

It’s the question parrot!!!

Today’s question: There are a ton of iPad styluses out there, which one is as good as the Apple pencil?

None of them, they are all trash. Yes, even the ones that claim to have all the features. You’re just going to have to trust me on this one. I’m sorry to be the bearer of this bad news but my days of reviewing bad iPad styluses with palm rejection that only works half the time or questionable accuracy or pressure sensitivity that kicks in two seconds after you press on it are over.

Apple doesn’t let other stylus makers use the tech in the iPad to make competing pencils, the one exception being the logitech crayon, but that doesn’t work on this new iPad.

I’m sorry, I really am.

Pros and Cons

I think most of what I covered here are pros. I love drawing on this iPad. And there are so many little features that I didn’t even cover.

Cool little features to rattle off:

I like how it wakes up whn you tap it. The audio is great. They now have speakers on the top and bottom. Outside of the homepod these might be the best speakers Apple makes. Face ID has been working great, even in the dark. It has a really high refresh rate so animations and drawing in general is really smooth.

But are their any negatives? Are there any cons? Yeah, there are. But not many. From time to time I do miss the physical button. You have to remember more hand gestures. I think this is something that will become more natural over time.

The one that I do wrong the most is sliding up from the bottom. It can close you app, it can bring up your tray and it can bring up your recently used apps. About half the time it doesn’t do what I intend it to do, I either pull a touch to high to open my tray and it closes the app, or if I go to close the app it shows me all my apps. I’m hoping with familiarity I learn to adjust and get this action right more often than wrong.

A lot of apps aren’t optimized for this screen yet and there are black bars along the side, top and bottom making the tiny bezles look a lot bigger in most apps.

Con 2: I don’t see a huge performance jump going from my first gen iPad Pro, which is now 3 years old and this. Or even the standard ipad I reviewed earlier this year. I have these amazing specs but I don’t feel them.

It’s like buying a Testla and not having any roads to drive it on.

Con three: It’s not a PC replacement. Uuuuugggg. I’m more than a little tired of this argument. But I feel like I need to address it, for creatives, the iPad is a companion device. It’s your mobile sketch pad that lets you do work on the go. Will it ever replace your desktop… ehhh… maybe... maybe not.

And every single illustrator and creative profesional I know understands that. It’s really only tech reviewers who can’t seem to wrap their head around it.

The iPad Pro has really grown up in the last 3 years, mostly because of the app ecosystem. Procreate has emerged as one of the most fun drawing and painting app to use on any platform and with every update it keeps getting better, they just added clipping mask and quick shapes.

Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer are mwhaaaa. Just so good. You have the power of the desktop apps but with an interface designed for the iPad.

And next year we’re getting Photoshop, like real Photoshop. I don’t expect it to be anywhere near feature complete on release but it sounds like Adobe plans on cranking out a lot of updates to get it there.

And I haven't had time to mentioned Clip Studio, and Astropad and it goes on and on.

Going in between the desktop and the iPad used to be painful but a lot of apps have figured that out, with iCloud/dropbox/Google Drive integration it’s really seamless. What I save in Affinity Designer is right there, on my desktop within seconds.

So no, it’s not a laptop replacement, at least for creatives but it’s a dang good companion for them.

The Conclusion

Is it worth investing in something like this over the much cheaper standard iPad or even an older iPad Pro. Yes and no, it depends on a lot of factors. That could be a video in and of itself, if you’re interested in me going deeper into the differences in another video let me know in the comments.

A laptop replacement? Nope, you’re still going to want a computer. A good art tool, ABSOLUTELY, I love drawing on the iPad, it might be my favorite thing to draw on.

Is it worth the price? For me, yes it is. It’s little brother the new 2018 iPad is really nice, and it works with the old apple pencil is great if you’re on a budget then you can save a lot of money going that route. But the larger screen is great to have, the quality of the screen is great to have, the better refresh rate. The recharging of the pencil. These are real quality of life improvements. You don't need them but they are really great to have if you can afford it.

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