Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2021): A behemoth that is almost the perfect tablet
The iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) utilises an M1 SoC, like the iPad Pro 11 (2021) that we also recently reviewed. The two new iPad Pro models share their M1 SoC with the iMac, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, which have all impressed in part because of their excellent processor performance. Hence, the iPad Pro 11 (2021) and iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) are formidable competition for Microsoft's Surface family and Android tablets, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 series.
However, the iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) also has a Mini LED display, something that its smaller sibling lacks. Mini LED panels have considerably more LEDs than their IPS counterparts, along with a greater volume of dimming zones. Correspondingly, devices with Mini LED panels should have more accurate brightness distribution and higher contrast ratios than their IPS-equipped equivalents. The iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) reinforces this, although it falls short of what the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus achieves.
Unfortunately, the new Mini LED display also has slow response times. Additionally, the iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) utilises pulse-width modulation (PWM) to regulate brightness levels, which causes eye strain and headaches for some people. Many AMOLED panels use PWM too, whereas IPS ones do not, for reference.
Our issues with the new iPad Pro 12.9 do not stop there, either. Apple includes a 20 W charger in the box, despite our review unit being capable of pulling up to 30 W from a MacBook Pro 16 charger. Moreover, Apple only affords the iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) 12 months warranty, which is not long for such a premium product. Unsurprisingly, iPadOS continues to limit the iPad Pro's potential, even with Apple's changes over the last few years.
Ultimately, these are high-level criticisms of what is an almost perfect tablet. Not only does the iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) deliver extremely high performance, it also has a fantastic display that supports HDR content. Apple has equipped the tablet with speakers that rival those in the MacBook Air, too. You can read our full thoughts on the iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) in our corresponding review.
Price & Availability
At the time of publication, Apple charges US$1,099 for the entry-level version of the Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) tested here (8/128 GB, Wi-Fi). Currently, Amazon matches Apple's price, but the smaller 11-inch model is available at a discount.