Apple’s iPad Pro 2020 12.9-inch review: Versatility meets power

Mala Bhargava | Updated on June 22, 2020

With the Magic Keyboard, it’s a notebook as long as you don’t need PC software not available for it. With the Pencil, it’s a canvas for creative professionals

When it comes to the iPad Pro, the perennial question of whether it really replaces a laptop or falls short will probably never quite go away. It’s been asked again and again since this unique tablet was launched in 2015. It’s too powerful and expensive to be for someone who just wants an iPad mostly for general use and entertainment. That’s precisely why there’s that ‘Pro’ in the name, and it’s also why it exists in a rather large format.

Apple has just succeeded the 2018 iPad Pro with 2020 models in two sizes: 11-inch and 12.9-inch. Of the two, I’ve been working with the 12.9-inch, along with its magical accessory, the Magic Keyboard which makes it more laptop-like than ever. The 11-inch tablet is more suited to ‘lean-back’ activities like reclining on a stack of cushions to read while the 12.9-inch is better for ‘lean-forward’ work.

But both can be used for either and both make for great travel gear — for when we resume travel. Also, other accessories available such as the Apple Pencil, a mouse, a keyboard, external storage, and extra large trackpad can all transform what you do with the iPad Pro, no matter which of the two sizes fits your life better. A lot of the functionality of the iPad Pro also comes from the evolution of iPadOS which now makes it possible to use it for multitasking and productivity on the go.

But, right from the start, it’s been a versatile, powerful and yet portable device for artists, musicians, and other creative professionals. The iPad Pro really suits those who can use it as a notebook, but more than that, pick up that Pencil and use it as the tablet it is.

The 2020 iPad Pro looks almost identical to the 2018 version. If you don’t glance at the back, you could get the two mixed up. They both can use the new Magic Keyboard and the old Smart Keyboard — as well as other Bluetooth keyboard from a third party though that may take away from the functionality and experience. Everything on the front including the screen itself looks the same — and of course, they both use the newest release of operating system from Apple so that makes them behave the same.


Extra camera power

The one physical difference you can spot however, on the back, is a much larger camera assembly. The rear camera set-up includes a 12MP wide angle lens and a 10MP ultra wide angle. This is unusual for a tablet and specially for this one because using a 12.9 inch device as a camera isn’t going to be easy, but there probably will be specific situations in which professionals will find the capability useful.

It takes very nice photographs with good detail and colour and also shoots 4K video. Creatives will probably find a thousand ways of using it, including shooting images of physical art work or other projects. It could also be used to interview people on video, specially as it’s now supposed to have studio level microphones. The Magic Keyboard allowing you to straighten the screen upright would help with interviews.

The front camera is the one that has the portrait mode including the studio lighting modes you see on the iPhone 11 series. But there’s still that problem with where exactly to look, if you have the iPad in landscape mode.


A new feature on the iPad Pro 2020 is a LIDAR scanner. Light Detection and Ranging is a way of measuring distance by illuminating a target with laser light and measuring the reflection with a sensor. On the iPad, it’s meant to make Augmented Reality smoother and more realistic, making the movement of an object over others more natural, for example, instead of looking artificial and struggling to form. This is quite possibly a hardware addition we will see on other Apple products in the future since Apple really has some stupendous AR applications.

The new iPad Pro uses a chip Apple calls the A12Z Bionic. It isn’t experienced as being different front he 2018 iPad Pro actually, and that may be the problem with machines that are really powerful to begin with. The processor certainly makes it the most powerful consumer tablet in the world, able to handle tasks such as video editing and image rendering and using the Pencil with no lag at all. The screen is as brilliant as ever, the sound excellent, and I expect it’s not about to slow down much as the previous iPad Pro versions haven’t.

Other than this, what makes the 2020 iPad Pro new is the Magic Keyboard which we reviewed recently. It’s not exclusive to the 2020 iPad Pro and works with the 2018 as well, but it’s with the keyboard and the Pencil that the device really comes into its own. The entire package, with accessories is, however, expensive, so it’s for those who would really know how to put it to use, or those who just want the best.



Pro 12.9 inch 128GB is ₹89,900 WiFi, ₹103,900 Cellular, ₹31,900 Magic Keyboard, ₹9,900 Smart Keyboard Folio, ₹10,900 Apple Pencil

Other variants include 256GB (₹98,900, ₹112,900), 512GB (₹116,900, ₹130,900) and 1TB (₹134,000, ₹148,900).

Pros: Blazingly fast and smooth, with evolving iPadOS supports many new features, powerful with processing power for pro tasks, combines excellently with accessories for strong added functionalities, good camera

Cons: Very expensive, specially with accessories

Published on June 22, 2020

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