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iPad Pro review: Why the best iPad yet won't work for everyone

Susie Ochs | Nov. 26, 2015
The iPad Pro won't replace my iPhone or my Mac, but it provides a mostly great experience, thanks in large part to the Pencil.

It’s still the best iPad ever

One of the things I like best about the iPad Pro is that while it isn’t as capable a work machine as my Mac, it’s a way better iPad than my Mac. No, really—for all the iOS creep into Mac (from iBooks to Maps to Launchpad to swipe gestures), the iPad is still better at a slew of tasks that my brain has firmly categorized as “mobile” since iOS does them so well.

ipad pro and ipad air 2
Ken Mingis After using the iPad Pro for a week, the iPad Air 2 didn’t suddenly seem like a tiny child’s plaything—9.7 inches is still a respectable size. 

As I set up my iPad Pro, I first took a look at the Applications folder on my Mac, so I could grab equivalent iOS App Store offerings like Slack, Byword, Pixelmator, Tweetbot, and Things. But then I took a look at my iPhone home screens, so I’d remember to grab my favorites from the mobile side, such as Kindle, My Fitness Pal, Spotify, and Pocket Casts. It was cool to be able to log a snack or take a quick Instapaper break, and then get back to my writing and editing work, without having to switch devices. And I loved listening to podcasts or music while writing full-screen, then just swiping up to Control Center for the playback buttons, always handy but tucked neatly out of sight.

Still, everything in the paragraph above is just as possible on the smaller iPads than the nice, big, roomy iPad Pro. Apps on the Pro launch faster, which makes Split View feel more fluid, since you’re switching apps and flipping back and forth in a blink. But aside from Pencil support and overall speed, I’m hard-pressed to name a task I can do better on the iPad Pro than on the smaller (and more reasonably priced) iPads in the lineup.

It’s light in my bag, but big on my lap

Big as it is, the iPad Pro feels a lot lighter in my shoulder bag than the 13-inch MacBook Air I typically carry. Even with the Smart Keyboard, which bulks the iPad Pro up to 2.3 pounds, it’s a noticeable change from my 2.9-pound, 13-inch MacBook Air. When working at a table, the iPad Pro doesn’t feel too large, but when I curl up in bed to watch Netflix or read Kindle books on it, it starts to feel a little unwieldy—I want to prop it up on pillows way on the other side of the bed, or I feel like I’m watching movies too close to the screen.

 

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