2020 iPad Pro | Hands-on Review

2020 iPad Pro

Apple’s new tagline for the 2020 iPad Pro says, “Your next computer is not a computer.” And considering that the new iPad Pro comes with full mouse and trackpad support, they might be right. I’ve always considered my iPad Pro to be a worthy replacement for a laptop. But with the 2020 iPad Pro there’s a lot more to offer. Let’s just say i was satisfied with my iPad Pro until I got my hands on this model!

Specifications

The 2020 iPad Pro, specs-wise, is pretty much the same as its predecessor. It comes in the same 11” and 12.9” sizes. Which feature the same displays as before, but didn’t really need an upgrade anyway.

SPECS AT A GLANCE: 2020 APPLE IPAD PRO
SCREEN2,388×1,668 11-inch or 2,732×2,048 (264 PPI) touchscreen
OSiOS 13.4
CPUApple A12Z CPU
RAM6GB
GPUApple A12Z GPU
STORAGE128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
NETWORKINGWi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, GPS, LTE
CAMERA12MP and 10MP rear cameras, lidar ToF sensor, 7MP front camera
PORTSUSB-C
SIZE9.74”×7.02”×0.23” (280.6×214.9×5.9mm) for the 11-inch; 11.04”×8.46”×0.23” (280.6×214.9×5.9mm) for the 12.9
WEIGHT1.03 pounds (469g) Wi-Fi, 1.05 pounds (477g) with cellular
BATTERY LIFE28.65WHr for the 11-inch; 36.71 for the 12.9
STARTING PRICE$799, plus $179 for the Smart Keyboard Folio and/or $129 for the Apple Pencil
PRICE AS REVIEWED$1,649
OTHER PERKSCharger, USB-C cable
2020 iPad Pro and iPhone 11

The New iPad Pro

There’s still a TrueDepth sensor array and a 7MP FaceTime camera on the front. The iPad Pro still uses USB-C as its only physical port, and the headphone jack is still gone. All things that iPad users have come to expect. (Who really uses their iPad Pro for filming anyway?)

There are some differences, though.

For audio, We have four speakers, Just like before and a set of 5 new and improved microphones. The iPad Pro’s internal sensors detect the orientation and reconfigure which speakers are being used accordingly.

It comes with 6GB of RAM and although the base configuration of the 2018 iPad Pro came with only 64GB of storage, it’s Doubled up this time to 128GB. The rest of the storage options remain the same: 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB.

It also features the U1 Ultra-Wideband chip that is in the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. As of right now, its’s not that useful, but Apple clearly are planning some big AR moves in the future. They also have support for Wi-Fi 6 standard which, of course, is faster and more reliable for connections.

A12Z

The new iPad Pro also comes with the new A12Z chip. This is quite similar to the old chip but it’s faster. I would’ve personally preferred to see the A13 Bionic chip here, but perhaps it’s unnecessary, like attaching a V8 engine to a lawnmower! The A12Z also has an 8-core GPU as well as an 8-core CPU with 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores.

The rear camera array

One of the main changes, but possibly the least relevant, is in the rear camera and sensor array. This is all great, but how often do you film on your iPad Pro? Maybe it’s just me, maybe there’s people out there, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone do that.

Maybe things will change now as there’s a now a 10mp Ultra-wide angle lens. As you can tell from the design, it’s based off of the ultra-wide angle lens on the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. If you’re unfamiliar with this, it allows you to effectively zoom out. It works great for both impressive landscapes and super close-ups (especially on pets!). Again, not necessary to include it on the iPad Pro, but I guess it’s there if you need it.

Bowser

There is, however, a new feature that is going to change things in the future, even though it’ll be something you’ll easily forget about now and that’s the LiDAR Scanner. This is a sensor that can determine how long it takes for light to bounce back to this sensor. Therefore, calculating the distance and can make a 3D scan of a room or anywhere. There’s been plenty of talk about this before and is bringing us one step into the future of some seriously crazy tech.

Crack-pot theories aside, this is going to help massively for Augmented Reality functions and it’s no secret that Apple are the front runners for this. This is the same kind of sensor that you’d find inside a driverless car. If you think about the possibilities with decent AR technology, there’s no end to what can be developed. We’re still miles away from anything yet though as it tends to heat up your device pretty quickly, but sometimes, it’s good to dream!

Camera

The 2020 iPad Pro is starting out at a whopping $799 which, I think is reasonable. But maybe not in this current economic climate. As already said, the base 11” model comes with twice the storage of it’s predecessor. And, depending on what options you choose, Can end up costing up to $1,649. For an iPad, that sounds expensive. But for a laptop, that’s reasonable. And with the new stand it’s definitely worthy of being in the laptop category.

Design

Apart from the new camera, there isn’t much that has changed, design-wise. Giving that iPhone 11 feel to it’s design without all the flashy colors. The 2020 iPad Pro has two lenses, as mentioned earlier, with an extra space for the LiDAR sensor. We wouldn’t expect drastic changes though as most upgrades tend to have subtle differences.

Magic Keyboard

Peripherals

This tablet is as much defined by its peripherals as by anything else, and the two key ones to consider right now are the Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard.

Now, I’m sure you all know how I feel about the Apple Pencil by now. It’s been an effective and important tool for my work every single day. The same can be said about my Smart Keyboard. But I guess I talk less about it as, well, it’s just a keyboard. I am aware that others are not happy with it, but for me it works just fine.

For those not happy with it, fear not. There’s a new, but pricey Magic Keyboard. The Magic Keyboard is the same one that’s featured in the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. If you are not a fan of the old butterfly design and would rather splash out $299, then the Magic Keyboard is for you! Bearing in mind that this is also a pretty decent stand that you can easily detach your iPad from. It does also include a built-in trackpad too, but I’m biased and a loyal Smart Keyboard user I just feel it’s something easier to transport.

Trackpad and Mouse Support

As previously mentioned, Trackpad and mouse support is here. But actually, it’s been here for a while on previous models, even support with third-party trackpads. And soon there will even be that support for older models too. So, don’t be seduced by this feature as it’s not unique only to this model.

New TrackPad Gestures

Using a TrackPad on an iPad is nice, but it takes a little getting used to. This isn’t a carbon copy of what you have on your Mac. If you were a PC user who transferred over to Mac (just like me) then you will know the annoyance at first. You know what you want to do, but not how to do it. But then as time goes on, you get used to the new gestures and realize that it’s actually a lot simpler and easier to use. This is the same feeling with the new TrackPad gestures.

You don’t have the same freedom that you’d have with a regular mouse. When the pointer gets close to an icon, it locks into place which seems annoying at first, until you get used to it. To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of using a TrackPad on an iPad. I can see how others will benefit from it, but I would rarely need one.

At the end of the day, for most people, having a TrackPad would clearly help them to work more efficiently. But as a regular must-have item, I think you’ll find that you use it less than you’d think.

Performance

Performance hasn’t been an issue for iPads for a long time. The A12Z does what you’d expect it to do with, perhaps a graphics upgrade on certain games. If anything, it will help the 2020 iPad Pro keep up with new models of iPhones and iPads within the coming years. If you think about it, the 2018 iPad Pro is still relevant today and still a worthy device to get your hands on.

Software and applications

For the last 6 months, iPadOS has been the latest operating system for all iPads. It’s made a huge impact on how we use them, making iPads more productive as well. Not only that, but we’ve also received more multitasking options to have two apps open side by side as well as a bunch of widgets and tools on the home screen, making shortcuts a lot more easy to access.

There are still some Application support issues with iPadOS, but in general, they’re doing a good job. We’re still waiting to see certain creativity apps getting a fuller version on the iPad like Final Cut, for example, but perhaps these new cameras may affect that and we hope to see some upgrades soon.

Even so, iPadOS is nothing to scoff at. It’s given us a refreshing new way to use an iPad and I think everyone can agree it’s for the better. We’re also in the early stages, so who knows what the future will hold!

The Verdict

Overall, the 2020 iPad Pro is a great device, I would go as far as to say the best on the market. It has excellent CPU and GPU performance, better cameras and nice TrackPad features. The price is steep, but what’s new? If you find the price to be too high for you, the 2018 iPad Pro is for you, but you’ll probably make the upgrade a couple of years down the line anyway.