Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch (5th Generation) Review

Here’s everything you need to know about the Apple iPad Pro, with Apple’s own M1 chip.

When we say M1 being a game-changer, then we absolutely mean it. Inspired by Apple’s own A14 Bionic chip, M1 is developed as Apple’s own central processing unit(CPU) and graphics processing unit(GPU) in its Macintosh computers and iPad Pro tablets.

Apple has also been environmentally conscious with the Apple iPad Pro 5th gen (2021) model with it being 100% recycled aluminum and earthly materials. Apple claims it to be completely free of harmful substances. 

Before delving into everything about the 5th-generation iPad Pro, let’s take a quick look at how the iPad performs in various categories.


For Movies:10
For Note-Taking:10
For Drawing:9.5
For Gaming:10
For Reading:9
For Photo Editing:9.5
For Video Calls:10
For Web Surfing/Social Media:10

Pros & Cons

  • Exceptional Processing Speed (M1 Chip)
  • Suitable For Almost Any Purposes
  • High-Quality Display
  • Excellent Cameras
  • Great Battery Life
  • Exclusive Apps
  • 5G 
  • Expensive(especially with an external keyboard and apple pencil)
  • 12.9-inch Model Is Quite Heavy
  • No Headphone Jack  

The Apple M1 chipset will be the main talking point in the latest iPad Pro models, with it being installed as both CPU and GPU. The game-changing chipset has the potential to upset many of Apple’s rivals. 

Specifications of the iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2021)

  • Operating System: iPadOS 14.5.1, upgradable to iPadOS 14.6, Apple M1, Octa-core, Apple GPU (8-core graphics)
  • RAM: 128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 8GB RAM, 512GB 8GB RAM, 1TB 16GB RAM, 2TB 16GB RAM
  • Display: Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED LCD, 120Hz, HDR10, Dolby Vision, 1000 nits (typ), 1600 nits, 12.9 inches, 515.3 cm2 (~85.4% screen-to-body ratio), 2048 x 2732 pixels, 4:3 ratio (~265 ppi density)
  • Dimensions: 280.6 x 214.9 x 6.4 mm (11.05 x 8.46 x 0.25 in)
  • Weight: 1.50 lb (682 g) (Wi-Fi), 1.51 lb (685 g) (5G)
  • Camera: 12 MP, f/1.8, (wide), 10 MP, f/2.4, 125˚ (ultrawide), TOF 3D LiDAR scanner (depth), 12 MP, f/2.4, 122˚ (ultrawide) selfie camera
  • Port: USB Type-C 4 (Thunderbolt 4), DisplayPort; magnetic connector
  • Battery: Li-Po (40.88 Wh), non-removable

Who is This Device For?

We will cover the areas as to who is most likely to benefit from the latest iPad Pro tablet and if you have a similar taste then you are in luck!

  • For the Gamers

The people who will benefit most from the newly installed M1 chipset are the gamers. Firstly the graphics and display are really smooth and the pixels don’t let the game stretch or glitch.

It is also not just about the Apple arcade games being played normally. With the latest M1 chip, PS4 and Xbox controllers can be connected with the tablet. That is a HUGE game-changer for gamers. Console-level games are playable on the new iPad Pro.

  • For Watching Movies and Videos

The great battery life is a good start for anyone who wants to use the new iPad Pro for a movie-watching experience. The 10,000 mini-LED highlights subtle details and deep blacks. The high-definition screen and viewing experience take the next-gen iPad Pro to the next level.

The 1600 nit peak brightness combined with pro-motion refresh rate makes the viewing experience even more enhancing. What cannot be understated as well is the super-fast Thunderbolt connections. 

With the Thunderbolt connection, the bandwidth for wired connection increases up to 40 Gbps as well as speedy downloads and streaming.

  • For The Artists

The iPad Pro 2021 is compatible with the 2nd generation Apple Pencil. This, along with the combination of the Magic keyboard and the Smart Keyboard Folio makes this iPad a perfect device for artists who love to draw.

With the smooth display and the pixels, you are guaranteed to get the best results out for any doodling or digital drawing.

  • For The Students

If you are a student looking out for options other than bulky laptops, then you should definitely consider the iPad Pro 2021. With its extraordinary screen, display, and note-taking experience, this tablet would be ideal. 

And of course, the battery life is great. So, there is no need to worry about the battery going dead while in the middle of any assignments or lectures. 

If you are keen on video calls for meetings and discussions, then, Powered by M1, the center stage extension automatically pans the camera around, keeping users in the center of the screen when moving around during a video call. 

Many students these days choose an iPad over a laptop and use it as the main device for their years in college.

Features of the iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2021)

Battery Life:8
  • Display

It is all about the Liquid Retina display, the Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED LCD, 120Hz, HDR10 is absolutely quality. The refresh rate is top-notch as well, you can glide through the apps one after the other without any hitch. 

The main addition though is that of the 10,000 mini-LEDs as they deliver a picture-perfect viewing experience. It highlights all the little details and deep black, there is of course just a little issue of it leaving a bit of halo here and there. But that is a very minor issue, apart from that the whole display is one of the best in the world. 

Overall there are many pros and all but just one con regarding the new iPad Pro (2021). The display on this device is just magnificent. 

  • Storage

Apple doesn’t usually announce their RAM storage beforehand but they have made an exception this time around. They have pre-announced RAM storage this time around, with the 8GB RAM in the lower 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB version, while 16GB RAM on the higher 1TB and 2TB version. Now that is HUGE.

The storage capacity is monstrous in the iPad Pro (2021), and Apple has actually made an effort to let everyone know about it by pre-announcing it. 

  • Design

As beautiful as you would expect. The new iPad Pro (2021) is virtually indistinguishable from the last model. But that is not a snide remark toward the device. 

It has a beautiful aluminum chassis and is surrounded by sharp lines. The rear camera design does not look out of place, and the USB-C port and data port are well-drilled into the device.

Apple has launched two variations of their iPad Pro (2021), one is the 11-inch, and the other is the 12.9-inch. The design of both is exactly the same, the difference just being the size.

Besides being compatible with Apple’s 2nd generation Pencil, the Smart Keyboard Folio, and the Magic Keyboard, it also supports accessories from other companies. That in itself is massive and something of new territory for Apple. 

The iPad Pro (2021) is compatible with the Xbox console and Playstation as well as Thunderbolt 3/USB ports from Intel.

The weight of the iPad Pro is a bit on the heavier side. The Wi-Fi model weighs in at 682 g, while the 5G model weighs in at 685 g. The dimensions of the device are 280.6 x 214.9 x 6.4 mm (11.05 x 8.46 x 0.25 in).

  • Speakers

The iPad Pro 5th generation is installed with 4 stereo speakers. The speakers are placed uniformly across the tablet and give a proper surround sound. The speakers are powered by Dolby Atmos. 

The movie-watching experience is properly enhanced by these stereo speakers and they give a theatre-like sound when sat in a proper environment. 

  • Camera 

Coming towards the juicier parts. The camera is an essential commodity for any electronic device that can be carried around. Apple has attached three cameras on the iPad Pro (2021): wide (12 MP, f/1.8 aperture), ultra-wide (10 MP, f/2.4 aperture), and front-facing (12 MP). 

The 12 MP ultra-wide camera is specifically made for AR, the front-facing camera supports the newly unveiled extension called “Center Stage”. Powered by M1, the center stage extension automatically pans the camera around, keeping the users in the center of the screen when moving around during a video call. 

That is a useful and much-needed trait to have. Video recording can be up to 4K at 60fps(Wide camera only).

The camera is a certain upgrade on its predecessor and as said above – much needed. 

  • Note Taking Experience

The compatibility of the 2nd generation Apple Pencil, Magic Keyboard, and the Smart Keyboard Folio make note-taking as well drawing, and painting easier, not to mention comfortable as well. 

The favorable pixels and smooth display do their job as you never experience glitches while writing down. 

  • Battery Life

The iPad Pro 5th gen has a 44.88 Wh battery life. It has a non-removable Li-Po battery. The device can play videos for up to 10 hours, or you can surf the web for up to 10 hours as well. 

The battery life is a major plus side for the new iPad Pro. It lives up to the expectation as you can carry the device around without having to charge it every couple of hours.

The battery life is also perfect if you are a gamer, you can play for hours without interruption, or you can carry it around with you on long trips, trekking, or traveling.

What’s Inside the Box?

You will get the below items inside the box:

  • iPad Pro (5th Gen) (2021)
  • 20W USB-C Power Adapter
  • SIM eject tool(For 5G model only)
  • User Manual
  • Apple stickers

iPad Pro (2020) vs iPad Pro (2021)

Whenever a newer model is released every year, it is certain that people will look to compare the new model with the older ones. There are certain things that get upgraded while there are others that do not need improvements and also there are things that are better in the older models. 

Let’s compare the models and see what upgrades Apple has made in the newer model and what should’ve stayed put.

Differences between iPad Pro (2020) vs. iPad Pro (2021)

Apple iPad Pro 2021
Apple iPad Pro 2020
12.9 inches Liquid Retina XDR Display
12.9 inches Liquid Retina Display
Apple’s M1 Chip
A12Z Bionic Chip
5G Connectivity:
5G Connectivity:
8 GB or 16 GB
6 GB
Up to 2 TB
Up to 1 TB

Which has a better screen?

There is a subtle difference between the screen and display of the two models. Although both the iPad Pro (2020) and iPad Pro (2021) are the same sizes (12.9 inches), the difference is in the quality of the screen and display. While the iPad Pro (2021) comes with a liquid retina XDR display, the iPad Pro (2020) has a liquid retina display only. 

While both the models have the same size and resolution, the iPad Pro (2021) offers 1000 nits max full-screen brightness as well as 1600 nits peak brightness i.e HDR.

As said above, there is a subtle difference between the screen and display of both the models but one would notice those differences if they used both the models simultaneously.

True Tone, ProMotion, and a fully-laminated display are the other screen technologies that are the same in both models. 

Which has a better processor?

There is no competition when it comes down to the processor. iPad Pro (2021) wins that duel by a landslide. iPad Pro (2021) is installed with Apple’s new M1 chip, which makes it very powerful. It has 8-Core graphics(GPU) and an 8-Core CPU. You also get a choice of selecting a model that has either 8GB RAM or 16GB RAM. 

iPad Pro (2020) has an A12Z Bionic chip, which is still a powerful chipset but it is no match for the new iPad Pro (2021). You also won’t get any RAM options in the older model. 

5G Connectivity

The iPad Pro (2021) offers 5G connectivity in its cellular model, while the iPad Pro (2020) offers only 4G LTE connectivity in its cellular model.

The Final Verdict

iPad Pro (2021) wins the duel, hands down. That is the short version of it. iPad Pro (2021) has some more serious upgrades to its predecessor. 

iPad Pro (2021) delivers on every front. It has a killer display, upgraded processor, improved camera, 5G connectivity, massive storage options, and great battery life. The new iPad Pro (2021) is highly recommended.

The only probable downside of the iPad Pro (2021) is its price. It’s a bit steep with the base model starting at $1099 and topping out at $1,399 for the cellular model.

On 2022 October 26, Apple Released the iPad Pro 6th gen with M2 Chip – we will post our review as soon as we get our hands on it and play around with it, so if you’re considering getting an iPad Pro, we always recommend getting a newer model, it will be supported longer and usually, it’s better than it’s predecessor.

Founder & Chief Editor |

I'm a writer and editor in iPads & Android Tablets, Windows Tablet section. I'm passionate about technology, especially about tablets. I'm on a mission to assist people in discovering their ideal tablets. In addition, I'm dedicated to producing helpful how-to guides and sharing top-notch tips and tricks. In my early carrier I founded and became and editor at worldoftablet and have been a guest author at many other tech blogs. In wolfoftablet I'm focusing on iPads, Tablets, Apple Pencil, Apps, Reviews, Buyers Guides and Tablet Accessories. In free time I like to play games on my PS5 or iOS.

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