IPad Pro 12.9 (2021) review: a best in class tablet | TechRadar

Two-minute review

The iPad Pro 2021 is a huge step up for Apple’s best tablet experience, but is it one that you need? That’s what we plan to examine in this iPad Pro review. If you want the very best tablet that money can buy, and a slate that can achieve almost anything you want a computer to, this is likely to be your perfect purchase.

The iPad Pro 2021 12.9-inch isn’t for everyone. The biggest caveats are that it’s incredibly expensive, and that it’s an overwhelmingly large device for those who don’t need a screen this big.

  • Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) (128GB Silver) at Amazon for $1,249.99 (opens in new tab)

It’s also worth noting that a new model will probably be out soon. The iPad Pro 2022 12.9 might arrive alongside the iPhone 14 – which itself we’re expecting to see on September 7. Recent rumors have pointed instead to October, but either way, it’s probably not far off.

Plus, there is another option you can buy right now, which addresses both of the above issues in part, and that’s the iPad Pro 2021 11. This is slightly smaller and costs less than the 12.9-inch model, with a screen that measures just 11-inches across, but in terms of specs it’s an identical tablet.

For those who can handle both the physical size and the price tag, though, the iPad Pro 2021 is an outstanding offering that boasts next-gen power, a fantastic display experience, and everything else we’ve come to love from Apple’s very best tablets.

The new Liquid Retina XDR Mini LED display is gorgeous, with max brightness levels unseen on other tablets – this slate can compete with the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 Plus, which felt like a major upgrade for tablet screens just last year. The screen is one of the best for watching movies on, and it’ll also suit you well for everyday tasks.

Then there’s the power – much has been made of Apple’s M1 chipset, and this is the first time the company has included its new, own-brand silicon in an iPad. Do you absolutely need it? Probably not, but if you want some truly impressive power that blows every other tablet out of the water, again the latest iPad Pro is a great choice.

You likely won’t appreciate having this much power on tap unless you’re intensively gaming, using power-hungry apps, or pushing the tablet to its multi-tasking limits. This will load apps like YouTube, Netflix and your email faster than before, but in most cases the difference is negligible, and you’ll only really notice when powering up the App Store’s most intensive experiences.

Other upgrades are less important, but there are a few other noteworthy tweaks. There’s a higher-capacity storage variant than ever before at 2TB, a new Center Stage camera feature that keeps you in the frame on video calls, and Thunderbolt 4 support in the USB-C slot. These are all great additions, but they’re overshadowed by the display and chipset’s game-changing upgrades.

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Battery life is solid – in our testing we found that the tablet would last for around 10 hours on a full charge. Your mileage will of course vary depending on what you’re doing, but this is solid battery performance that no one should be disappointed by.

All of this comes at a high price, and this is Apple’s most expensive tablet ever. It starts at $1,099 / £999 / AU$1,649, with the price increasing to $2,199 / £1,999 / AU$3,299 for the 2TB model – and you’ll pay more again if you opt for a version with cellular connectivity.

The iPad Pro 2021 is a phenomenal machine that’s a must-have if you’re an Apple evangelist, or if money is no object when you’re buying your next tablet. It isn’t the best tablet for everyone, due to its size and staggeringly high price, but is it the very best tablet money can buy right now? Yes, without a doubt.

iPad Pro 2021 release date and price

  • Went on sale May 21, 2021
  • Starts at $1,099 / £999 / AU$1,649 for 128GB
  • Accessories don’t come included

Apple’s new iPad Pro 2021 is available to buy around the globe. You could buy it directly from Apple and a variety of other retailers after it came out on May 21, 2021.

For a few weeks after launch, the iPad was pretty hard to buy due to supply shortages, but that’s long cleared up now.

The iPad Pro 2021 12.9-inch price is high, and it’s higher than the 2020 version of the tablet. It starts at $1,099 / £999 / AU$1,649 for the 128GB-storage version, with the price topping out at an incredible $2,399 / £2,149 / AU$3,549 for the cellular 5G-ready model with 2TB of storage.

That’s notably more expensive than the 2020 iPad Pro 12.9-inch, which started at $999 / £969 / AU$1,649. It’s a big markup, and it’s mostly because the company has noticeably bumped up the specs in this new tablet.

If you’re looking for something cheaper, the 11-inch iPad Pro 2021 has lower specs and starts at $799 / £749 / AU$1,199 which is the same price the 2020 model started at.

The price for Apple’s top-specced 12.9-inch slate is remarkably high, and as we’ve mentioned, you’ll only want this tablet if you want the absolute best iPad on the market.

  • Looking to get an iPad Pro? Here are the best iPad Pro deals

iPad Pro 12.9 design

  • No major design changes from 2020
  • Very large tablet – more so than 2020
  • Comes in silver or gray