During the weekend I had the opportunity to use my brand new iPad Pro, specifically to watch HDR content. You can easily watch content on HDR nowadays, with Netflix, Disney+ and even Apple TV offering their lineup of content on HDR.
The 5th generation iPad Pro 12.9 inch features a Mini LED display that pushes the boundaries of screen brightness to its highest ever seen on a tablet. The screen is capable to reaching up to 1600nits peak brightness and 1000nits full-screen brightness. It has over 10,000 mini LEDs packed within the 12.9 inch display, grouped into 2500 zones. All these translates to deeper blacks and brighter whites, rivalling close to that of OLED displays without any of the shortcomings that OLED displays come with.
So what were my first impressions about the screen? One word: Fantastic.
Honestly, when Apple announced that they were going to introduce their ‘XDR’ display on their brand new iPad Pros, featuring Mini LEDs, I was skeptical at first. It looks good on paper, but I wasn’t initially expecting that much of a difference between the 4th and 5th generation iPad Pros.
But after watching a couple of HDR videos on Apple TV, and watching some HDR video clips on YouTube, I was very surprised that I could appreciate the amount of difference the screen makes between the two iPad Pros. The latest model could now display deep blacks that, previously, only OLED displays could achieve. Previous displays have a slight backlight bleed due to the always-on backlight, making blacks, more of a very dark or bluish tint to the display, which is pretty obvious when observing under dark conditions. But now, with the mini LEDs, black areas in a scene are essentially unlit areas, thus achieving that truly black look.
Another difference I noticed was how immersive the screen becomes. While watching HDR content, I enjoy the content even more. My eyes are drawn deeper into the screen. The higher display brightness that the screen is able to achieve certainly helps with the immersion. Colours just pop, but not overly so. While watching HDR content at full brightness, I sometimes have to squint due to the brightness. It is that bright at times, trust me.
In terms of performance, I can’t say much except that it is snappy across the board. It has always been snappy for me even on the previous model, since I don’t use iPad Pro intensively like video editing or any A.I. related work.
One thing I did noticed is that app switching is now much snappier, and I notice much less app refresh when the apps are actively being used upon switching them. I think this is due to more RAM being afforded by the new iPad Pros, 8GB for the lower end storage options and 16GB for the higher end ones. Mine comes with 8GB because I chose the 256GB storage options, which is more than enough for me on both fronts, RAM and storage.
In all honesty, I don’t really need the extra performance or the brighter screen. My previous iPad Pro has always suited my needs just fine. This latest model is more of an impulse buy, keeping up with the Joneses as the saying go. It’s something that is nice to have, but not essentially.
Regardless, I am going to tremendously enjoy this new device, as I have always been when it comes to the iPad Pros.