Status Pro Apple iPad Pro M1
T3 Magazine|Awards 2021
With a stunning display and ridiculous power, the best tablet on the planet just got even better

Display 11-inch 2732x2048 LED / 12.9inch 2732x2048 mini-LED

CPU Apple M1

RAM 8GB / 16GB

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

Camera 12MP wide, 10MP ultra-wide rear; 12MP ultra-wide front

Connectivity Thunderbolt / USB 4, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5

Dimensions 257.6x178.5x5.9 / 280.6x214.9x6.4mm

Weight 466g / 682g

A iPad Pro, the question asked of this new model isn’t whether it’s the best tablet experience currently available – it just is – but whether it’s significant overkill, and whether the excellent iPad Air (2020) would suffice for you instead.

The big news is that the iPad Pro now sports the same M1 CPU as the latest MacBook Air, MacBook Pro 13-inch, Mac Mini and 24-inch iMac. It’s available in two sizes, 11-inch and 12.9-inch, and internal storage ranges from 128GB to 2TB, with the 1TB and 2TB models coming with 16GB of RAM. The 128GB, 256GB and 512GB models have to make do with 8GB, but this shouldn’t be a huge problem. A 5G connection is an optional extra, for which you’ll pay a little bit more as well as having to pay for a data plan.

The last of the headline new features is the incredible screen. It’s a mini-LED display, which means Apple can fit thousands of tiny LEDs directly behind the screen, enabling much higher brightness than previous iPads.

Last year’s iPad Pro could reach around 600 nits of full-screen brightness – this can reach 1,600 nits for HDR peaks, and 1,000 nits for full-screen brightness. That’s a big step up – but it’s only for when you’re watching HDR video or looking at HDR photos. In regular app use, Apple actually restricts the screen to 600 nits, which helps keep the battery life at the usual 10 hours or so.

Apple says that the iPad Pro has 2,596 individual dimming zones. For comparison, this is over three times the number of dimming zones in a flagship mini-LED 4K TV at 55 inches or bigger. So we’re talking serious levels of precision.

This screen is just for the new 12.9-inch model, sadly. The 11-incher has the same screen as last year. Both models still support up to 120Hz refresh rates, and deliver P3 wide colour gamut support, plus Apple Pencil 2 support, naturally. The resolution is 2732x2048 pixels for the 12.9-inch, and 2388x1668 for the 11-inch, which is 264 pixels per inch.

Bright magic

The new screen is absolutely beautiful, no question. First, let’s get the slightly disappointing thing out of the way: that the extra brightness only comes in when watching HDR video, or viewing HDR photos. In general use, its brightness isn’t greater than the previous iPad Pro (2020) and will only trigger when you’re watching videos in certain formats, including Dolby Vision HDR for movies. There’s no set format for HDR photos, so that may be more hit and miss, though your iPhone HDR photos should benefit.

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