Apple iPad Pro 12.9in (2021) review: A giant leap for Apple’s silicon

iPad Pro 2021 12.9in is Apple’s latest and greatest tablet. They cost over £1,000 with VAT no matter your configuration, they’re more expensive than some MacBooks and certainly more expensive than the Mac mini. By rocking the same M1 chip as those devices, their performance is very similar in theory, but the use case couldn’t be different. So is it worth it? It depends on your condition, but it’s a great piece of art regardless.

Apple iPad Pro 12.9in (2021) review: Design

This year’s iPad Pro doesn’t look very different from the previous model. The 12.9″ smoothbore, surprisingly metallic design, features ruggedly smooth corners that help combat any hand fatigue you may experience from its 680g height. The similarly round “Liquid Retina” LCD screen still isn’t quite edge-to-edge, but there’s room to say that it reduces the chance of accidental brush strokes, video pauses, or page flips that can result from having too little space between the screen and your grip. Don’t expect to slip this neatly into your jacket pocket either; Just because it’s smaller than a laptop, you’ll still need some kind of bag handy to carry it around. It’s light, but it’s not that light.

As for how to coordinate with your wardrobe, we’re sad to announce that gray and silver are the only color choices this year. If you’re hoping to outfit your small business studio in a kaleidoscope of Apple-branded color, you’ll rely on third-party stickers and cases.

Another reason to rely on after-market bags is to add some form of Surface Pro style kickstand. Historically, the iPad range hasn’t needed this, but now that it’s explicitly geared toward the pros, this kind of variety should come as standard. It’s more comfortable for artists and designers who use the Apple Pencil, and it’s very handy for anyone using the iPad Pro as a second screen for their Mac via Sidecar.

Apple iPad Pro 12.9in (2021) review: Display

What sets this year’s biggest iPad above its smaller sibling isn’t just the screen size, but the technology behind it. Simply put, it’s bright enough for Apple to be comparable to the $6000 Pro Display XDR — at a fraction of the price. By using the XDR brand, Apple is marketing this iPad Pro as having a screen that’s accurate enough for professional and color-critical work such as digital illustration, professional photography, and motion picture making. It’s not very high-resolution, but its much smaller footprint means that its pixel density of 218 pixels per inch is within close range of 264 pixels per inch achieved by Apple’s best-in-class display.

Regardless of whether you use this to create movies or just to consume them, anything you throw at this will be reproduced more faithfully than a regular TV. The advertised 1,000 cd/m2 peak brightness (up to 1,600 for HDR content) beats the 600 cd/m2 peak brightness for the 11-inch model—that’s the difference between seeing the screen in direct sunlight at the beach or opting for a print magazine instead. And to keep the ProMotion advantage of previous iPad Pro models, the 120Hz refresh rate has scrolling, scribbling, and even gameplay almost criminally smooth.

During testing, our colorimeter detected screen brightness measured at around 512 cd/m2. This is a bit far from the typical maximum brightness of 600 cd/m2 claimed by Apple, but the test can also attest to the display’s color accuracy. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro M1 achieved an impressive result with 99.8% sRGB color gamut coverage and 75.3% DCI-P3 coverage, plus a near-perfect Delta-E rating of 0.93—all of which means it’s more than capable of handling professional color-accurate work.

The XDR display in the 2021 iPad Pro is the best Apple has packed into a mobile device. It’s probably the company’s most significant display update since the first Retina iPad display was introduced nearly a decade ago — but it’s not without its issues. When choosing Mini-LED instead of OLED, higher peak brightness can scatter the effects of “blow-out”, even with 2,596 local dimming areas – there to help HDR content appear – causing unused areas of the screen to appear more gray than Black as light bleeds. This is especially noticeable when bright user interface elements such as the navigation bar are visible. If it’s easy to get distracted by visual stimuli and plan to use the iPad Pro for heavy content consumption, wait for the OLED model or get something like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7+ or Lenovo Tab P11.

Apple iPad Pro 12.9in (2021) review: Specs and performance

Comprised of an octa-core processor, an ARM-based GPU, and 8GB or 16GB of memory depending on your configuration, the iPad Pro’s M1 chip beats the competition in terms of benchmarks, scoring 1,713 and 7,272 in the Geekbench 5 single and multiple base test respectively. On paper, that’s a 44% improvement over the A12Z chip in last year’s model. In a graphics-intensive workload simulation using the GFXBench 5.0 “Aztec Ruins High Tier Offscreen” test, the 8GB configuration showed a performance increase of approximately 37% over the previous year’s model. This will be a significant improvement in stability and general smoothness in 3D games and applications.

The aforementioned 16GB configuration is locked behind a massive 1TB storage option – which really drives up the price – but it’s totally worth considering if you plan to use this for processing large, high-quality videos and photos. And with Wi-Fi 6 and 5G support on cellular models, you can really turn it on ingesting snapshots from your remote office server.

At launch, no app was allowed to use more than 5GB of memory regardless of configuration, weakening the reason to pay more. But iOS 15 eased that limitation, making the more expensive models really more useful for high-level creators. Even beyond a very specific use case, if you want your investment to last as long as Apple’s typical five-year support cycle, spending extra now can save you from a costly upgrade in a few years.

For light use, 8GB is more than enough. Apple has been mocked for lack of memory before, but it’s never been a problem thanks to controlled improvements to its operating system. Chances are, you’ll be able to get back to your cell-filled spreadsheets or CAD project after a week off the line and immediately pick up where you left off. That’s the fun of always-on devices, and the iPad Pro reigns supreme.

Apple iPad Pro 12.9in (2021) review: Battery life

Battery life on this particular brand of device is rated for around 10 hours of general web use – as has always been the case with iPads – and tests prove this to be a realistic approximation. Testing this with a repeated, low-quality video in Airplane mode, we found that the M1 iPad lasted about 13 and a half hours before calling it daily.

It’s not the kind of massive power a modern ultrabook like the LG Gram can do at a similar cost, but it still beats the average home laptop. However, this is an absolute best-case scenario for this device and isn’t much indicative of real-world use – we typically burn at 25% for every two hours of hard work and play – but it does prove that Apple’s premium tablet can still be a competent travel companion for long trips and days off. Diligent in the office. Browsing the web and scrolling through videos will keep you on top of that estimate, but bright HDR features or complex workloads will cut your time off the charger by a notable margin.

Apple iPad Pro 12.9in (2021) review: Features

Beyond the killer screen, the iPad Pro 2021 doesn’t make a huge difference to the iPad Pro’s use case in terms of external hardware. Artists will still be using the same second-generation Apple Pencil, the AR-ready LiDAR sensor isn’t new, and the Center Stage front-facing camera tracking and panning feature is available on the much cheaper iPad Air—it makes more sense. What you get with this year’s flagship tablet really depends on how you use the chipset and the ultra-fast screen. It’s the ultimate tablet experience out of the box, but pay extra for an attachable keyboard and trackpad combo from Logitech or Apple and can, for some, be a dummy laptop that Apple insists its software allows.

For most people, it’s a brilliantly reliable multitasking machine, and iOS 15 simplifies the process of getting multiple apps at once. Browsing the web at a silky-smooth 120Hz refresh rate is easier on the eyes, and using the new one-button operation to do something like book flights on one side of the screen, browse hotels on the other, and check out local amenities in a pull-out case from your favorite travel app, it’s A convenient and almost simple way to plan your next business trip.

You’ll find a total of three cameras here; Virtually invisible front camera suitable for FaceID unlocking or “Center Stage” video call purchases and automatic tracking, and 4K Ultra Wide and Wide (with flash) cameras on the back. On its slender quarter-inch sides, you’ll discover four speakers, three microphones, volume keys, power button, a USB-C port for charging/data transfer, and smart connectors for things like keyboard docks and the latest Apple Pencil.

Apple iPad Pro 12.9in (2021) review: Verdict

If iOS limitations and app availability allow, the iPad Pro could be the only device you need at the office. Still extremely portable, the M1 chip is much more powerful than expected, its battery will comfortably see you all day, and the bright XDR display should satisfy filmmakers, photographers, and consumers alike.

Apple has spent years trying to convince the world that its tablets can replace traditional laptops, but with convenient mouse and keyboard support, increased memory allowances, thoughtful Apple Pencil functionality, and even improved game control support for developers and repairers, ignoring your laptop Coming home is not suddenly a cause for concern.

As long as your workflow relies mostly on the cloud and apps, there’s a good chance that the iPad Pro will be up to the task. And when you get home, snuggling in bed with a movie will help you unwind without wondering how much better it would have looked on the big screen downstairs. It’s an expensive investment, but there’s no reason why it can’t last for half a decade if you need it.

Apple iPad Pro 12.9in (2021) specifications


Apple M1 (octa-core processor / GPU)


8 GB


2048 x 2732 (4:3) resolution 12.9″ Liquid Retina XDR mini LED display, 120Hz, HDR (1600 cd/m² peak)

front camera

12MP Ultra HD (1080p at 60fps)

back camera

12MP wide angle, 10MP ultra-wide, LiDAR depth sensor, quad-color flash (4k@60fps or 1080p@240fps)

Water and dust resistance


3.5 mm headphone jack


USB connection type

USB-C (USB 4 / Thunderbolt 4)

Storage Options

128 GB / 256 GB / 512 GB / 1 TB / 2 TB

Memory card slot (supplied)



Wifi 6


Bluetooth 5.0



cellular data

5G network

Dimensions (WDH)

280.6 x 214.9 x 6.4 mm


682 grams

Operating System

iOS 15

Battery size

40.88 W

Featured Resources

Oracle Analytics for Beginners

Freedom from data overload

Download now

The future of restaurants

Keep customers hungry for more

free download

Modern data warehouse automation

Freedom from restrictions on your data

free download

Oracle’s Modern Data Platform Strategy

Freedom from manual data management

Download now

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: