I recently retired a five year old MacBook Pro and I replaced it with a Mac Mini as I needed more of a desktop computer for my multi monitor setup that I use for many different forms of multi media such as photo editing, video editing, podcast creation and so on. Shortly after, I found myself missing the portability of a laptop as I kept finding myself in situations where I had to kill thirty minutes to an hour and could use the time to be productive and write an article or two or maybe even perform an update on one of the websites that I currently run. Obviously with my new Mac Mini this was not a possibility as it is a desktop, but I also didn’t want to go out and purchase another Mac Laptop as lets face it, they are not cheap, and I didn’t really need a full blown computer for the tasks that I would be doing on the go. I made the decision to check out the new iPad Pros as I was excited about the brand new Apple Pencil design (honestly I loved the idea of the Gen 1 Pencil but the execution was rather poor in it being bulky, overly long, easy to misplace as it didn’t attach to the iPad in any way and most importantly the charging setup was atrocious, but more on that in the Apple Pencil Gen 2 Review).
I decided to pick up a Space Gray 256gb IPad Pro 11” WiFi only model. Let me explain my decision behind this. My first goal was to not spend over a grand on this device as at that point I would be approaching MacBook and MacBook Air territory so automatically the the 512gb and 1tb models were out of the picture (also since I only do a small portion of my computing on the iPad I didn’t really need that much space). With that said I decided on the 256gb as I thought it was the sweet spot. I felt that 64gb would be small and might end up being a problem in the future (I envisioned eventually having about 100gb on the iPad between audio recordings, drawings, documents and music and movies) so with no 128gb option the 256gb was the way to go.
Next lets talk 11” vs 12.9” models, to me the 12.9” is just too big. Granted it is much smaller than the previous 12.9” but again the key for me was portability, plus the smaller price tag of the 11” helped as well. Lastly I felt that the 11” model has a better screen aspect ratio for watching movies, which is something that I knew I would do on this iPad so that made the choice even easier. To explain, not only are the screens different in size but they are also different in aspect ration of basically shape. The 11” model yields itself better towards wide screen movies as it is wider in ratio than the 12.9”.
Lastly as I won’t cover color choice as that is just a personal preference for everyone is choosing to go WiFi only over getting cellular. Typically I would say get the cellular but with the price premium for it and with me not really needing it I opted to save the money. Truth is I see myself rarely needing the iPad to be web connected in places where I don’t have access to great WiFi and if it just so happens that I do, I have an unlimited plan on my phone that also includes free hot spot ability so rather than paying $10-$30 extra a month to my wireless bill and paying more for the device up front for something that I would rarely use I opted to go WiFi only (granted I fully understand that for some people who are always on the go and are heavier users than me that the cell date option is a must).
Alright so now you know how and why I got to the model that I decided to purchase now lets talk about performance. Honestly I am very impressed with the iPad pros abilities as far as processing power goes. Obviously I know that it wont keep up with my fully specked out desktop but everything that I have thrown at it with multiple tabs and windows open it has taken with a smile and asked for more. So if you are using a laptop for the kinds of things that I am needing to do (email, social media, vector drawings, blogging, website updates, some photo editing and audio recording/editing) then the iPad Pro would be more than capable enough of replacing it. The other obvious advantage to the iPad Pro option is size, wight, portability, battery life and for me, the speed at which it turns on and off compared to even a fast SSD laptop. So long story short unless you are a super heavy user (in which case I would assume you have a dedicated multi screen setup) you should have more than enough processing power by going with the iPad Pro.
A few more tidbits, the new body is super thin and lite weight and the close to “edge to edge” screen is really nice compared to the much thicker bezels of previous models (notice that I say “close to” since it is not technically edge to edge as Apple calls it). I also have to mention that I love the speakers, they, unlike every other iPad I have ever owned are finally loud enough. Lastly I love that this iPad has gone the way of USB-C. I always thought that lightning was ahead of all of the previous usb options and was something I complemented Apple for creating but now with USB-C becoming a standard (especially since its the same connector style as Thunderbolt 3) I think all Apple products should make their way to using that port over lighting. USB-C charges the iPad quickly and if ever I want to sync it or charge it form my computer I can plug it directly into a Thunderbolt 3 port and it works like a charm.
To wrap things up I am extremely pleased with the 11” iPad Pro so far and do recommend it to those trying to do more on the go while having to carry less size and weight. Check back in a few months and I will update my impressions as I have more time with the device. Also be on the look out as I will follow up with a review on the new second generation Apple Pencil and the new Smart Folio keyboard.