Is the new iPad Pro worth it? Hands-on review

Apple has added, for the first time, a 10.5-inch size to the iPad lineup.

Is the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro a worthy upgrade? Read on.

Bigger screen but same iPad size 

This is probably the single most important advancement. Apple has managed to make the new iPad Pro’s display 20 percent larger than the previous 9.7-inch iPad without appreciably increasing the size of the entire device. Apple did this by reducing the size of the display bezels.

A 20 percent jump in screen size makes a difference. It’s analogous to going from the small 12-inch MacBook’s screen to the mainstream-sized 13.3-inch MacBook Pro’s display. It’s something you notice right away. Particularly when using the on-screen keyboard: the larger the on-screen keyboard, the easier it is to type.

Also impressive is that the weight is almost the same -- the previous 9.7-incher was 0.96 pounds, the new 10-5-incher is 1.03 pounds.

Faster than a MacBook? 

Apple’s processors are getting so fast that they rival or exceed some Intel laptop chips in speed.

Apple claims the new A10X Fusion chip in the 10.5-inch iPad Pro is 30 percent faster than previous iPad Pro. In the hands-on time I spent with the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, it was very fast at doing the kind of limited multitasking – switching between apps possible on the iOS.

Battery life is good 

Apple’s strategy is basically to increase performance on each generation of iPad without decreasing battery life. I didn’t have the time to fully test the new iPad's battery life but reviews point to battery life that is either the same or slightly better than Apple’s rated 10 hours.

Apple Pencil is more like the real thing

(10.5-inch iPad Pro Credit: Apple)

I’m not an artist but that didn’t stop me from spending a lot of time trying out the Apple Pencil. Apple almost begs you to use the Pencil because of all the pre-installed apps, including Procreate, Photoshop Mix and Adobe Sketch.

Apple has made improvements to the iPad Pro display to make the Apple Pencil feel more responsive and more like the real thing.

My overall impression is, the Pencil has a ton of powerful digital sketching/editing capabilities not possible with a real pad and paper. That said, it still can't mimic the feel of a real pad and pencil.

The iPad Pro doesn't yet have iOS 11, which won’t arrive until this fall. The new operating system will make multitasking more powerful. And, most importantly, you will get access to the kind of file system that laptops use.

It's not a bargain 

Pricing for the new iPad Pro starts at $649 with 64GB of storage and Wi-Fi only. That jumps to $779 if you add in LTE connectivity.

The Apple Pencil for iPad Pro is sold separately for $99 and the Smart Keyboard is also sold separately for $159.