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First impressions: The iPad Pro is 'wicked fast'

Michael deAgonia | Nov. 16, 2015
Using Apple's new tablet is a joy; the hard part is actually getting the one you need

In the box, the iPad Pro comes with the bare essentials: the tablet itself, a longer than normal Lightning-to-USB cable, and a USB power adapter.

When taking the iPad Pro out of the box, my first impressions were like virtually everyone else who's gotten one: Wow -- that's a big iPad.

Thankfully, it doesn't weigh as much as you'd think; at just over a pound-and-a-half, it weighs as much as the first-generation iPad from 2010. But that first iPad only had a 9.7-in., 1024-x-768-pixel display, much slower internal hardware, no camera, and it was a half-inch thick.

By comparison, the latest device measures 12 inches x 8.68 inches and it's 0.27 inches thick. For its size, the iPad Pro feels light, but at 1.57 pounds (1.59 pounds for the Wi-Fi/LTE model), you're definitely looking at wrist fatigue with extended use if you're carrying it around in one hand.

So far, that's not how I've found myself using it; without realizing it, I've been using the iPad Pro on my lap, like a little touchscreen table. This tablet -- with a processor that's as fast as some late-model laptops -- is turning out to be the perfect laptop computer in a very literal sense.

Speed you can see

iPad home screen
Michael deAgonia Despite its larger size, the iPad Pro home screen shows the same app layout grid as its smaller siblings.

The iPad Pro feels really fast. It zips through the interface, loading apps and data quickly. Powered by that custom-designed Apple A9X chipset, the iPad Pro out-performs the 12-in. MacBook in CPU benchmark scores, and is faster than the current MacBook Pro with Intel's Iris 5200 integrated graphics in GPU benchmarks.

I'm impressed by the speed, which makes iOS 9 more fluid than I've ever seen it before on a tablet. (I also have an iPad Air 2, and iOS 9 is no slouch on it.)

Big sound to match the big screen

Also impressive: The sound the iPad Pro puts out. Apple etched the speaker housings as part of the unibody enclosure, and placed speakers on all four corners. The iPad is programmed to be aware of its orientation, and at any angle the topmost speakers are dedicated to producing higher frequencies, with the speakers on the lower side pushing more bass. The result is an iPad that truly sounds amazing.

At one point during my quick round of early testing, I reached for the Apple TV remote to lower the volume of my living room entertainment system. Except the entertainment system wasn't on; the iPad Pro was producing the loud audio. I'm not saying it's a substitute for a surround sound system, but the sound quality is so good that for a split second, I was fooled into thinking the music couldn't be coming from the iPad.

 

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