Apple M2 iPad Pro (2022) review: Faster than ever

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The new 12.9-inch iPad Pro M2 might just be the best screen in my house. I have a good TV and a solid computer monitor that I use for my professional photography work, but the Liquid Retina XDR display on Apple’s flagship tablet is truly amazing, just like it was on last year’s M1-powered model.

The new M2 chip inside the iPad Pro could also make it the fastest computing device I have in my home. It’s hard to compare apples to apples when it comes to tablets and laptops, but my 16-inch MacBook Pro M1 has stiff competition from its slimmer, touch-enabled sibling.

In short, the iPad Pro is the best iPad. In fact, I’d consider it the best overall tablet you can buy right now. But all the features that make it great also make it expensive (prices start at $1,099). And unless you have specific workflows in mind that require a pristine display and serious computing power, the iPad Pro (2022) is probably overkill. However, it’s that kind of clever exaggeration that Apple has refined into an art form.

What’s new in iPad Pro (2022)?

With this year’s iPad Pro refresh, don’t expect much in the way of a redesign. It’s based on the same 12.9-inch 2732 x 2048 display as last year’s M1-powered iPad Pro (an adaptive 120Hz panel that was already my favorite). The screen was one of the biggest selling points for the M1 model and it hasn’t changed here. Behind, 10,000 mini-LEDs provide backlighting in 2,500 local dimming zones to enable up to 1,600 nits of peak brightness while maintaining deep black levels. It also supports a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, P3 full color gamut, plus HDR, making for a truly beautiful display.

The rest of the hardware hasn’t changed much either. The front-facing camera has been kept at the top of the screen instead of moving to the long edge like on the standard 10.9-inch iPad. The form factor has remained the same, as have all the accessories designed to go along with it.

Enter the M2 chip

Since the exterior components remain largely the same, you should look for the upgrades on the inside. Apple promises improvements across the board, including 15% faster CPU performance and 35% faster GPU numbers. Apple also claims a 40% improvement when it comes to the Neural Engine, which powers machine learning tasks.

Personally, I find benchmarking somewhat subpar when it doesn’t reflect tangible real-world changes, but other reviewers have found that the increased specs have made a real difference in running speeds across a litany of different tasks.

For my tests, I loaded a large collection of 45MP raw files from my Canon R5 mirrorless camera into Adobe Lightroom and did a few hours of fairly intensive photo editing. The iPad Pro had no problem rendering previews, showing me edits in real time, and quickly moving between images with very little lag.

I also loaded 4K video from the same camera into iMovie (because Final Cut Pro doesn’t exist in iPad form yet) and found that the M2 chip handled it with ease. Resource-intensive work like that obviously drains the battery faster than typical everyday tasks, but the iPad never struggled with tasks that tend to tax my 16-inch MacBook Pro.

New pencil tricks

As with the previous iPad Pro, the new M2 version takes full advantage of the $129 Apple Pencil 2. A new feature in iPadOS 16 allows iPad to recognize the Pencil when it’s hovered up to 12mm above the screen. Hovering allows for some clever tricks, like the ability to preview brush strokes in apps like Procreate or simply preview sections of a YouTube video by simply hovering over part of the timeline. . I found this feature surprisingly useful during my review period. It’s exclusive to 2022 iPads for now but will hopefully roll out later.

But how does the iPad Pro (2022) compare to…

The iPad Pro 12.9 vs. the standard iPad
The standard 10.9-inch iPad (left) looks small compared to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (right). Stan Horaczek

iPad Pro 12.9-inch vs. 11-inch

While I spent the entire review period working on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the 11-inch model also got the M2 2022 update. The big difference between the two models lies in the display. The 11-inch model is smaller, of course, but it also lacks some of the bells and whistles that make the 12.9-inch model so desirable. The 11-inch model still offers high-refresh-rate ProMotion technology as well as P3 color gamut, but it lacks mini-LED backlight technology, which limits its overall brightness to 600 nits and can’t provide the same kind . of contrasting relationships found in his older brother.

iPad Pro vs. iPad Air

With the introduction of the new M2 chip, there is now a real performance gap between the 2022 iPad Air and the newer iPad Pro. If you’re doing resource-intensive work on the iPad, upgrading to the Pro makes a lot of sense. The 12.9-inch Pro also offers a decidedly better screen than the Air, which isn’t far behind.

There are also some other differences. The new iPad Pros have Wi-Fi 6E, for example, but it’s unlikely you’ll be using 6E right now, though it may become more accessible in the future.

So who should buy the iPad Pro (2022)?

As with almost any product with the word “Pro” in the name, there are likely to be two types of people who will buy the new M2-equipped iPad Pro. Some real professionals with specific use cases for these types of devices will take the plunge. As a professional photographer and impostor professional videographer, a super-fast iPad with a pristine display has undeniable appeal to me. Other creative professionals likely feel the same way.

The other target audience for this type of product contains the same type of people who will buy the Apple Watch Ultra because it’s the best Apple Watch and then never take it out into the wild or rough terrain. Some people just want the “best” regardless of whether it makes any financial or practical sense.

I can say without a doubt that both groups will be satisfied with the iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2022). It’s fast, resourceful, expensive and capable: a work machine and status symbol all in one.

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