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apple ipad Pro 11" (2020) review: The expensive all-round carefree package

apple ipad Pro 11” (2020) featured image
Picture: TechnikNews
(Post picture: © 2020 TechnikNews)

Despite the corona pandemic, Apple presented the Apple iPad in the spring Pro 11” (2020) ahead. You can find out here whether the circumstances have an influence on the tablet and where the differences to the predecessor are.

Apple now offers iPads in every conceivable price and performance class. It starts with that Eighth generation iPad until we get to that iPad Air 3 and the newly published iPad Air 4 finally to the iPad Pro come. More specifically, I now have the Apple iPad Pro 11” (2020) in front of me. Probably the biggest change is not in the hardware, but in the software. Parallel to the iPad Pro iPadOS 13.4 was also released, which for the first time brought support for computer mice and trackpads. But how does this feature work in combination with the most expensive iPad in everyday life? Shouldn't you go for a cheaper device? This review should clarify that once and for all.

Unboxing and initial setup

When unboxing the iPad, don't expect any big surprises compared to other models. The packaging is white as usual. The only thing you see are logos, Proproduct name and a picture of the Apple iPad Pro 11" (2020). If you remove the thin plastic film, the lid can be lifted. As soon as this is done, you can already see the tablet lying on top. Underneath there is an 18-watt USB-C power supply, a USB-C to USB-C cable, Apple stickers, a quick start guide and various other pieces of paper.

But I didn't just test the iPad Pro itself, but also the accessories. First up, here's the Smart Keyboard Folio, which comes in its own no-frills packaging. Also proI tried out the Apple Pencil, which Apple included with a spare tip.

apple ipad Pro 11" (2020) unboxing

An insight into all three packages. (Image: TechnikNews)

Setting up the tablet is a breeze, especially if you already have an iPhone or iPad and bring it close by. Then the already configured device will ask whether you can use the found iPad Pro want to put on. If you allow this, the iPad will automatically take over most of the information (language, region, Apple ID and a few more). Face ID, Apple Pay and Siri must be set up separately. These are things that are carried out directly on the device and Apple does not want this sensitive data to be connected to the Apple ID via the cloud. Software updates that are due can then be loaded if desired. The first setup should take no more than half an hour with updates downloading.

And what about the accessories you just unpacked? The iPad can be inserted directly into the Smart Keyboard Folio, which is then recognized immediately. To connect the Apple Pencil, you must first activate Bluetooth, as this is used for communication between the two devices. Then the pen just needs to be pinned to the right side of the tablet. A small pop-up should appear at the top of the display to confirm.

Design and workmanship

The Apple iPad Pro 11" (2020) is very similar in design to its predecessor from 2018. In other words, we have the Smart Connector for keyboard covers on the back and thin display edges with rounded corners. Only the camera module on the back looks different. I'll explain in more detail what this is all about later.

apple ipad Pro 11" (2020) back

The back of the iPad Pro changed a little compared to its predecessor. (Picture: TechnikNews)

Apple sells the iPad Pro still in two colors. These would be Space Gray and Silver. I have the iPad in the former option.

No defects can be found during processing. When it comes to the material, Apple once again opted for aluminum. Yes, I also know the stories from the predecessor, where some of the devices arrived at customers already bent, or the video in which JerryRigEverything broke the tablet in half without much effort. I haven't found any warping or similar abnormalities yet, but with a thickness of only five millimeters I would never use the device without the Smart Keyboard Folio. My fear supports EverythingApplePro with his bend test to the iPad. That's what the Apple iPad is for Pro 11" (2020) is very light at around 470 grams. This is how you can do it proeasily take it with you anywhere or hold it in your hand for longer.

 

A clear advantage with the iPads Pro-Row are the stereo speakers - two of them on the top, two of them on the bottom. Due to the positioning, these cannot be covered so easily. And then they're loud and clear, and they have surprisingly good bass. You wouldn't expect that from such a thin device. In my opinion, the sound quality even comes close to that of the loudspeakers MacBook Pro 13 " turn.

You won't really find anything when looking for connections, since there are hardly any. In the iPad Pro Apple only installed a USB-C connector, there is no 3,5 millimeter jack. Personally, that doesn't bother me - thanks to Bluetooth headphones - but I also understand if some people don't get along with it so well. Especially when you consider that the iPad has the label "Pro“ in the name. On the other hand, USB-C allows all sorts of accessories, adapters and external monitors to be plugged in. Data transfers with up to 10 gigabits are also possible pro second possible. All in all, I think the connection is a lot better than Lightning.

apple ipad Pro 11" (2020) connections

The iPad only has one USB-C port. (Image: TechnikNews)

Display

As the title of the review suggests, the display is 11 inches. Apple calls the LCD "Liquid Retina", it has a resolution of 1.668 x 2.388 pixels. The colors are great and the maximum brightness is sufficient, but you can see individual pixels on closer inspection. However, this is not particularly noticeable in everyday use.

The refresh rate of the image is a maximum of 120 Hertz, which Apple calls "ProMotion” sold. I say "maximum" on purpose because the number of images increases pro Adjusts the second dynamically. When viewing an image, for example, this is minimized, which ultimately results in a slightly longer battery life. I quickly learned to love this feature and don't want to be without it anymore. It is particularly noticeable when using the Apple Pencil, as the writing experience is even more natural here and what is written literally flows out of the pen.

apple ipad Pro 11" (2020) display

The display is particularly convincing with the Promotion feature. (Picture: TechnikNews)

The sensors for Face ID are located above the display. The manufacturer dared to take the step from fingerprint sensors to face recognition as early as 2018. With the iPad, this even works in landscape format and upside down. And if you cover the sensors once, you will be informed in a friendly manner that the face cannot be recognized. Scanning usually works just fine, as we know it from the iPhones - as long as the tablet is not on a table. Then it can happen that you don't look at the right angle. Annoying, that wouldn't happen with an iPad Air 4 and Touch ID.

While we're already talking about Face ID, we also have to briefly clarify why Touch ID couldn't just stay in the home button. The reason for this is the thinner display bezels. Looks totally sexy at first glance, but it has a disadvantage. In fact, you don't have too much surface for your hands to attack. Not too significant for me with my medium-sized hands, but Apple should definitely not make the edges any thinner. Fun fact: Thanks to the thinner edges, it no longer feels so wrong if you hold the tablet with the bitten apple upside down.

apple ipad Pro 11" (2020) FaceID

In the iPad Pro Face ID is used. (Picture: TechnikNews)

True Tone is still around and over again. In theory, this feature should adjust the color temperature of the display to the brightness of the environment. That sounds well and good, but while using it, I hardly noticed any added value with this Apple device. So I deactivated this function again.

Accessories

In total there are four different things from Apple itself that you can add to your iPad Pro can buy. Apple sells the Apple Pencil, Smart Keyboard Folio, Magic Keyboard, and various folio cases. I was able to get out of the pencil and the keyboard folioprobeer

apple ipad Pro 11" (2020) total accessories

Picture: TechnikNews

Apple Pencil

With the Apple Pencil for that Pro it is the second generation of the pen, which is held magnetically on the side of the tablet and is also inductively charged there. This eliminated the completely insane charging mechanism of the first pencil and with it the small cap that was supposed to protect the Lightning connector for charging and felt like 99 Procent of the buyer was lost (but luckily not for me). By storing it directly on the device, you no longer have to worry about transport - the pen is always with you. And worrying about the Apple Pencil not charging is now a thing of the past, too.

The writing experience with the pencil is very pleasant. And thanks to that ProMotion displays make writing even more natural. The pen sits very well in the hand and thanks to the new matt surface it is now easier to grip. The flattened side that holds the pencil to the iPad also has a positive effect here, as it gives you a good place for your index finger or thumb. The stylus is not too thick and not that heavy, so it can easily be used for several hours at a time - this pays off especially on long school days.

apple ipad Pro 11" (2020) Apple Pencil

The Apple Pencil is magnetically charged on the side of the iPad. (Image: TechnikNews)

Compared to the first generation, double tapping with one finger was also added. In the settings of the iPad there is a point where you can define what should happen with this gesture. You can either switch to the eraser in a drawing or note-taking app, jump to the last tool you used, or view the color palette. The whole thing works not only in standard Apple apps, but also in third-party apps such as GoodNotes. The only drawback to this functionality: In my test, I often noticed that there were incorrect entries. This happened especially often when I just put the pen to one side.

Smart Keyboard Folio

The Smart Keyboard Folio is similar to the Smart Keyboard for older iPads, with the great advantage that the weird origami mechanism is no longer necessary. The case is completely magnetic and can be folded up like a book with the iPad. So far so good, but the magnets in the folio give me a little headache. Well, no matter how crooked I hold it, the iPad has never fallen out. However, only a light press is enough to bring the tablet out of its current position.

apple ipad Pro 11" (2020) keyboard angle

Picture: TechnikNews

Compared to the older Smart Keyboard, what is new is that there are two different angles. Most of the time I used the second stage because it is more comfortable for me to work with. But when I sit at my desk for FaceTimen, the steeper angle is better because I usually sit in a not so upright position.

The feel of the keys is completely the same as on the previous version of the keyboard. Apple didn't change anything here, which didn't bother me at all. A big plus point of this keyboard is that no liquids or dirt can penetrate and damage the keys.

Why not a Magic Keyboard?

But David, why don't you have the new Magic Keyboard where the iPad Pro even floating in the air?

In the run-up I thought a lot about which keyboard it should be for my iPad. Sure, the Magic Keyboard in combination with the iPad looks super futuristic at first. In addition, typing is a little softer and the keys are backlit. And on top of that you also get a small trackpad. But when it comes to using the pen, you have to use the iPad Pro 11" (2020) from the holder and place it on the table without protection. Since this scenario is fairly common for me, the Magic Keyboard just wasn't an option for me as I don't want to scratch my iPad just by moving it around.

Do I regret this decision? No, not at all. I am already used to these keys and have written several articles and reviews for this iPad keyboard combo TechnikNews, including this one. The Magic Keyboard would simply limit me in everyday life, despite the pluses that it would bring with it.

Please don't get me wrong! If one of you never needs the pen at all and is typing texts all day on your iPad, the Magic Keyboard is clearly the better choice.

Specifications

The iPad Pro from 2020 is powered by the in-house A12Z Bionic. This is basically the A12X Bionic from 2018, except for another one Proprocessor core of the graphics unit has been activated. But do you notice that in everyday life? Nope! Nevertheless, you can hardly bring the iPad to its knees. During my testing, there was no crashing of iPadOS or any app, nor was there any longer waiting times anywhere. It didn't matter whether I was surfing in Safari with a few tabs or playing Oceanhorn 2 and editing photos with Photoshop or Lightroom. The iPad clearly lives up to its name here. Numerically, the tablet scores 712.218 in Antutu, 1.120 in the Geekbench single-core score, and we have 4.643 in the multi-core score. Compared to the A12X, that's just one very small jump and in the single score the Processor has even been overtaken by the new A14 Bionic.

I own the entry-level version of the iPad Pro, which means that my version has 128 gigabytes of memory. For those who can't get by with that, Apple also offers options with more memory, but the maximum is a terabyte. A variant with 64 gigabytes is no longer offered. While I've always been fine with this size, more storage for the same price is always nice to have. Since I store my data in the cloud anyway, I don't use up more of the available space than before. Alternatively, you can also move your files to external storage media - this has only really been possible since the release of iPadOS 13.

The RAM in the Apple iPad Pro 11" (2020) is six gigabytes in size. Everyone should be able to deal with that. I never managed to use many apps at the same time and had to reload one of them. The main memory is definitely sufficient for using larger apps.

The battery life never got in the way when using it, as you already know from other iPads. The battery has a capacity of 28,65 watt hours. On one of my usual days I got the battery straight through the whole time with a running time of about eight to nine hours. Thanks to the included 18-watt power adapter, the tablet is quickly ready for use again. In my test, a full charge took about two hours. That is viel better than with the 5-watt plug that Apple supplied with older models.

For a connection to the Internet, Wi-Fi ac is available in all configurations for connections with 2,4 gigahertz and 5 gigahertz networks. A version with an LTE module is optionally available for a small surcharge. The iPads are not yet capable of 5G.

Software

The iPad is coming Pro still with iPadOS 13 ex works (usually it is currently iPadOS 13.7), but you can download and install the update for iPadOS 14 during setup. The new home screen widgets are also the big innovation in the operating system for the iPad. They are placed in the sidebar that Apple introduced with iPadOS 13 - unfortunately they cannot be spread across the home screen.

With iPadOS 13.4, support for external mice and trackpads was added. Either you use an accessory like the aforementioned Magic Keyboard to make use of the functionality, or you use a mouse or your own trackpad. Once such an input device is connected, a small circular cursor appears on the screen when you use it. The special thing about the whole thing is that it can adapt to the context of the current software. For example, if you are on the home screen and touch an app icon, the cursor takes on the shape of this. Or it can be used as a small highlighter in Notes or Word, making it easier to mark individual passages or larger passages. In my opinion, Apple did everything right with integrating support. Everything feels so logical because the controls have been precisely tailored to the iPad. Even as a newbie you don't have to worry too much about how it works.

Of course, the surface can still be operated with your finger, the Apple Pencil or with key combinations on a keyboard. The special feature of using the Apple Pencil is that you can write in text fields to fill them out. Apple calls this "scribbling". I rarely used this in my test, as the system rarely gets used to my handwriting and tends to spit out incorrect results. I don't think my writing is overly hideous now, though.

The App Store breathes new life into the iPad Pro only really enter life. No matter what you are looking for, the App Store offers a suitable app for everything. Be it MindNode for creating MindMaps, Word or the fabulous Ulysses for writing texts, Todoist for managing your task, GoodNotes for handwritten notes, Google Drive for storing files or YouTube and Netflix for entertainment in between - the App Store has them all. If you're new to Apple's app marketplace, you'll notice that many apps are either paid or offer a paid subscription after installation. Maybe not everyone welcomes that. My opinion is that the store really has some masterpieces. And for good ProI am happy to spend money on products that ideally also spice up my everyday life. Also, apps are much better adapted to the available display real estate (with a few lousy exceptions like Instagram). This is largely not the case with Android apps on tablets. The App Store also gives you access to Apple Arcade. This is a game subscription where you can play for around five euros pro month or around 50 euros pro year gets access to several 100 premium titles.

MindNode - Mind Map & Outline
Price: Free of charge+
Microsoft Word
Price: Free of charge+
‎Ulysses Mobile
Price: Free of charge+
‎Todoist: To Do List & Planner
Price: Free of charge+
‎Good Notes 6
Price: Free of charge+
Google Drive - file storage
Price: Free of charge+
YouTube
Price: Free of charge+
Netflix
Price: Free of charge+

Otherwise, the OS didn't change compared to last year, which is why I recommend that you take a look at my iPad Air 3 test report, which is linked above, if you want to find out more details. My highlights are still the integrated dark mode and the many multitasking options. Slide Over, which is an option, I described a year ago here more accurate.

While using the system, I noticed small errors here and there. Although these did not limit the user experience, they were still noticeable. For example, the screenshot menu gave me several problems. That's not nice, and Apple could certainly do better. However, it's not as bad as with iPadOS 13, and to be honest, I'm used to these little bugs by now - as strange as it may sound. However, these are often fixed by installing software updates.

Camera

Now let's take a quick look at the cameras. In principle, I am still of the opinion that a tablet is absolutely unsuitable as a main camera (what else are there smartphones for?). However, I also believe that the iPad can be very useful as a “replacement camera” in some situations - this is how I will classify it in the evaluation.

On the back we have a dual camera, with a wide-angle sensor with 12 megapixels (f / 1.8) and an ultra-wide-angle sensor with 10 megapixels (f / 2.4). With this it is not only possible to take normal pictures, but also to snap panoramas and portraits. The results look very good, sharp and colorful for a tablet - you can definitely use them if you don't have an iPhone at hand. But as soon as the light conditions get worse, there is a layer in the shaft.

Apple also installed a LiDAR sensor on the back for applications with Augumented Reality (AR). This measures how long it takes for a transmitted light beam to be reflected by an object and to arrive again. This allows AR objects to be placed more precisely and photos in poor lighting conditions to be more detailed.

The front camera has a resolution of seven megapixels (f / 2.2) and can record videos in 1080p. Thanks to the sensors for Face ID, it also supports portrait mode and the Animoji feature. Should you ever feel the need to snap selfies with the iPad, the front camera is also totally sufficient. It is much more likely to be used in FaceTimen. For my interlocutors, I was always represented sharply and lifelike with regard to the colors. In bad light there was always a slight noise.

Prices and availability

The iPad Pro You can get it from Apple, Amazon and MediaMarkt, among others. You have to pay 879 euros (RRP) for the entry-level configuration. The Apple Pencil costs an additional 135 euros and Apple charges 199 euros for the Smart Keyboard Folio. If you are interested in the Magic Keyboard, you have to dig a little deeper into your pocket. Apple is calling for 339 euros for this.

apple ipad Pro 11" (2020): Conclusion

The iPad Pro is a helpful companion in everyday life. It's compact, light and portable, offers reliable performance and long battery life, and the App Store has every app you need to get things done. The thing with the performance of the Proprocessor compared to that of the A14 Bionic in the iPad Air 4 and the associated future of the smaller one ProI look critically in the eye. Concerning Prozessor already overtakes the cheaper iPad from the more expensive one Pro, and in all other respects the Air comes dangerously close to the iPad Pro with 11 inches. The only real added value of the small iPad Pro is currently only that ProMotion display and the faster transfer rates of the USB-C port. Presumably, a new iPad Pro be clearly superior to the Air, but at the moment I would recommend the Air to most interested parties instead of the small one Pros recommend – so this should have a little more difficulty in the coming months.

I couldn't fault the workmanship. But I'll still be more careful with the device because I don't want my iPad to bend or anything else to happen in that direction. I also hope that the display bezels will not become even thinner in the future, as you can no longer touch the tablet properly. So far, I was also satisfied with the Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard Folio. Apple could only reduce the sensitivity of the double-tap feature a little in the future.

The cameras are by no means as good as in the iPhones, but they are definitely sufficient for occasional recordings.

In principle, iPadOS was a lot of fun to use, but the constant errors in the software are a bit annoying. I hope that Apple will get a better grip on this in the future, even if iPadOS 14 is much more stable than iPadOS 13 was. On the other hand, I really liked things like the cursor integration again. It was very important to Apple that the controls look as natural as possible. And in my opinion that worked very well.

Whether I use the iPad Pro can recommend, so it depends on what you need it for. It is perfect for creative work, for example. Thanks to the available computing power, graphics-hungry applications run like clockwork. If you don't count yourself among this or a similar target group, the Air 4 is definitely a better choice.

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David Haydl

David lives in Graz and has been there for around half a decade TechnikNews, also editor-in-chief for some time. He regularly provides the site with news, test reports and the like TechnikNews Weekly, which was his idea to launch. He likes to spend his free time outdoors, listening to a lot of music (and clearly too loud) and some podcasts on all kinds of topics, and also likes to go running. He enjoys the time that remains with his charming girlfriend or in front of the TV.

David has already written 1252 articles and left 116 comments.

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