May 31 2016

Review: Apple's iPad Pro Serves as a Powerful Business Companion

With a big screen and brawny processor, this pro version of the iPad aims squarely at the mobile workforce.

For most business functions, the Apple iPad Pro Wi-Fi + Cellular acts like an iPhone with a much larger screen.

The 4G model connects to cellular networks when necessary and to Wi-Fi when it can to save on battery life and possible network charges. It runs the iOS 9 mobile operating system, which means that any apps already running on a user’s iPhone will transfer directly to the Pro. Syncing contacts and information is almost seamless.

The big selling point is the 12.9-inch touch screen with its native 2732-by-2048-pixel resolution. Like the iPhone, the screen on the Pro is configured at a 4:3 ratio instead of the 16:9 typical of most mobile devices, so any programs optimized for iPad screens look just as good here. And the Retina display is stunningly beautiful. It may not be quite as high resolution as some devices, but Apple balanced that with image quality improvements.

Make a Strong Impression for Presentations

Those looking to use their iPad Pro as a presentation device will be happy to find an audio upgrade as well. The Pro has four speakers, two at the top of the device and two at the bottom. This is among the best audio setups I’ve ever heard from a device this size, and it’s plenty loud enough for presentations.

Battery life is also solid, especially considering the large screen. Apple worked some magic, like having pixels stay illuminated longer before needing to draw more power. When using the cellular network, the device provided 9 hours and 11 minutes of runtime from the Pro. When using Wi-Fi only, it stretched to 10 hours and 48 minutes.

Users looking to turn their Pro into a true desktop replacement will probably want to purchase a folio keyboard (CDW price: $180) for ease of typing and to help the device stand on its own; and possibly an Apple Pencil (CDW price: $120) for rapid manual note-taking. I had access to both during testing and came to rely on them for many day-to-day tasks.

With the Pro, Apple has created a version of its consumer-friendly iPad that’s a worthwhile business companion for the mobile worker and that syncs easily with a user’s iPhone. What was always a great consumption device is now legit for productivity.


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