iPad Pro 2021 Review

iPad Pro 2021 Review
Using the iPad Pro 2021 Review with an M1 processor is like reading the first half of a good book. There may be excellent chapters, others less interesting, but ultimately you know that for everything to make sense, the second half of that story that you are enjoying so much is missing.

I am a strong advocate of the iPad as a substitute for a conventional computer. It was even before the arrival of the iPad Pro family. For years I have worked with iPads exclusively for long periods of time. Nowadays, for many use cases, I consider that it is not only sufficient but it can be the ideal device.

Over time, Apple has smoothed out many of the rough edges that made it somewhat uncomfortable at first. Last year, for example, the arrival of mouse support and the launch of a backlit keyboard sealed two of the big drawbacks that I still ran into in my regular workflow.

Read more: Apple Steps On The Accelerator

And yet, after using this new iPad Pro, I feel like the big picture hasn't changed. It is a great tablet, it is an almost "magical" device - as Apple's marketing department would say - but it has so much power and features that it practically cries out for better apps. It also asks for small solutions to limitations that only affect a very particular niche of users, but which, if solved, would open the doors to new creative uses.

I'm sure that second part of the story will be told in a few weeks, within the framework of the WWDC developer conference, but, until then, this is what you will find if you decide to get a next generation iPad Pro. Spolier alert : he is a beast.

iPad Pro 2021 Review
This is the first iPad to make the leap to the family of processors now used by Macs. At the outset, it must be said that this is less surprising than it seems because the new Mac processors are based precisely on those used by the iPhone and iPads so far.

Still, the jump in power from the previous A12Z Bionic to this M1 is not small. Apple claims that it is around 50% more powerful in computing speed and 40% more powerful in graphics. In reality, the iPad Pro of 2020 or even that of 2019 has never felt very limited in power, quite the opposite. To notice it, therefore, you have to go to very intensive workflows such as, for example, editing a 4K video from several clips of the same resolution as a source.

There are some added benefits to the jump to the new processor. For starters, iPads have more RAM. 8 GB in the basic configurations and 16 GB in the models with 1 or 2 TB of disk. This increase in RAM is the first clue that something big is brewing in Cupertino.

I think it is worth insisting on it. The M1 is a fantastic processor. It is in the MacBook Air, it is in the new iMac and it is also in this iPad Pro. It is incredible to think the power that this tablet has of 470 grams (in the case of the 11-inch model) or 685 grams (in the case of the 11-inch model). 12.9-inch model case).

Despite the increase in power, the iPad continues to have an outstanding autonomy, of about 10 hours of continuous use browsing the web, somewhat less when playing a graphics-intensive game or using apps that require high graphic or computing power.

But let's go to the second important point: the screen. The iPad Pro from 2021 debuts in the 12.9-inch model - the one I have tested - a new screen technology that Apple has dubbed Liquid Retina XDR and that is based on the so-called miniLEDs (the 11 model continues to use the Liquid Retina display from previous years).

MiniLED displays use, as the name implies, a matrix of small LEDs in the backlighting system that allows certain areas of the image to be selectively turned off when displaying black. Thanks to this, it is possible to increase the general contrast of the image considerably.

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Many TVs today have zone backlighting systems, but with MicroLED the number of areas that can be turned off and on increases considerably. In the case of the iPad Pro, for example, there are almost 2,600 zones. To buy, a high-end next-generation television, unless it is OLED, has around 500 or 800 and they cannot always be turned off completely.

The result is that the effective contrast of the new iPad Pro is 1,000,000: 1 and the brightness in certain scenes can reach 1600 nits (the base maximum brightness is around 600 bits for both iPad models). The result can be clearly seen in movies and photos, especially if they are HDR ready. Seeing, for example, the scenes that take place on the moon from the For All Mankind series is a delight.

As a curiosity, I will say you can better appreciate the work that microLEDs do in some very specific cases. One of the things that bothered me about using a large iPad Pro is that it is not the ideal device to read an e-book at night. Even at the lowest brightness level and night mode on, the amount of light emitted by the backlight was high.

With microLED, however, the residual brightness is infinitely lower, and if you lower the brightness to the maximum and the room is very dark, you can even see the areas of the screen that are completely off when there are no letters nearby.

In general, and after a week of testing, I am very surprised with this screen, and that the one on previous iPads was not bad at all. The only aspect that has not thrilled me is that at the edges there is a very slight loss of gloss, which I do not know if it is due to the new laminating process or the backlighting system. It is something that can only be appreciated with white background content, such as web pages, but it tarnishes a rendering that is otherwise certainly a step in the right direction.

The next big change on the new iPad Pro is in the front camera, which now has 12 megapixels and a 122-degree field of view. A new technology, called Center Stage, automatically reframes the user during video conferencing, even when moving around the room.

The main utility of this function is appreciated when making video calls when we are moving around the room, such as in the kitchen. It gives the feeling that a camera operator follows us at all times to keep us in the frame. If someone else gets close, zoom in so that both of you appear in the picture.

It works well with all the video conferencing applications that I have tried (FaceTime and Teams, mainly) and the movement is fluid, but it is only intended to detect faces, it does not work with objects.

The iPad Pro now also has support for Thunderbolt accessories. This means that faster external disk drives or faster Ethernet adapters can be connected. The iPad can even now move an external 6K resolution display but, this is important, the external monitor support is still just as limited as in previous models. What is shown on the external screen depends on the app, but in many cases it is a mirror image of what happens on the iPad screen, with the same format.

This is one of the things that I hope will change in the next versions of iPadOS, along with the arrival of professional Apple applications such as Logic or Final Cut, to the platform.

Finally, the model with cellular connection is now compatible with 5G networks, such as the iPhone.

Otherwise, the performance is identical to the 2020 model. There is a 12 mpx wide angle camera, a 10 mpx ultra wide angle camera and a LiDAR module to give more precision to augmented reality applications.

For artists, the iPad Pro continues to use the same version of Apple Pencil, and previous-generation accessories are still compatible. Apple says that the Magic Keyboard on the 2020 model may give a problem because the tablet is 0.5mm. thicker, but in my tests I have not noticed that it fits badly or of any problem.

The iPad Pro goes on sale this Friday. The price of the 11-inch model starts at 879 euros ($1070.50) for the WiFi version with 128 GB of storage space. The 12.9-inch model, with the new screen, starts at 1,199 euros ($1460.21) with 128 GB. Price does not include Magic Keyboard or Apple Pencil, which are sold separately.

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