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Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2018, LTE, 256 GB) Tablet Review

Daniel Schmidt, 👁 Daniel Schmidt (translated by Alex Alderson), 11/21/2018

Strong and expensive. The release of the third generation of Apple’s huge tablet has coincided with a complete redesign that shares more design cues with the new iPhone XS series than classic iPhones. Apple has equipped its most-expensive tablet with its most-powerful ARM SoC, Face ID, high volume storage options, support for a new Apple Pencil and much more, including a massive mark-up in price.

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The third generation of the iPad Pro has had a makeover. The thick bezels and the home button that adorned all previous models have gone and have been replaced by a rounded display that has a much higher screen-to-body ratio than all previous iPads. Inside, Apple has equipped the iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) with its new A12X Bionic SoC, which the company promises will provide unprecedented performance for a tablet and one which will put most notebooks to shame.

The storage options have been improved too. The new iPad Pro 12.9 now has up to 1 TB of storage, while maintaining the 64 GB, 256 GB and 512 GB options with which Apple equipped its predecessor. The new 1 TB version also comes with 6 GB RAM, which is 2 GB more than the other versions.

Apple has significantly increased the price of its new iPad Pro 12.9. The second generation started at $799 (£769) for the 64 GB Wi-Fi version, which rose to a maximum of $1,279 (£1,249) for the 512 GB LTE model. By contrast, the new iPad Pro 12.9 starts at $999 (£969), which rises to $1,899 (£1,869) for the 1 TB LTE version. That is a $200 mark-up for the base model. Apple charges $1,149 (£1,119) for the 256 GB model, $1,349 (£1,319) for the 512 GB version and US$1,749 (£1,719) for the 1 TB variant. Adding LTE costs an additional $150 (£150) for each storage option. Our test device is the 256 GB model with LTE.

Apple has a huge competitive advantage over its rivals; few other tablets exist that can challenge the iPad for the tablet experience that it offers. The most comparable tablets to the iPad Pro 12.9 are those that run Windows 10 on an x86 architecture, but Tablet mode on Windows 10 still feels unfinished compared to iOS. Hence, we have included convertibles like the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 in our comparison tables as all comparable ARM-powered Android tablets have smaller displays than Apple’s largest iPad. We have also chosen to compare Apple’s latest 12.9-inch tablet against the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 and the Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro because they both have an optional keyboard and pen.

Changelog:

  • 11.07.2018: First impressions and Display values added.
  • 11.09.2018: Communication, Performance and Speakers sections added, first battery life tests too, Display section expanded.
  • 11.14.2018: Connectivity, Software and Games sections added. Battery life table updated.
  • 11.15.2018: Display section finished. GPS, Cameras, Accessories and Input Devices sections added.
  • 11.15.2018 - II: Review completed.
  • 11.16.2018: Temperature section updated.
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018 (iPad Pro Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
4096 MB 
, LPDDR4x
Display
12.9 inch 4:3, 2732 x 2048 pixel 265 PPI, Capacitive touchscreen, IPS, True Tone Display, DCI-P3 colour space, oleophobic coating, 1.8% reflection coefficient, glossy: yes
Storage
256 GB NVMe, 256 GB 
, 246.2 GB free
Connections
1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, Audio Connections: USB Type-C, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: Face ID, 3-axis gyroscope, Accelerometer, Barometer, USB Type-C, QZSS, Galileo
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 5.0, GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850, 900, 1,800, 1,900 MHz. UMTS/HSPA+: 850, 900, 1,700/2,100, 1,900, 2,100 MHz. LTE Bands: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 46, 66., Dual SIM, LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 5.9 x 280.6 x 214.9 ( = 0.23 x 11.05 x 8.46 in)
Battery
36.71 Wh Lithium-Polymer, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 10 h
Operating System
Apple iOS 12
Camera
Primary Camera: 12 MPix (f/1.8, Smart HDR, UHD videos at up to 60 FPS)
Secondary Camera: 7 MPix (f/2.2, Smart HDR, Portrait mode, FHD videos at up to 60 FPS)
Additional features
Speakers: Four speakers, Keyboard: Virtual keyboard, USB Type-A to Type-C cable, Charger, Quick Start guide, Warranty information, 12 Months Warranty, eSIM & nano-SIM, five microphones, fanless
Weight
633 g ( = 22.33 oz / 1.4 pounds), Power Supply: 71 g ( = 2.5 oz / 0.16 pounds)
Price
1439 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

The iPad Pro 12.9 comes in either silver or space grey.
The iPad Pro 12.9 comes in either silver or space grey.

The first-generation iPad Pro 12.9 was already a comparatively slim device. However, Apple has somehow managed to shave another millimetre off and has made the new iPad Pro 12.9 only 5.9 mm thick. Our test device measures 5.95 mm thick, but the 0.5 mm difference is marginal. It is worth noting that the device will not lay flat though as its rear-facing camera housing protrudes by 2.45 mm from the case like a little volcano. The third-generation iPad Pro 12.9 also has strikingly more rounded and smaller bezels than its predecessors, the result of which means that it is more compact too.

In our opinion, the new iPad Pro 12.9 looks like a huge iPhone 5S or SE with a higher screen-to-body ratio. The recycled aluminium unibody not only looks great but also feels premium in the hand. We generally have no complaints about the craftsmanship of our test device either. The gaps between materials are consistently even and precise while the hardware buttons feel well made and sit firmly within the frame. The nano-SIM slot is made of the same aluminium as the frame too.

Applying firm pressure to the display makes the LCD distort slightly though, and the case is generally not as stiff as we would have liked. We can easily make the device creak by trying to twist it with our hands, which is not what we would have expected from such an expensive tablet.

Moreover, the iPad Pro 12.9 has no IP certification against dust and water, which is a shame as all new iPhones are at least IP67-resistant against dust and water. Apple currently sells the device in either silver or space grey.

The first-generation Apple iPad Pro 12 and the third-generation iPad Pro 12.9 from left to right
The first-generation Apple iPad Pro 12 and the third-generation iPad Pro 12.9 from left to right

Size Comparison

Connectivity

Not every USB Type-C to HDMI adapter works with the third-generation iPad Pro.
Not every USB Type-C to HDMI adapter works with the third-generation iPad Pro.

The third generation of the iPad Pro is a paradigm shift for Apple. The new models are the first mobile devices that Apple has not equipped with a proprietary port. The company has moved to a USB Type-C port that according to our tests is a USB 3.1 Gen. 1 port. The device can output video to external monitors with the correct cable. We say correct as not all USB Type-C to video output cables work with our test device. Our first attempt with a no-name cable failed miserably. The video output mirrored 1:1 but had a striking pink tint to it. We would recommend using an HDMI 2.0 cable that supports UHD at 60 Hz with HDR.

Our test device recognised external storage devices too, but not by using the USB On-The-Go (OTG) standard that Android devices typically utilise. The iPad Pro 12.9 recognises a USB stick, for example, but it cannot access its file structure. An automatic photo import starts instead, which then searches for media files. Worse still, the import process would not recognise RAW files or subdirectories. Our test device would not recognise any peripherals that were connected to USB hubs either.

Apple has released an Apple Pencil 2 for the new generation of iPad Pros and has also changed how the former charges. The new Pencil now sticks magnetically to the top edge of the iPad Pro when holding the device in landscape mode, during which it charges inductively.

It is a shame that Apple has removed the headphone jack though, which seems unnecessary given how large the device is and an odd decision since Apple markets the device as a laptop replacement. All laptops have headphone jacks. Users must settle for using an adapter or Bluetooth if they want to connect headphones. If you prefer listening over wired headphones, you will need an adapter that has an integrated DA converter.

Top side: speaker, microphone x 2, speaker, power button
Top side: speaker, microphone x 2, speaker, power button
Left-hand side: microphone
Left-hand side: microphone
Right-hand side: volume rocket, Pencil holder, SIM slot
Right-hand side: volume rocket, Pencil holder, SIM slot
Underside: speaker, USB Type-C port, speaker
Underside: speaker, USB Type-C port, speaker

Software

All third-generation iPad Pros ship with iOS 12.1 at the time of writing. The differences between iOS on an iPad and an iPhone are minimal. Please see our iPhone XS and XS Max reviews for more details on changes and improvements Apple has made with iOS 12.

Apple continues to call the iPad Pro a laptop replacement. The biggest drawback of the new iPad Pro 12.9 is software, which is the same gripe that we have had with the iPad Pro since its initial release. The frustrations start with the scary UI scaling of iOS 12 and in many apps. Moreover, the OS lacks basic file management, which puts iOS 12 at a disadvantage to desktop operating systems like Linux, Mac OS or Windows. Importing data is only possible through photo imports, iTunes or iCloud. Users will struggle to import a text document, video or any other file unless they are willing to adapt to iOS’ limitations. In short, iOS 12 lacks basic functionality that prevents it from rivalling a desktop OS concerning productivity.

The iPad Pro 12.9 can easily handle Office applications and writing emails though, but we would expect that from a device that starts at $799. Apple also demoed a fully fledged version of Adobe Photoshop for iOS during its recent keynote, but this is due for release sometime in 2019, so we could not test it at the time of writing.

iOS 12 lock screen on the new iPad Pro 12.9
iOS 12 lock screen on the new iPad Pro 12.9
iOS 12 home screen on the new iPad Pro 12.9
iOS 12 home screen on the new iPad Pro 12.9
Multi-tasking in iOS 12 on the new iPad Pro 12.9
Multi-tasking in iOS 12 on the new iPad Pro 12.9
Multi-tasking in iOS 12 on the new iPad Pro 12.9
Multi-tasking in iOS 12 on the new iPad Pro 12.9

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Communication & GPS

Our test device has Gigabit LTE and supports enough LTE frequencies for worldwide use. The new iPad Pro 12.9 even offers wider LTE coverage than the iPhone XS Max. 3G and GSM networks are equally well supported too. It is still not possible to make traditional calls on the new iPad Pro though, but you could make VoIP calls using Facebook and other comparable apps.

The LTE version continues to have a dedicated nano-SIM slot and an eSIM that is soldered to the Logic Board. More carriers sell tablet SIMs than those that support eSIMs, although the latter is activated with a QR code, so it easier and faster to switch to better providers should you wish to.

The new iPad Pro 12.9 supports all modern Wi-Fi standards up to IEEE 802.11 ac and can connect to 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz Wi-Fi networks. The Wi-Fi modem also uses a MIMO antenna for improved performance. Our test device achieved strong transmission speeds when tested with our Linksys EA8500 reference router and generally had good network range in daily use. We occasionally found that we had to change access points when connecting to mesh networks, but this is a minor gripe.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
A12X Bionic GPU, A12X Bionic, 256 GB NVMe
590 (min: 549, max: 608) MBit/s ∼100%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ128G
577 (min: 517, max: 605) MBit/s ∼98% -2%
Apple iPad 6 2018
A10 Fusion GPU, A10 Fusion, 32 GB NVMe
570 MBit/s ∼97% -3%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
A10X Fusion GPU, A10X Fusion, Toshiba THGBX669D4LLDXG 64 GB NAND
530 MBit/s ∼90% -10%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
Adreno 540, 835, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
290 MBit/s ∼49% -51%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
Mali-G71 MP8, Kirin 960, 64 GB eMMC Flash
236 MBit/s ∼40% -60%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
A12X Bionic GPU, A12X Bionic, 256 GB NVMe
643 (min: 596, max: 662) MBit/s ∼100%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
Adreno 540, 835, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
580 MBit/s ∼90% -10%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ128G
517 (min: 437, max: 572) MBit/s ∼80% -20%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
A10X Fusion GPU, A10X Fusion, Toshiba THGBX669D4LLDXG 64 GB NAND
514 MBit/s ∼80% -20%
Apple iPad 6 2018
A10 Fusion GPU, A10 Fusion, 32 GB NVMe
500 MBit/s ∼78% -22%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
Mali-G71 MP8, Kirin 960, 64 GB eMMC Flash
238 MBit/s ∼37% -63%
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620630640650660670Tooltip
; iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø590 (549-608)
; iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø643 (596-662)

The new iPad Pro 12.9 uses GPS, including A-GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and QZSS for location services. Apple continues to not support BeiDou though.  Our test device found a satellite fix quickly, irrespective of where we tested it.

We also took our test device on a bike ride to compare its navigation accuracy against a professional navigation device, the Garmin Edge 500. The iPad Pro 12.9 calculated a 120-metre (65.6 feet) longer route than the Garmin, which represents around a 99% accuracy overall. Our test device sometimes lacked the accuracy of the Garmin, but it is better than many other smartphones or tablets. The new iPad Pro 12.9 takes GPS readings comparatively often, as demonstrated by the pictures below. The iPad generally plotted more natural looking corners than the Garmin, which is impressive. Overall, the third-generation iPad Pro 12.9 would be accurate enough for most navigation tasks if it were not so unwieldy.

Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) - Overview
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) - Overview
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) – Cycling around a lake
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) – Cycling around a lake
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) - Loop
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) - Loop
Garmin Edge 500 - Overview
Garmin Edge 500 - Overview
Garmin Edge 500 - Cycling around a lake
Garmin Edge 500 - Cycling around a lake
Garmin Edge 500 - Loop
Garmin Edge 500 - Loop

Cameras

Taking a two-handed selfie in portrait mode with the iPad Pro 12.9
Taking a two-handed selfie in portrait mode with the iPad Pro 12.9

The third-generation iPad Pro 12.9 has almost identical cameras on paper to those of its predecessor. We cannot confirm this for the rear-facing camera, whereas we can for the front-facing camera. The latter is a 7 MP sensor that supports Apple’s latest camera features like Smart HDR and Portrait mode. Equally, the front-facing camera can shoot 1080p videos at up to 60 FPS. Overall, the front-facing camera does its job well and takes first-class selfies.

Unfortunately, the rear-facing camera cannot meet our expectations, especially as Apple has not used the same optics that it uses in its latest iPhones. The rear-facing camera takes detailed pictures in good light, while Smart HDR gives the pictures taken a high dynamic range. However, colours look dull in HDR shots compared to photos taken by the iPhone X, XR or XS.

Our third scene, which we took at 0.5 lux, reveals the limitations of the new iPad Pro 12.9’s rear-facing camera though. The resulting photo has noticeably more image noise and weaker colours than the equivalent shot taken with an iPhone X or an XS. The photo looks worse than those taken by the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 in our opinion too. We suspect that Apple is reusing a camera from an older iPhone, perhaps the iPhone 7.

The rear-facing camera can shoot UHD videos at up to 60 FPS. Apple has included the same camera options as it does with its new iPhones, but the videos pale in comparison to those shot with the iPhone X or XS. The five integrated microphones record decent-sounding audio though. 

Photo taken with the third-generation iPad Pro 12.9
Photo taken with the third-generation iPad Pro 12.9
Photo taken with the iPhone XS
Photo taken with the iPhone XS
Photo taken with the iPhone X
Photo taken with the iPhone X

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
ColorChecker: The lower half of each area of colour displays the reference colour
ColorChecker: The lower half of each area of colour displays the reference colour

We also subjected the new iPad Pro 12.9 to further camera tests under controlled lighting conditions with ColorChecker Passport. Photos taken in these conditions look too pale for our liking, while the white balance is quite warm. Overall, the camera reproduces colours accurately, although it captures green, dark brown and blue too lightly. 

Our test device captured our test chart well though. The resulting photo is detailed, although the edges of the image lack the same clarity as at the centre. Fonts against dark backgrounds fray slightly too. However, the photo turned out better than expected. 

A photo of our test chart
A photo of our test chart
Our test chart in detail

Accessories & Warranty

The third-generation iPad Pro 12.9 with the Apple Smart Keyboard
The third-generation iPad Pro 12.9 with the Apple Smart Keyboard
A look at the back of the Smart Keyboard with the Apple Pencil 2
A look at the back of the Smart Keyboard with the Apple Pencil 2

Apple includes a 1 metre (~ 3.3 feet) USB Type-C to Type-C cable and an 18 W charger (5 V/3 A, 9 V/2 A) in the box. Our test device also came with a warranty card, a SIM tool, a quick-start guide, and two Apple stickers.

The new iPad Pro 12.9 comes with a derisory 12 months manufacturer’s warranty, which is separate from any third-party supplier warranty. Apple continues to sell its AppleCare+, which extends the warranty coverage to two years. The warranty extension now costs $129 (£129) and provides two total loss repairs for a $49 (£39) excess fee. Users must pay a $29 (£25) fee if they break their Apple Pencil too.

Apple sells numerous accessories for the third-generation iPad Pro 12.9, including the Apple Pencil 2 ($129/£119) and the Smart Keyboard Folio ($199/£199). Even the accessories have become more expensive. Unfortunately, earlier versions of the keyboard and the Pencil will not work with the third-generation iPad Pros, nor will the new accessories work with previous generations. Users upgrading from a first- or second-generation iPad Pro cannot reuse their existing keyboard or pencil.

Input Devices & Operation

Our test device’s touchscreen reliably reproduced our inputs throughout testing, while the smooth glass makes it easy for us to slide our fingers across the display. We have seen people complain that some popular apps have not been optimised for the new display as they have a black border around them. Generally, these apps are those that are designed to be used with the iPad, so we suspect that this is by design. With that said, we would not be surprised if future updates address this issue.

The Apple Pencil 2 functions just as well as its predecessor. Notably, the Pencil 2 supports the same number of pressure levels as the first-generation Pencil. The pen works well in daily use and is accurate enough not only for writing but also for drawing or painting.

Apple has overhauled the Pencil’s ergonomics and design though. The Pencil 2 is shorter than its predecessor and now attaches magnetically to the side of the iPad Pro where it charges wirelessly. The Pencil 2 can also switch between functions if you double-tap it.

The default iOS 12 keyboard is largely unchanged from previous versions, but Apple has updated the Smart Folio Keyboard. The keyboard now magnetically attaches to the iPad and communicates with the device via its Pogo pins. The keyboard case is also thick enough to allow the new iPad Pro 12.9 to lie flat on a table. The cover has a rubberised texture that feels good to the touch. Most keys measure 1.5 cm², while they all have a slightly concave design and emit a faint click when pressed. In short, the keyboard is easy to type on. Moreover, we found the automatic spelling corrections and suggestions useful, although these can be disabled if you prefer. The iPad Pro 12.9 could also be used easily as a multimedia tablet without the physical keyboard.

Face ID, which we have known of since the release of the iPhone X, has replaced Touch ID on all models of the third-generation iPad Pro. Face ID can register up to two faces, which is handy if more than one person plans to use the device.

Using the default keyboard in portrait mode
Using the default keyboard in portrait mode
Using the default keyboard in landscape mode
Using the default keyboard in landscape mode
A look at the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio
A look at the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio

Display

Sub-pixel array
Sub-pixel array
Display flickering at low brightness
Display flickering at low brightness

The one thing that has not changed much from last year’s iPad Pro 12.9 is the display. It still measures 12.9-inches, has a 4:3 aspect ratio, and it has a 2732x2048 resolution. Consequently, the display has a pixel density of 265 PPI, which should be sharp enough for most people and is something that the iPad Pro 12.9 has in common with many equivalently sized tablets. The IPS panel supports HDR10 and DolbyVision too, albeit the display does not get bright enough to take full advantage of the latter feature. The display also has a 120 Hz adaptive refresh rate.

The new iPad Pro 12.9 gets just as bright as its predecessor and achieves an average maximum brightness of 605 cd/m² with the ambient light sensor switched on. Turning off the sensor reduces the panel’s maximum luminosity by a few nits, but the difference is nothing drastic. The more realistic APL50 test produced similar results too. Our test device has a slightly lower black value than its predecessor, which results in a stronger contrast ratio that we measure at 1,975:1.

We have not noticed any backlight bleeding so far during our time with the device. Apple has included its True Tone feature too, which automatically adjusts the colour temperature of the display when the device senses a change in ambient lighting. The new iPad Pro 12.9 also supports Night Shift, a feature that filters out blue light to make the display easier to read at night. Night Shift can be set to turn on between certain hours or enabled manually.

The new iPad Pro 12.9 does not use pulse-width modulation (PWM) to regulate display brightness, just like its predecessor. However, we did notice that the display flickers between 53 and 75 Hz at 3% brightness and below.

576
cd/m²
603
cd/m²
581
cd/m²
616
cd/m²
632
cd/m²
620
cd/m²
598
cd/m²
600
cd/m²
621
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 632 cd/m² Average: 605.2 cd/m² Minimum: 2.33 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 91 %
Center on Battery: 632 cd/m²
Contrast: 1975:1 (Black: 0.32 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 1.1 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2
ΔE Greyscale 1.7 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
99.7% sRGB (Calman 2D)
Gamma: 2.21
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
IPS, 2732x2048, 12.9
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
IPS, 2732x2048, 12.9
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
Super AMOLED, 2560x1600, 10.5
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
IPS, 2560x1600, 10.8
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
IPS, 2736x1834, 12.3
Apple iPad 6 2018
IPS, 2048x1536, 9.7
Screen
-1%
-57%
-201%
-78%
-22%
Brightness middle
632
650
3%
474
-25%
384
-39%
463
-27%
530
-16%
Brightness
605
614
1%
477
-21%
360
-40%
450
-26%
513
-15%
Brightness Distribution
91
90
-1%
91
0%
84
-8%
83
-9%
92
1%
Black Level *
0.32
0.42
-31%
0.8
-150%
0.32
-0%
0.61
-91%
Contrast
1975
1548
-22%
480
-76%
1447
-27%
869
-56%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
1.1
1
9%
2.5
-127%
6.83
-521%
3.76
-242%
1.2
-9%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
2.4
1.9
21%
5.8
-142%
12.7
-429%
7.35
-206%
3.2
-33%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
1.7
1.5
12%
2.1
-24%
7.5
-341%
3.18
-87%
1
41%
Gamma
2.21 100%
2.25 98%
2.08 106%
2.199 100%
2.53 87%
2.28 96%
CCT
6794 96%
6734 97%
6281 103%
8544 76%
6994 93%
6588 99%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
2.68
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
59
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
90

* ... smaller is better

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 52 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8943 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

We investigated the colour accuracy of our test device’s display with a photo spectrometer and CalMAN analysis software. The display should cover the DCI-P3 colour space, but we cannot currently verify this as the app that we use cannot measure the colour space for some reason. Even our partner SectraCal has no solution at present.

However, we can confirm that the new iPad Pro 12.9 has impressive sRGB colour-space coverage. Our test device is so colour accurate that the human eye cannot notice its DeltaE mixed colour deviations. Our tests show that grey tones have a slight blue tint to them though when the True Tone feature is disabled, but we have not noticed this when just using the device.

CalMAN: Greyscale – sRGB colour space
CalMAN: Greyscale – sRGB colour space
CalMAN: Mixed Colours – sRGB colour space
CalMAN: Mixed Colours – sRGB colour space
CalMAN: Colour Space – sRGB colour space
CalMAN: Colour Space – sRGB colour space
CalMAN: Colour Saturation – sRGB colour space
CalMAN: Colour Saturation – sRGB colour space

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
23.2 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 7.6 ms rise
↘ 15.6 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 31 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (25.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
49.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 18.8 ms rise
↘ 30.8 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 83 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (41 ms).

Users should have no problems with using the new Apple iPad Pro 12.9 outside. The device gets bright enough for use in direct sunlight, while the 1.8% reflectance coefficient reduces the number of reflections that deflect off the display. Hence, the new iPad Pro 12.9 is a great device to get work done on the move should you need to.

Using the third-generation iPad Pro 12.9 outside in the autumn sun.
Using the third-generation iPad Pro 12.9 outside in the autumn sun.
Using the third-generation iPad Pro 12.9 in the shade.
Using the third-generation iPad Pro 12.9 in the shade.

Our test device has stable viewing angles thanks to its IPS display. The display suffers from minor brightness reduction at acute viewing angles, but there were no colour or image distortions. Additionally, we noticed no backlight bleed or any IPS glowing with our test device either.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

Apple has touted the iPad Pro as a laptop replacement since its first release in 2015. Particular attention was paid to the A9X outscoring an ultra-low voltage (ULV) Intel Core i5 in Geekbench. However, Geekbench used different instruction sets on different architectures, as it still does now, so the scores that ARM and x86 systems achieve are not comparable. Hence, Apple’s claim that the third-generation iPad Pro is faster than 92% of all laptops sold in 2018 is somewhat disingenuous; the scores may verify that claim, but the tests are different, so the results are incomparable. 

Let us start by looking at the statistics. The Apple A12X Bionic SoC powers the new iPad Pro 12.9. The SoC is the first octa-core processor to come from Cupertino, which has four Vortex power cores and four Tempest energy-saving cores. Meanwhile, the GPU has seven processing units and an octa-core neural processing unit (NPU) that Apple also uses in the iPhone XS and XS Max. The CPU also has 10 billion transistors, which is 3.1 billion more than the A12 Bionic SoC has. We currently have no reliable data on clock speeds, but the additional two vortex cores should ensure that the A12X Bionic is noticeably more powerful than its predecessor.

We checked pure CPU performance with Geekbench, in which the A12X Bionic easily beats all our ARM-powered comparison devices. Interestingly, the A9X in the first iPad Pro 12.9 still outscores the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC in single-core benchmarks. The Physics values in the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited provide a good comparison across devices too. The A12X Bionic scores just below the Intel Core i5-7200U in this regard, but these scores are not directly comparable as mentioned at the top of this section. Unfortunately, not all 3DMark benchmarks worked on the new iPad Pro 12.9 at the time of writing.

The A12X Bionic has fantastic graphics performance and outperforms all our ARM-powered comparison devices in GPU benchmarks. We cannot verify whether the A12X Bionic GPU is as powerful as the AMD Radeon GCN in the Xbox One S as Apple claims. However, the A9X GPU in the first-generation iPad Pro outperforms the Adreno 630 in the Snapdragon 845, so it is possible that graphics performance would have improved just as significantly as CPU performance has in two-and-a-half years.

The new iPad Pro is currently the fastest ARM-powered device that consumers can buy. It does not have a faster CPU than 92% of all laptops released in 2018 though. Otherwise, we would have expected Apple to ship the device with MacOS since the A12X Bionic would be powerful enough to rival x86 competitors like the Surface Pro 6.

Geekbench 4.1/4.2
Compute RenderScript Score
Average Apple A12X Bionic (41735 - 43802, n=2)
42769 Points ∼98% +2%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
41735 Points ∼95%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
16833 Points ∼38% -60%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
7930 Points ∼18% -81%
Average of class Tablet (862 - 43802, n=24)
7773 Points ∼18% -81%
64 Bit Multi-Core Score
Average Apple A12X Bionic (17691 - 18041, n=2)
17866 Points ∼49% +1%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
17691 Points ∼49%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
9293 Points ∼26% -47%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
6477 Points ∼18% -63%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
6173 Points ∼17% -65%
Apple iPad 6 2018
5952 Points ∼16% -66%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
5284 Points ∼15% -70%
Average of class Tablet (1106 - 18041, n=37)
4647 Points ∼13% -74%
64 Bit Single-Core Score
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
5002 Points ∼79%
Average Apple A12X Bionic (4984 - 5002, n=2)
4993 Points ∼79% 0%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
3924 Points ∼62% -22%
Apple iPad 6 2018
3499 Points ∼55% -30%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
3097 Points ∼49% -38%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
1893 Points ∼30% -62%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
1892 Points ∼30% -62%
Average of class Tablet (429 - 5002, n=37)
1605 Points ∼25% -68%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited Physics
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
2919 Points ∼66%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
2610 Points ∼59%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
2405 Points ∼54%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
1713 Points ∼39%
Apple iPad 6 2018
1627 Points ∼37%
Average of class Tablet (650 - 2919, n=31)
1595 Points ∼36%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited Graphics
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
6993 Points ∼85%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
5895 Points ∼72%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
4086 Points ∼50%
Apple iPad 6 2018
3852 Points ∼47%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
1885 Points ∼23%
Average of class Tablet (99 - 6993, n=31)
1680 Points ∼20%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
5093 Points ∼98%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
3822 Points ∼74%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
3753 Points ∼72%
Apple iPad 6 2018
2955 Points ∼57%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
1980 Points ∼38%
Average of class Tablet (129 - 5093, n=32)
1397 Points ∼27%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited Physics
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
4700 Points ∼100%
Average Apple A12X Bionic
4700 Points ∼100% 0%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
2952 Points ∼63% -37%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
2594 Points ∼55% -45%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
2210 Points ∼47% -53%
Apple iPad 6 2018
1690 Points ∼36% -64%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
1649 Points ∼35% -65%
Average of class Tablet (739 - 4700, n=37)
1595 Points ∼34% -66%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited Graphics
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
28751 Points ∼100%
Average Apple A12X Bionic
28751 Points ∼100% 0%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
12118 Points ∼42% -58%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
9110 Points ∼32% -68%
Apple iPad 6 2018
7253 Points ∼25% -75%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
3682 Points ∼13% -87%
Average of class Tablet (165 - 28751, n=37)
3043 Points ∼11% -89%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
2466 Points ∼9% -91%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
13454 Points ∼100%
Average Apple A12X Bionic
13454 Points ∼100% 0%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
6674 Points ∼50% -50%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
4544 Points ∼34% -66%
Apple iPad 6 2018
4190 Points ∼31% -69%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
3753 Points ∼28% -72%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
2404 Points ∼18% -82%
Average of class Tablet (207 - 13454, n=37)
2003 Points ∼15% -85%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Physics
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
2952 Points ∼70%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
2416 Points ∼57%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
1988 Points ∼47%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
1878 Points ∼45%
Apple iPad 6 2018
1439 Points ∼34%
Average of class Tablet (793 - 2952, n=49)
1435 Points ∼34%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Graphics
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
5384 Points ∼100%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
4695 Points ∼87%
Apple iPad 6 2018
3682 Points ∼68%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
3682 Points ∼68%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
1646 Points ∼31%
Average of class Tablet (102 - 5384, n=49)
1174 Points ∼22%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1)
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
3806 Points ∼80%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
3605 Points ∼76%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
3490 Points ∼74%
Apple iPad 6 2018
2735 Points ∼58%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
1771 Points ∼37%
Average of class Tablet (134 - 3806, n=54)
1031 Points ∼22%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
2952 Points ∼70%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
2366 Points ∼56%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
1960 Points ∼47%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
1555 Points ∼37%
Apple iPad 6 2018
1535 Points ∼36%
Average of class Tablet (810 - 2952, n=52)
1368 Points ∼32%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
7525 Points ∼91%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
7434 Points ∼89%
Apple iPad 6 2018
6095 Points ∼73%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
3682 Points ∼44%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
2392 Points ∼29%
Average of class Tablet (42 - 7525, n=52)
1603 Points ∼19%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
4588 Points ∼71%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
4061 Points ∼63%
Apple iPad 6 2018
3672 Points ∼57%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
3490 Points ∼54%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
2386 Points ∼37%
Average of class Tablet (53 - 4588, n=56)
1269 Points ∼20%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
39393 Points ∼50%
Average Apple A12X Bionic
39393 Points ∼50% 0%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
19567 Points ∼25% -50%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
19037 Points ∼24% -52%
Apple iPad 6 2018
15499 Points ∼20% -61%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
15473 Points ∼20% -61%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
14456 Points ∼18% -63%
Average of class Tablet (3675 - 39393, n=137)
12935 Points ∼16% -67%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
194856 Points ∼37%
Average Apple A12X Bionic
194856 Points ∼37% 0%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
110971 Points ∼21% -43%
Apple iPad 6 2018
62626 Points ∼12% -68%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
56368 Points ∼11% -71%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
51124 Points ∼10% -74%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
35076 Points ∼7% -82%
Average of class Tablet (2109 - 194856, n=137)
17880 Points ∼3% -91%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
103813 Points ∼49%
Average Apple A12X Bionic
103813 Points ∼49% 0%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
54449 Points ∼26% -48%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
39260 Points ∼18% -62%
Apple iPad 6 2018
37372 Points ∼18% -64%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
33812 Points ∼16% -67%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
26634 Points ∼13% -74%
Average of class Tablet (2411 - 103813, n=138)
14752 Points ∼7% -86%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16
Average Apple A12X Bionic (438 - 451, n=2)
445 fps ∼4% +2%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
438.4 fps ∼3%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
224 fps ∼2% -49%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
163.2 fps ∼1% -63%
Apple iPad 6 2018
125 fps ∼1% -71%
Apple iPad 6 2018
118 fps ∼1% -73%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
93 fps ∼1% -79%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
69 fps ∼1% -84%
Average of class Tablet (4.2 - 451, n=164)
29.6 fps ∼0% -93%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16
Average Apple A12X Bionic (120 - 120, n=2)
120 fps ∼4% 0%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
119.9 fps ∼4%
Apple iPad 6 2018
59.7 fps ∼2% -50%
Apple iPad 6 2018
59 fps ∼2% -51%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
59.3 fps ∼2% -51%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
59 fps ∼2% -51%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
58 fps ∼2% -52%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
57 fps ∼2% -52%
Average of class Tablet (3.7 - 120, n=168)
20.3 fps ∼1% -83%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
220.1 fps ∼3%
Average Apple A12X Bionic (202 - 220, n=2)
211 fps ∼3% -4%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
110 fps ∼2% -50%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
80.1 fps ∼1% -64%
Apple iPad 6 2018
62.6 fps ∼1% -72%
Apple iPad 6 2018
58.9 fps ∼1% -73%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
60 fps ∼1% -73%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
41 fps ∼1% -81%
Average of class Tablet (1.8 - 220, n=102)
19.9 fps ∼0% -91%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL
Average Apple A12X Bionic (95.6 - 110, n=2)
103 fps ∼3% +8%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
95.6 fps ∼3%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
46 fps ∼1% -52%
Apple iPad 6 2018
40.9 fps ∼1% -57%
Apple iPad 6 2018
40.3 fps ∼1% -58%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
36 fps ∼1% -62%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
33.3 fps ∼1% -65%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
27 fps ∼1% -72%
Average of class Tablet (2.9 - 110, n=105)
14.2 fps ∼0% -85%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
173 fps ∼4%
Average Apple A12X Bionic (169 - 173, n=2)
171 fps ∼4% -1%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
83 fps ∼2% -52%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
76 fps ∼2% -56%
Apple iPad 6 2018
42.7 fps ∼1% -75%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
41 fps ∼1% -76%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
28 fps ∼1% -84%
Average of class Tablet (2 - 173, n=52)
21.1 fps ∼0% -88%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen
Average Apple A12X Bionic (59.3 - 95, n=2)
77.2 fps ∼2% +30%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
59.3 fps ∼2%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
54.3 fps ∼2% -8%
Apple iPad 6 2018
27.3 fps ∼1% -54%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
27 fps ∼1% -54%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
22 fps ∼1% -63%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
16 fps ∼0% -73%
Average of class Tablet (4.3 - 95, n=52)
13 fps ∼0% -78%
GFXBench
High Tier Onscreen
Average Apple A12X Bionic (31.8 - 49, n=2)
40.4 fps ∼67% +27%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
31.8 fps ∼53%
Average of class Tablet (1.7 - 49, n=8)
14.9 fps ∼25% -53%
Apple iPad 6 2018
12.3 fps ∼21% -61%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
8.9 fps ∼15% -72%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
8 fps ∼13% -75%
2560x1440 High Tier Offscreen
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
51.1 fps ∼100%
Average Apple A12X Bionic (48 - 51.1, n=2)
49.6 fps ∼97% -3%
Average of class Tablet (1 - 51.1, n=8)
17.4 fps ∼34% -66%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
12.2 fps ∼24% -76%
Apple iPad 6 2018
10.8 fps ∼21% -79%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
9.3 fps ∼18% -82%
Normal Tier Onscreen
Average Apple A12X Bionic (47.2 - 58, n=2)
52.6 fps ∼88% +11%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
47.2 fps ∼79%
Average of class Tablet (2.7 - 58, n=8)
21 fps ∼35% -56%
Apple iPad 6 2018
20 fps ∼33% -58%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
14 fps ∼23% -70%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
13.9 fps ∼23% -71%
1920x1080 Normal Tier Offscreen
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
134.3 fps ∼100%
Average Apple A12X Bionic (127 - 134, n=2)
131 fps ∼98% -2%
Average of class Tablet (2.8 - 134, n=8)
46.5 fps ∼35% -65%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
34.7 fps ∼26% -74%
Apple iPad 6 2018
30.8 fps ∼23% -77%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
25 fps ∼19% -81%
off screen Car Chase Offscreen
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
107 fps ∼3%
Average Apple A12X Bionic (101 - 107, n=2)
104 fps ∼3% -3%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
32.4 fps ∼1% -70%
Apple iPad 6 2018
26.8 fps ∼1% -75%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
25 fps ∼1% -77%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
16 fps ∼0% -85%
Average of class Tablet (0 - 107, n=32)
14.9 fps ∼0% -86%
on screen Car Chase Onscreen
Average Apple A12X Bionic (39.2 - 47, n=2)
43.1 fps ∼2% +10%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
39.2 fps ∼1%
Apple iPad 6 2018
17.9 fps ∼1% -54%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
13.3 fps ∼0% -66%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
13 fps ∼0% -67%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
9.3 fps ∼0% -76%
Average of class Tablet (0 - 47, n=32)
8.25 fps ∼0% -79%
AnTuTu v7 - Total Score
Average Apple A12X Bionic (552676 - 566378, n=2)
559527 Points ∼99% +1%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
552676 Points ∼98%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
217015 Points ∼38% -61%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
201881 Points ∼36% -63%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
175581 Points ∼31% -68%
Apple iPad 6 2018
170921 Points ∼30% -69%
Average of class Tablet (20856 - 566378, n=17)
170590 Points ∼30% -69%
BaseMark OS II
Web
Average Apple A12X Bionic (1979 - 2034, n=2)
2007 Points ∼99% +1%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
1979 Points ∼97%
Apple iPad 6 2018
1628 Points ∼80% -18%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
1218 Points ∼60% -38%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
1091 Points ∼54% -45%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
913 Points ∼45% -54%
Average of class Tablet (9 - 2034, n=98)
743 Points ∼37% -62%
Graphics
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
28853 Points ∼100%
Average Apple A12X Bionic (28547 - 28853, n=2)
28700 Points ∼99% -1%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
8422 Points ∼29% -71%
Apple iPad 6 2018
6760 Points ∼23% -77%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
6080 Points ∼21% -79%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
2284 Points ∼8% -92%
Average of class Tablet (98 - 28853, n=98)
2090 Points ∼7% -93%
Memory
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
5423 Points ∼86%
Average Apple A12X Bionic (3390 - 5423, n=2)
4407 Points ∼70% -19%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
3108 Points ∼49% -43%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
2900 Points ∼46% -47%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
2027 Points ∼32% -63%
Apple iPad 6 2018
1334 Points ∼21% -75%
Average of class Tablet (56 - 5423, n=98)
1046 Points ∼17% -81%
System
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
16467 Points ∼100%
Average Apple A12X Bionic (16298 - 16467, n=2)
16383 Points ∼99% -1%
Apple iPad 6 2018
6820 Points ∼41% -59%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
6230 Points ∼38% -62%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
5537 Points ∼34% -66%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
3639 Points ∼22% -78%
Average of class Tablet (482 - 16467, n=98)
2259 Points ∼14% -86%
Overall
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
8450 Points ∼100%
Average Apple A12X Bionic (7526 - 8450, n=2)
7988 Points ∼95% -5%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
3302 Points ∼39% -61%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
3282 Points ∼39% -61%
Apple iPad 6 2018
3163 Points ∼37% -63%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
2204 Points ∼26% -74%
Average of class Tablet (150 - 8450, n=98)
1217 Points ∼14% -86%
Basemark ES 3.1 / Metal - offscreen Overall Score
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
5300 Points ∼100%
Average Apple A12X Bionic (5216 - 5300, n=2)
5258 Points ∼99% -1%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
1871 Points ∼35% -65%
Apple iPad 6 2018
1693 Points ∼32% -68%
Average of class Tablet (426 - 5300, n=13)
1505 Points ∼28% -72%
PassMark PerformanceTest Mobile V1
3D Graphics Tests
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
1186 Points ∼21% +40%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
1174 Points ∼21% +39%
Average of class Tablet (453 - 3320, n=104)
1107 Points ∼20% +31%
Average Apple A12X Bionic (847 - 1187, n=2)
1017 Points ∼18% +20%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
847 Points ∼15%
2D Graphics Tests
Average Apple A12X Bionic (13777 - 14847, n=2)
14312 Points ∼77% +4%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
13777 Points ∼74%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
5107 Points ∼28% -63%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
4454 Points ∼24% -68%
Average of class Tablet (249 - 14847, n=106)
3119 Points ∼17% -77%
Memory Tests
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
31708000 Points ∼100%
Average Apple A12X Bionic (31736 - 31708000, n=2)
15869868 Points ∼50% -50%
Average of class Tablet (776 - 31708000, n=106)
303148 Points ∼1% -99%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
28102 Points ∼0% -100%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
18483 Points ∼0% -100%
Disk Tests
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
179053 Points ∼100%
Average Apple A12X Bionic (140131 - 179053, n=2)
159592 Points ∼89% -11%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
137071 Points ∼77% -23%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
44437 Points ∼25% -75%
Average of class Tablet (1193 - 179053, n=106)
19995 Points ∼11% -89%
CPU Tests
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
759975 Points ∼100%
Average Apple A12X Bionic (756889 - 759975, n=2)
758432 Points ∼100% 0%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
82816 Points ∼11% -89%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
59659 Points ∼8% -92%
Average of class Tablet (1376 - 759975, n=106)
33273 Points ∼4% -96%
System
Average Apple A12X Bionic (5279 - 7242, n=2)
6261 Points ∼29% +19%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
5905 Points ∼28% +12%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
5638 Points ∼27% +7%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
5279 Points ∼25%
Average of class Tablet (1015 - 8868, n=105)
3409 Points ∼16% -35%

Legend

 
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018 Apple A12X Bionic, Apple A12X Bionic GPU, 256 GB NVMe
 
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017 Apple A10X Fusion, Apple A10X Fusion GPU / PowerVR, Toshiba THGBX669D4LLDXG 64 GB NAND
 
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998), Qualcomm Adreno 540, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro HiSilicon Kirin 960, ARM Mali-G71 MP8, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
Apple iPad 6 2018 Apple A10 Fusion, Apple A10 Fusion GPU / PowerVR, 32 GB NVMe
 
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB Intel Core i5-8250U, Intel UHD Graphics 620, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ128G
 
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 Apple A9X, Apple A9X / PowerVR Series 7XT, Apple 128 GB (iPad Pro 12.9 NVMe)

Subjectively, web-browsing on the third-generation iPad Pro 12.9 feels snappy and smooth. Benchmark results confirm our impression too, particularly as the iPad Pro 12.9 beats all our comparison devices in browser benchmarks. 

JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018 (Safari Mobile 12)
279.13 Points ∼100%
Average Apple A12X Bionic (278 - 279, n=2)
278 Points ∼100% 0%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017 (Safari Mobile 10)
202.1 Points ∼72% -28%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
172 Points ∼62% -38%
Apple iPad 6 2018 (Safari Mobile 11.3)
167.2 Points ∼60% -40%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (Safari Mobile 9.0)
142 Points ∼51% -49%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 (Samsung Browser 8.0)
65.07 Points ∼23% -77%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro (Chrome 68.0.3440.91)
57.007 Points ∼20% -80%
Average of class Tablet (10.9 - 279, n=70)
55.7 Points ∼20% -80%
Octane V2 - Total Score
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018 (Safari Mobile 12)
45734 Points ∼100%
Average Apple A12X Bionic (44425 - 45734, n=2)
45080 Points ∼99% -1%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017 (Safari Mobile 10)
31188 Points ∼68% -32%
Apple iPad 6 2018 (Safari Mobile 11.3)
27967 Points ∼61% -39%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
25963 Points ∼57% -43%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (Safari Mobile 9.0)
19852 Points ∼43% -57%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 (Samsung Browser 8.0)
12897 Points ∼28% -72%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro (Chrome 68.0.3440.91)
11854 Points ∼26% -74%
Average of class Tablet (1238 - 45734, n=155)
6345 Points ∼14% -86%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
Average of class Tablet (603 - 43092, n=166)
9352 ms * ∼100% -1423%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro (Chrome 68.0.3440.91)
3575.4 ms * ∼38% -482%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 (Samsung Browser 8.0)
2644.7 ms * ∼28% -331%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (Safari Mobile 9.0)
1498.8 ms * ∼16% -144%
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
1410 ms * ∼15% -130%
Apple iPad 6 2018 (Safari Mobile 11.3)
1025.5 ms * ∼11% -67%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017 (Safari Mobile 10)
968.8 ms * ∼10% -58%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018 (Safari Mobile 12)
614 ms * ∼7%
Average Apple A12X Bionic (603 - 614, n=2)
609 ms * ∼7% +1%
WebXPRT 3 - ---
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018 (Safari Mobile 12)
182 Points ∼100%
Average Apple A12X Bionic (172 - 182, n=2)
177 Points ∼97% -3%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (Safari Mobile 12)
101 Points ∼55% -45%
Apple iPad 6 2018 (Safari Mobile 10)
79 Points ∼43% -57%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 (Samsung Browser 8.0)
77 Points ∼42% -58%
Average of class Tablet (24 - 182, n=12)
76.3 Points ∼42% -58%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro (Chrome 68.0.3440.91)
68 Points ∼37% -63%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score
Average Apple A12X Bionic (380 - 386, n=2)
383 Points ∼100% +1%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018 (Safari Mobile 12)
380 Points ∼99%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017 (Safari Mobile 10)
244 Points ∼64% -36%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (Safari Mobile 9.0)
215 Points ∼56% -43%
Apple iPad 6 2018 (Safari Mobile 11.3)
200 Points ∼52% -47%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 (Samsung Browser 8.0)
187 Points ∼49% -51%
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro (Chrome 68.0.3440.91)
178 Points ∼46% -53%
Average of class Tablet (36 - 386, n=71)
109 Points ∼28% -71%

* ... smaller is better

Games

Apple boasts that the A12X Bionic GPU is as powerful as the GPU inside an Xbox One S, which is a dedicated games console. Apple has set our expectations exceedingly high. We would not recommend holding the iPad Pro 12.9 for extended gaming sessions as we found it too big for our hands. Some games do not have iPad Pro 12.9-friendly onscreen buttons either, so users may have to stretch their thumbs to reach buttons on either side of the display.

We checked gaming performance with GameBench, the results of which are impressive. However, the system often limits refresh rates to 30 FPS and we could not find a game that could take advantage of the iPad Pro 12.9’s 120 Hz adaptive refresh rate. World of Tanks Blitz has a 120 Hz mode, but this would not play any higher than 60 FPS. PUBG Mobile is limited to 30 FPS in balanced or HD modes. Moreover, other supposedly 120 Hz games like Phoenix 2 or Vainglory would only reach a maximum of 60 FPS. The games run smoothly on our test device, but weaker Android tablets can produce better results than the iPad Pro 12.9. The third generation of the iPad Pro currently does not get anywhere close to matching Apple’s ambitious claims.

World of Tanks Blitz
World of Tanks Blitz
Phoenix 2
Phoenix 2
PUBG Mobile
PUBG Mobile
Battle Bay
0102030405060Tooltip
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018 A12X Bionic GPU, A12X Bionic, 256 GB NVMe; 4.0.21221: Ø60 (60-60)
Apple iPad 6 2018 A10 Fusion GPU, A10 Fusion, 32 GB NVMe: Ø59 (50-60)
PUBG Mobile
0102030405060Tooltip
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018 A12X Bionic GPU, A12X Bionic, 256 GB NVMe; Balanced; 0.9.0: Ø29.4 (28-58)
Apple iPad 6 2018 A10 Fusion GPU, A10 Fusion, 32 GB NVMe; Balanced: Ø28.6 (21-30)
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018 A12X Bionic GPU, A12X Bionic, 256 GB NVMe; HD; 0.9.0: Ø29.4 (27-60)
Apple iPad 6 2018 A10 Fusion GPU, A10 Fusion, 32 GB NVMe; HD: Ø28.5 (21-30)
Arena of Valor
0102030405060Tooltip
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018 A12X Bionic GPU, A12X Bionic, 256 GB NVMe; 1.25.1: Ø59.4 (57-60)
Apple iPad 6 2018 A10 Fusion GPU, A10 Fusion, 32 GB NVMe: Ø58.4 (47-60)
Asphalt 9: Legends
0102030405060Tooltip
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018 A12X Bionic GPU, A12X Bionic, 256 GB NVMe; 1.1.3: Ø35.1 (16-60)
Apple iPad 6 2018 A10 Fusion GPU, A10 Fusion, 32 GB NVMe; 1.0.1: Ø29.2 (29-30)
World of Tanks Blitz
0102030405060Tooltip
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018 A12X Bionic GPU, A12X Bionic, 256 GB NVMe; 5.4.0: Ø60 (60-60)
Apple iPad 6 2018 A10 Fusion GPU, A10 Fusion, 32 GB NVMe; Flora low: Ø59 (51-60)

Emissions

Temperature

GFXBench Battery Test: T-Rex OpenGL ES 2.0
GFXBench Battery Test: T-Rex OpenGL ES 2.0
GFXBench - Manhattan OpenGL ES 3.1
GFXBench - Manhattan OpenGL ES 3.1

Surface temperatures never get unpleasantly hot, but most of our test device gets hotter than 30 °C at idle, while one area reaches a maximum of 36.8 °C. These are comparatively hot idle surface temperatures, but surprisingly our test device does not get much hotter when operating under sustained load. Surface temperatures reach a maximum of 38.8 °C at the centre of the rear case and average 36 °C, which is less than 5 °C hotter than average surface temperatures at idle. Overall, the new iPad Pro 12.9 gets hotter to the touch than other tablets and large smartphones that we tested, although not dangerously so. 

We also checked how the SoC performs under sustained load by running GFXBench battery tests on a loop for 30 times, during which we record battery percentage and benchmark framerates. Our test device handles the simpler T-Rex benchmark with ease and is on par with Snapdragon 845-powered devices.

Update 11.16.2018: Initially, we could not run the more complex Manhattan benchmark on our test device, but we have now added our results. Our test device starts by achieving higher frame rates in Manhattan than it does in T-Rex, but the SoC eventually thermal throttles to slightly below what it achieved in the T-Rex benchmark. This equates to around a 20% performance drop, which is acceptable and is better than some Snapdragon 845-powered devices.

Max. Load
 34 °C
93 F
36.2 °C
97 F
34.3 °C
94 F
 
 34.7 °C
94 F
38.3 °C
101 F
36.1 °C
97 F
 
 34.5 °C
94 F
36.9 °C
98 F
36.7 °C
98 F
 
Maximum: 38.3 °C = 101 F
Average: 35.7 °C = 96 F
37.2 °C
99 F
38.2 °C
101 F
34.9 °C
95 F
35.3 °C
96 F
38.8 °C
102 F
37.1 °C
99 F
34.6 °C
94 F
35.8 °C
96 F
34.4 °C
94 F
Maximum: 38.8 °C = 102 F
Average: 36.3 °C = 97 F
Power Supply (max.)  32.5 °C = 91 F | Room Temperature 21.2 °C = 70 F | Voltcraft IR-260
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 35.7 °C / 96 F, compared to the average of 30.8 °C / 87 F for the devices in the class Tablet.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 38.3 °C / 101 F, compared to the average of 34.8 °C / 95 F, ranging from 22.3 to 51.8 °C for the class Tablet.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 38.8 °C / 102 F, compared to the average of 34.4 °C / 94 F
(±) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 32.3 °C / 90 F, compared to the device average of 30.8 °C / 87 F.
Heat map of the front of the device under sustained load
Heat map of the front of the device under sustained load
Heat map of the back of the device under sustained load
Heat map of the back of the device under sustained load

Speakers

Pink Noise speaker test
Pink Noise speaker test

The new iPad Pro 12.9 has four speakers like its predecessors. The speakers should continue to provide balanced stereo sound too even if one is accidentally covered when holding the device. The difference is noticeable though. The sound quality is practically identical when using the device in either landscape or portrait mode too.

Generally, Apple appears to have changed little with the speakers in the new iPad Pro 12.9. Our Pink Noise speaker test demonstrates that the speakers in our test device have a balanced sound, so this consistency is not a backwards step. The speakers struggle to reproduce low or bass tones, but this is synonymous with all thin devices, including most laptops. Overall, the new iPad Pro 12.9 has comparatively listenable speakers that are good enough for occasional music or video playback.

However, audiophiles are likely to resort to using external solutions in either scenario. Unfortunately, Apple has removed the headphone jack and does not include a USB Type-C to 3.5 mm adapter in the box. Moreover, the tablet only works with adapters that have integrated DA converters, which is a requirement that we have also seen from HTC devices too. By contrast, Huawei and Samsung devices will work with cheaper adapters. Audio output over Bluetooth 5.0 also worked well during our testing. 

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2032.629.42528.925.33125.2244026.126.45030.230.96326.923.88028.73410029.146.512518.454.51602165.420024.365.325017.468.331516.872.840015.370.450015.672.163014.169.180015.271.4100014.173.1125014.673.8160014.674.8200014.268.6250013.869.731501471.2400014.668.1500014.469.5630014.667.3800014.467.31000014.861.21250014.661.51600014.754.4SPL2782.9N0.960.4median 14.6median 68.6Delta1.44.23029.430.123.529.326.626.924.532.831.124.826.720.726.219.535.218.627.221.445.92551.417.459.516.266.518.467.515.467.913.568.113.76813.769.314.670.314.972.614.471.114.768.114.665.114.863.214.764.514.666.11561.414.952.415.147.914.938.527.280.10.947.6median 14.9median 65.11.49hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseApple iPad Pro 12.9 2018Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (82.9 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 7.8% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (12.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.1% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (4.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2.2% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (8.7% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 2% of all tested devices in this class were better, 4% similar, 94% worse
» The best had a delta of 7%, average was 21%, worst was 36%
Compared to all devices tested
» 1% of all tested devices were better, 0% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (80.1 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 18% lower than median
(-) | bass is not linear (18.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4.3% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (1.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.3% away from median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (7% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (18% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 33% of all tested devices in this class were better, 8% similar, 59% worse
» The best had a delta of 7%, average was 21%, worst was 36%
Compared to all devices tested
» 31% of all tested devices were better, 6% similar, 63% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Power Management

Power Consumption

The new iPad Pro 12.9 consumes slightly more power on average than its predecessor. While our test device consumes a minimum of 1.42 W at idle, which is 0.13 W less than that which its predecessor consumes, the new iPad Pro 12.9 consumes an average of 2 W more under sustained load and 0.77 W at idle. Our test device consumes an average of 40% more than the Galaxy Tab S4 in our tests too.

Apple includes an 18 W charger in the box, which sounds large enough. However, it takes around seven hours to recharge our test device fully, which is absurd. Apple sells a 30 W charger should you wish to charge your device quicker than in a night’s sleep, but this will cost you $49 (£49). Unfortunately, it is common practice for Apple to include weak chargers with its devices, as we detailed in our iPhone XR, XS and XS Max reviews.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.01 / 0.23 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 1.42 / 9.35 / 9.38 Watt
Load midlight 12.75 / 14.96 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
 mAh
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
10875 mAh
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
7300 mAh
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
7500 mAh
Apple iPad 6 2018
 mAh
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
 mAh
Power Consumption
11%
40%
-5%
-1%
-86%
Idle Minimum *
1.42
1.55
-9%
1.76
-24%
3.3
-132%
2.2
-55%
4.3
-203%
Idle Average *
9.35
8.58
8%
4.22
55%
4.2
55%
7.8
17%
8.7
7%
Idle Maximum *
9.38
8.59
8%
4.25
55%
7
25%
7.9
16%
9.4
-0%
Load Average *
12.75
10.09
21%
4.52
65%
10.4
18%
12.6
1%
24.5
-92%
Load Maximum *
14.96
10.61
29%
7.35
51%
13.8
8%
12.8
14%
36
-141%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

We cannot currently determine the new iPad Pro 12.9’s battery capacity. However, our test device outlasted most of our comparison devices, although it is beaten by last year’s model in some battery tests. The new iPad Pro 12.9 cannot compete with its predecessor in either our idle or under load battery life tests, but these are not entirely fair comparisons.

Our most comparable battery life tests are the H.264 and Wi-Fi tests because we set all devices to approximately 150 cd/m² display brightness. Our test device comfortably outlasts all our comparison devices, including its predecessor, in these tests. In short, the new iPad Pro 12.9 should easily last most users a full workday’s use. 

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
31h 28min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3 (Safari Mobile 12)
13h 16min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
14h 59min
Load (maximum brightness)
3h 04min
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018
 mAh
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017
10875 mAh
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
7300 mAh
Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro
7500 mAh
Apple iPad 6 2018
 mAh
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Core i5, 128 GB
 mAh
Battery Runtime
16%
-15%
-15%
-5%
-37%
Reader / Idle
1888
2919
55%
1227
-35%
1254
-34%
1066
-44%
H.264
899
676
-25%
735
-18%
629
-30%
WiFi v1.3
796
736
-8%
495
-38%
670
-16%
714
-10%
545
-32%
Load
184
257
40%
245
33%
220
20%
185
1%
118
-36%

Pros

+ great display
+ stylish design
+ good speakers
+ fast Wi-Fi
+ powerful SoC
+ impressive battery life
+ quick LTE connectivity
+ eSIM support for dual-SIM functionality

Cons

- large camera bump
- software restrictions
- the main camera is largely unchanged
- limited USB Type-C features
- long load times
- only 12 months warranty
- no expandable storage

Verdict

The Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) tablet review.
The Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) tablet review.

The Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) not only impressed us during Apple’s keynote but also when we first received our test device. Yes, it is still a huge tablet, but it is slimmer and lighter than its predecessors. The new Apple Pencil feels great in the hand too.

A huge appeal of the new iPad Pro 12.9 will be its alleged performance, which Apple claims will outperform 92% of all notebooks that are released in 2018. Notably, this even includes some Core i7 models. The company also boasts that the performance of the A12X GPU should rival the Xbox One S. Apple has truly stuck its neck out with these huge claims, and the new iPad Pro 12.9 cannot quite live up to expectations. The A12X Bionic is currently the fastest ARM-based SoC that has been brought to market, but there is no accurate way to compare its performance against x86 processors.

The third-generation iPad Pro 12.9 is a fantastic tablet and is currently the best ARM-based tablet that money can buy. However, iOS continues to hold the iPad Pro back from being a genuine laptop replacement, which is unfortunate as it is powerful enough to be one.

The iPad Pro 12.9’s biggest shortcoming is iOS. The OS has no usable file system, nor can the device currently read USB flash drives to name but a few issues we have with iOS. The Galaxy Tab S4 is infinitely more flexible in this respect. Users who just need a lightweight device for emails, media consumption and office applications will be satisfied with the new iPad Pro 12.9, although it is exceedingly expensive. However, after three generations Apple has not delivered on its promise of creating a tablet that can replace a laptop.

The new iPad Pro 12.9 is great for those who value the Apple Pencil and who know how to use it. We would recommend picking up the smaller model if you plan to use the device on the go though. Moreover, the 64 GB version should have enough storage for most users who just want a large tablet for media consumption.

Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2018 - 11/15/2018 v6
Daniel Schmidt

Chassis
89%
Keyboard
71 / 80 → 89%
Pointing Device
96%
Connectivity
58 / 65 → 90%
Weight
81 / 40-88 → 85%
Battery
96%
Display
94%
Games Performance
86 / 68 → 100%
Application Performance
95 / 76 → 100%
Temperature
89%
Noise
100%
Audio
79 / 91 → 87%
Camera
74 / 85 → 87%
Average
85%
92%
Tablet - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2018, LTE, 256 GB) Tablet Review
Daniel Schmidt, 2018-11-21 (Update: 2018-11-21)