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Technology

Apple iPad Pro 2020 Review

The new iPad Pro 2020 is another impressive tablet – but so were the models from 2018. Those devices were powerful, capable and had a multitude of improvements to the technology, and the latest iPad Pro has all of that too; however, apart from a small upgrade in terms of power, new camera tech that has few uses right now, and a few new features that will be rolled out to the older models too, it doesn’t feel like a massive update. Keep reading on for Apple iPad Pro 2020 review.

Apple iPad Pro 2020 Review

Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2020) review: Laptop replacement?

Price and competition

As usual, there are two sizes of iPad Pro in the 2020 lineup: the 11.9in tablet and the 12.9in model I was sent for review. The 11.9in starts at £769 and the 12.9in starts at £969. Both starter models come with 128GB of non-expandable storage.

If that isn’t enough storage for you, then you can up it to 256GB, 512GB or 1TB, with prices maxing out at £1,269 for the 11.9in iPad Pro and £1,469 for the 12.9in model. Adding 4G cellular connectivity boosts the price by a further £150.

Design, display and speakers

As you can probably guess, the new iPad Pro 2020 is almost identical, visually, to the iPad Pro 2018 – it shares the same industrial design and wider screen, with narrower bezels.

It’s still not a design we’re in love with, on account of the harder edges lacking the sleek lines of the standard iPad 10.2, but there’s the same comforting weight and aluminum chassis that make you feel like you’re getting a tablet worth the money.

The four speakers around the outside offer strong sound and good bass – they’re not industrial class, but as a tablet to watch movies on, or play music around the house, we really feel it can rival a dedicated portable speaker.

The display, which we tested at 12.9 inches, is identical to that of the iPad Pro in 2018 – that means the same TrueTone technology, 120Hz fluid-scrolling display, and high-resolution pixel sharpness.

Cutting through the tech specs, this TrueTone display is able to reproduce the color quality of the light around you to make viewing more comfortable on the eyes, while the fluid scrolling makes navigating the tablet, and browsing websites and social media feeds, feel that much slicker.

However, it’s still lacking HDR playback, a feature that would really make the tablet sing in terms of movie watching – it would be a key upgrade, but it’s one that Apple hasn’t seen fit to bring in just yet.

Magic Keyboard

Hands on: iPad Pro 2020 review | TechRadar

The Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro 2020 is a huge upgrade over the older $199 Smart Keyboard Folio accessory, but it’s also a lot more expensive at $349. (The Magic Keyboard for the 11-inch iPad Pro is $299.) What do you get for that high price?

Our iPad Pro Magic Keyboard review explains that while this accessory helps make the iPad Pro more like a real laptop — an excellent keyboard and a touchpad help — there are asterisks.

Not only is it expensive, but docking it with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro brings its weight to nearly 3 pounds (the 13-inch MacBook Pro is 3.1 pounds) and the 11-inch iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard combine to 2.3 pounds, which is a half pound away from the MacBook Air.

The keyboard really stands out because its clicky keys provide a better feel and stronger feedback than the fabric-textured keys on the Smart Keyboard Folio. The Magic Keyboard uses the same scissor-style mechanism as found on the MacBook Air 2020 and 16-inch MacBook Pro.

We just wish its touchpad had a gesture for activating the dock and that third-party apps could catch up to Apple.

Performance

The iPad Pro 2020 includes a new A12Z Bionic processor that offers an 8-core CPU and a new 8-core GPU that’s designed to provide a big boost in graphics performance.

On Geekbench 5, which measures overall performance, the iPad Pro 12.9 scored 4,720 on the multi-core portion and 1,126 on the single-core test. That’s a mild improvement over the last iPad Pro with the A12X Bionic chip, which turned in respective scores of 4,635 and 1,114.

By comparison, the Surface Pro 7 scored a lower 4,443 on the multi-score Geekbench 5 test and a higher 1,241 on single core, and that’s with a 10th gen Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM. The Surface Pro X, which has an ARM-powered Microsoft SQ1 chip, couldn’t run Geekbench 5.

You should expect fast real-world performance as well. The iPad Pro took only 34 seconds to export a 4K video to 1080p after applying a color filter and transition in the Adobe Rush app. The iPhone 11 Pro needed 46 seconds to complete the same task.

The iPad Pro does deliver more graphics muscle via the A12Z Bionic. On the BaseMark GPU test, the new iPad Pro scored 21,009, compared to 19,588 for the previous version.