Friday 30 September 2016

Adrian Weckler: If you can afford €700 price tag, this is a superb tablet for work and play

Published 19/03/2016 | 02:30

Apple iPad Air
Apple iPad Air

Apple's move into a smarter, more powerful, more work-friendly iPad is interesting. It also bucks the market trend, which is away from standalone tablets.

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A €700 price tag for the new machine (without the smart keyboard accessory) will probably take this off an average iPad buyer's Christmas list. But if the new 10-inch machine proves as adept as the 13-inch iPad Pro, it should find a market.

I have been using the 13-inch iPad Pro as a one-stop shop machine for almost six months. I have run presentations off it, watched TV on it and written articles on it.

It's come in especially useful when travelling. One important reason is that I can recharge it on the move with any of several power backup devices. It's also slim and light enough to fit more easily into bags than almost any laptop (even a MacBook Air).

As a work device, it fits the bill just fine for me. I mainly need it to write quickly on (I use Apple's iPad Pro Smart Keyboard, which is excellent, although pricey at €179).

For non-work activities, it has been a revelation. There is little comparison in viewing (or editing) photos, for example: the iPad Pro's gorgeous 13-inch screen brings them to life in a way you have to see to believe. While I still need to use some applications on a laptop for photos (Adobe Lightroom in particular), it does practically everything else. It works especially well for TV and movies, too. Both Sky Go and Netflix look and sound fantastic on the machine, not least because of its four speakers. It's relatively thin and light, too: certainly lighter than almost any 13-inch laptop you can buy.

As a work machine, the iPad Pro still isn't as flexible as, say, a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. As handy as the new split screen functionality is, it is still quicker to flit from program to program on the same screen with the laptop. Keyboards and typing remain an issue, too. The iPad Pro's Smart Keyboard works nicely, but it still narrows your ergonomic options compared to the MacBook. For example, it's a bit trickier to use on your lap, something I like to do a lot at home. This is partly because it's not as sturdy as a laptop (it wobbles and lists) and partly because there is no choice on adjusting the angle between the screen and keyboard.

That said, I can't imagine anyone really regretting buying an iPad Pro, even at its premium-pricing.

Irish Independent

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