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iPad Pro 12.9 (2017) review

This is Apple's super-sized tablet for multi-tasking


In an effort to look less ridiculous in 2018 one thing you shouldn’t be doing is taking photos and videos with an giant iPad, but since you’ve probably given up on all your other New Year’s resolutions we might as well tell you about the camera on the new iPad Pro 12.9.

It uses the same 12MP and f/1.8 aperture rear camera and 7MP FaceTime f/2.2 front-facing camera as the iPhone 7. The photos look just as good as they do on the iPhone, and the expansive 12.9-inch display acts as a better viewfinder, and ideal way for editing photos in Adobe Lightroom. 

You can shoot video at 4K resolution with the rear camera, and 1080p with the front-facing one. However, even though this is a plus-sized iPad Pro there's no optical image stabilization, and you won’t find a dual-lens camera on any iPad just yet.

We found the camera most useful for taking reference photos rather than for portrait shots (the iPhone’s new Portrait mode isn’t an option on the iPad yet, by the way). iOS 11 goes as far as to include a nifty Document Scanner, which automatically crops and adjusts paper documents as if they just went through a heavy-duty scanner. Being able to then seamlessly mark them up with an Apple Pencil is a one-two productivity punch, and these are the sorts of features that make owning a tablet useful over a phone or computer.

Battery life

The iPad Pro 12.9 is rated for 10 hours of battery life thanks to its 10,875mAh battery capacity, and that’s exactly what we got in day-to-day use. In fact, we were able to stream (at medium brightness over Wi-Fi) an entire television series (10 episodes at 45 minutes per episode) without burning through more than 75% of the battery. We decided against binging through part of Season 2 with the remaining battery.

Our lab tests backed this experience up, even with the screen radiating closer to its full 600 nits: watching a 90-minute looped HD video at full brightness caused the battery to lose just 21%. The iPad Pro 12.9 lasted longer than both our MacBook and MacBook Pro, though our tasks weren’t as intense on an iPad, so you should take that into account.

One of the best features of the iPad Pro 12.9 from two years ago returns here: the ability to fast-charge using a USB-to-Lightning cable and a USB-C wall charger. Even better: if you buy Apple’s 29W USB-C adapter through its store or, as we did, use an existing USB-C MacBook Pro charger with the USB-C-to-Lightning cable. Using the same charger for our MacBook Pro and iPad Pro is the type of dream scenario we’d like to see more of from Apple.

Matt Swider
Matt Swider