Each year when a new tablet comes, I see that the tablets are coming one step closer to manage a normal user’s day-to-day activity. But, after using the M1 iPad Pro 12.9″, I believe tablets will replace a professional’s laptop as well.
Two main problems a tablet had to fully compete with a laptop are the operating system and the processor. In 2019, Apple launched the iPad OS to bridge the tablet and computer interface. Apple’s transition to its very own silicon chipset has given it more power to make a solid platform on which developers can create apps that are compatible with both tablets and computers. Now that the two main problems tablets had been rectified, soon iPads will compete with the laptops.
Wondering what makes the M1 iPad Pro 2021 so special? That’s what we’re going to see in this review.
Apple’s retina screens always deliver an incredible visual experience. In the 11-inch model, you get the regular LED liquid retina display that we are used to, but the 12.9-inch model uses the new Mini-LED display which has 10,000 mini LED arrays. The display uses a 2D backlit technology and 2596 full‑array local dimming zones.
If you are into TV screen technology or a TV nerd like me, you would already know the quality of Mini-LED display and might have seen in TVs like TCL 8 series and TCL 6 series.
Mini-LED technology is right in between the top OLED technology and the regular LED display technology. What happens in Mini-LED is smaller light-emitting diodes are densely packed and allow you to have more dimming zones. As a result, you get a close to pixel level illumination and higher contrast (1,000,000:1 contrast ratio in iPad Pro 12.9-inch). Still, Mini-LEDs are not equal to OLED’s picture quality, but the black levels are a lot better when compared to other display technologies.
The only problem with Mini-LED is there is a little bit of pixel blooming, especially in the dark scenes and dark mode web pages/apps. The blooming effect is so mild that we won’t recognize a lot in day-to-day usage.
We don’t speak a lot about cameras on iPads because taking photos with an iPad feels a little awkward even though it has a brilliant camera.
You get the same 12MP primary camera and 10MP ultra-wide camera systems in both 12.9-inch and 11-inch models. The front camera is the one that has an exciting feature this time — the Centre stage.
In Centre stage, the front camera automatically finds the subject and zooms & pans the camera as the person moves. As most of us use iPads to make quick video calls, the Centre Stage feature will be a welcoming addition for many users. I also mentioned in my M1 iMac review that I would like to see the Centre stage on the iMac as well because it works so well.
iPads always have turbocharged versions of the A-series chip that we see in the iPhones. This time around, Apple has put its Mac chips into the iPad.
As we all know, M1 is faster, and at present, no processor is close to its computational power and power efficiency. By putting the M1 chip into the iPad Pro, Apple achieved 50% more CPU and 40% more GPU than last year’s iPad Pro.
If you are a creative artist who uses iPad Pro a lot for creating vector arts, graphic designing, and stuff similar to that, you will be amazed. The M1 chip and the Mini-LED display with a high refresh rate combo will deliver a jaw-dropping experience. Colors look more natural on this display, and you can create precise results like you would do on high-res monitors.
When performance and GPU power are excellent, the ultimate question we get in our mind is, “How good is gaming?”. Gaming will be great on this iPad Pro, especially high-graphics games with HDR content will look stunning. To make the gaming experience even more engaging, Apple has given support to the latest PS5 and Xbox controller right out of the box.
Apart from the M1 chip, what makes the iPad Pro really awesome is now you get 16GB RAM in the iPad Pros with higher storage like 1TB and 2TB. An 8GB RAM will be given on the 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB storage versions. Apple isn’t the type that puts lots of RAM unless it is necessary. If Apple puts this much power into its iPad Pro lineup, a part of me believed that something big is waiting in the future.
Apple has added a thunderbolt port in the 2021 iPad pro so that you can make data transfer up to 40GBps with a wired connection. Sounds good, BUT it has its own limitations. You can connect the iPad to a monitor, BUT you don’t get the content in full screen; you get the iPad’s screen on the monitor. You can connect your iPad to an audio dock, BUT you can’t control the audio, and you can neither switch the sound to the iPad.
As you can see, there are lots of BUTs now with external connectivity. There might be some update or information to the external connectivity in the WWDC event next month, and I will be covering it, so make sure you subscribe to the blog.
Should You Buy M1 iPad Pro?
Let me make one thing clear first, this can’t be your primary computer. As I said above, you have lots of limitations. Yes, Apple is restructuring the iPad experience in a way, but the changes are slow and steady. So, if you are in the market to buy a laptop, go for a laptop like MacBook Air.
A 12.9-inch iPad Pro with 256GB storage and a magic keyboard will cost you nearly $1548. At the same time, the same spec MacBook Air costs only $999, and it also uses the M1 chip.
People looking for a powerful secondary computer and want a device to conveniently consume content can go for the M1 iPad Pro. You get a beautiful Mini-LED display in a 12.9-inch model for the premium price tag in which HDR content and movies look fantastic. The intelligent front camera and a good pair of speakers make this year’s iPad Pro a good deal for your money.