Apple iPad Pro, 12.9-inch (256GB)

Last updated date: July 9, 2019

DWYM Score
9.2

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We looked at the top 1 Tablets and dug through the reviews from 6 of the most popular review sites including BestReviews, New York Times Wirecutter, Tech Radar, Laptop Magazine, Pocket-lint, PG Magazine - SE Asia and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Tablet you should buy.

Overall Take

Though it's expensive, the 12.9-inch Apple iPad Pro is so worth it if you need tons of storage space, two stellar cameras and cool features, like the Apple pencil. It's the thinnest iPad ever, so you won't feel like you're lugging around a mini computer here. In our analysis of 146 expert reviews, the Apple Apple iPad Pro, 12.9-inch (256GB) placed 1st when we looked at the top 21 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note August 1, 2019:
Checkout The Best Tablet for a detailed review of all the top tablets.

Expert Summarized Score
8.1
6 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.7
926 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Includes new FaceID sign in tech. The liquid retina display makes the massive screen seem even bigger.
- BestReviews
Many of the media-heavy tasks that the Pro models are best suited for will generate large files, and the higher-resolution screen of the 12.9-inch Pro means apps will often be larger to include correspondingly higher-resolution app graphics.
- New York Times Wirecutter
March 19, 2019 | Full review
The iPad Pro 12.9 is as big as a computer and, thanks to iOS 11, it acts more like a computer operating system.
- Tech Radar
October 25, 2018 | Full review
The 7-nanometer A12X Bionic chip inside the iPad Pro is so fast we almost did a spit take when we tested the CPU in our labs. This processor packs four performance cores and four high-efficiency cores, and there's a new GPU that promises twice the graphics performance as the A10X processor inside the last iPad Pro provided.
- Laptop Magazine
December 20, 2018 | Full review
The new Apple iPad Pro 12.9 runs on the A12X Bionic chip with embedded M12 coprocessor and a Neural Engine
- Pocket-lint
November 7, 2018 | Full review
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is really big. It's 12.04 by 8.68 by 0.27 inches and about 1.5 pounds; it weighs a few ounces more with the almost-mandatory $169 Smart Keyboard case.
- PG Magazine - SE Asia
What experts didn't like
Third-party apps like excel are kludgy on the ipad despite on its improved performance.
- BestReviews
The iPad Pro’s biggest downside, especially when viewed as a laptop replacement, is iOS. iOS 12 is a great tablet operating system, but it can come up short as productivity software. Getting work done an iPad Pro simply isn’t as intuitive as it is on a desktop or laptop computer.
- New York Times Wirecutter
March 19, 2019 | Full review
You can shoot video at 4K resolution with the rear camera, and 1080p with the front-facing one. However, even though this is a plus-sized iPad Pro there's no optical image stabilization, and you won’t find a dual-lens camera on any iPad just yet.
- Tech Radar
October 25, 2018 | Full review
My biggest gripe with the iPad Pro is the short, 1-meter power cable. It didn't even reach to my kitchen table from a very close wall. Apple sells a 2-meter USB-C cable for $19, but that accessory should have been included.
- Laptop Magazine
December 20, 2018 | Full review
The lack of mouse support leaves you frequently reaching for the screen to tap interface elements, which can be ergonomically awkward.
- PG Magazine - SE Asia

From The Manufacturer

12. 9-Inch edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display with Promotion, true Tone, and wide Color. A12X Bionic chip with Neural Engine. Face ID for secure authentication and Apple Pay. 12MP back camera, 7MP FaceTime HD Front camera. Four speaker Audio with wider Stereo sound. 802. 11AC Wi-Fi and gigabit-class LTE cellular data. Up to 10 hours of battery life. Usb-c connector for charging and accessories.

Overall Product Rankings

1. Apple iPad Pro, 12.9-inch (256GB)
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 6
2. Apple iPad, 9.7-inch (128GB)
Overall Score: 9.0
Expert Reviews: 5
3. Samsung Galaxy Tab A, 10.1-Inch 16 GB
Overall Score: 9.0
Expert Reviews: 7
4. Huawei MediaPad M5
Overall Score: 8.9
Expert Reviews: 5
5. Apple iPad Pro (11-inch, Wi-Fi, 64GB)
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 9
6. Apple iPad Pro 10.5 inch
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 7
7. Apple iPad 6
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 8
8. Apple iPad mini 4
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 9
9. Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 9
10. Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
Overall Score: 8.3
Expert Reviews: 9
11. Apple iPad Pro
Overall Score: 8.3
Expert Reviews: 8
12. Amazon Fire HD 10
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 3
13. Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
Overall Score: 8.0
Expert Reviews: 7
14. Amazon Fire HD 8
Overall Score: 7.5
Expert Reviews: 4
15. Samsung Galaxy Tab E 9.6-Inch
Overall Score: 7.4
Expert Reviews: 3
16. Amazon Fire 7 Kids
Overall Score: 7.3
Expert Reviews: 4
17. Amazon Fire 7 Tablet
Overall Score: 7.3
Expert Reviews: 11
18. Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 2
Overall Score: 7.1
Expert Reviews: 6
19. Samsung Galaxy Tab A, 7-Inch
Overall Score: 7.0
Expert Reviews: 1
20. ASUS 10.1” Transformer Mini 128GB
Overall Score: 6.8
Expert Reviews: 4
21. Samsung Galaxy Tab E Lite
Overall Score: 6.1
Expert Reviews: 2

An Overview On Tablets

Whether you’re bored on the train or stranded in your doctor’s waiting room, a tablet can keep you entertained. Depending on the apps you’ve downloaded, you can work, read, catch up on your favorite TV show or just play a quick game of Candy Crush Saga.

But when it comes to tablets, not all are created equal. The iPad may have become synonymous with the model, but there are many other versions available. Amazon’s Kindle, which started out as a simple e-reader, has expanded to include apps, games and video streaming. Over time, this has put it on par with all the other tablets on the market.

If you’re shopping for a tablet, though, there are plenty of things to consider. First of all, where will you be using it? If you see yourself lounging by the pool this summer and catching up on the latest beach reads, outside screen visibility is a huge factor. On the other hand, if you think you’ll be downloading hours of Netflix movies to watch on your overseas flight, storage is a must.

In most areas, you can’t go wrong with an iPad. But whether you choose the standard or Pro model also depends on your own unique needs. The newer Pro releases feature the much-touted liquid retina display, which offers a viewing experience like no other. But you’ll have to pay extra for that, so it’s important to know in advance how much the feature matters to you.

Headphone jacks are also an important issue if you’re buying a tablet. As with the iPhone, newer iPads feature only a lightning port, which makes it difficult to charge your tablet and listen to audio at the same time. You’ll also need to consider what accessories you need, including whether you need a keyboard or what type of case you want.

As important as the viewing experience is, though, portability is also a significant factor. Unless you’re going for an iPad Mini, you’ll get the smallest and most lightweight tablet with the Amazon Fire HD 8. It may not seem like much at the moment, but when you’re sliding your tablet into your backpack to take with you on vacation, every extra ounce will matter.

Lastly, your budget will factor heavily into the type of tablet you buy. Although tablets are largely more affordable than laptops, there is still a wide variation in price between the Kindle Fire and any of the latest iPads. If you’re simply looking for a device for reading books and playing a few games, the Fire may do the trick. However, for fuller functionality, you may want to save enough to go for the pricier iPad.

DYWM Fun Fact

If you’re going to invest in a tablet, you may as well learn all the cool things you can do with it. Yet many owners have their devices for years without knowing all of their capabilities. You can use an app called Splashtop to get to your other computers from wherever you are and stream photos and video from your tablet to your TV. If you have an Amazon Fire Stick, you can see what’s on your Fire HD 8 tablet on your TV screen using Display Mirroring. And this doesn’t even include the many extra activities and features you can access once you download the right apps.

The Tablet Buying Guide

  • One of the best things about a tablet is that you can take it on the go. If you want to slide it into a purse or laptop bag, though, size does matter. The Amazon Fire 10 is smaller than the latest iPads on the market, with dimensions of 10.3” X 6.3” and thicknesses of 0.4.” If you’re looking at iPads, though, the standard iPad will be the smallest, at 9.4” X 6.6” and 0.29” thickness.
  • As crucial as portability is, you also need an adequate screen size for screening videos, playing games or whatever activities you plan to do on your tablet. The nearly 10-inch height of the iPad Pro is designed for that reason. On the latest iPad Pro, you’ll get an 11-inch display, compared to the 10-inch display of the more compact Amazon Fire HD 10.
  • Size isn’t the only factor when considering a tablet’s screen. iPads feature a liquid retina display, which uses a larger number of pixels to create a screen as smooth as print on paper. Although the Fire HD 10 boasts a 1920 X 1200 high-definition picture, the difference is very noticeable when compared side by side with an iPad.
  • As you’re toting your tablet around, weight becomes an increasingly important issue. Weight is pretty straightforward with the iPad and iPad Pro, which all measure 1.03 pounds with the Wi-Fi model. Add an additional 0.02 pounds for the cellular-enabled model. You’ll save a little weight with the Amazon Fire 10, which totals only 17.7 ounces.
  • One weakness of tablets has been outdoor readability. If you’re planning to pack up your tablet and take your favorite beach read to the actual beach, that’s an important feature. Although nothing beats a paper-based book or even the Kindle Paperwhite, the retina display on the iPad 7 and 8 comes close. You’ll also find the Fire HD 10’s automatic lighting adjustment works well when you’re outside.
  • Today’s top tablets automatically adjust to the lighting in the room you’re in. If this is important to you, stick with the Fire HD 10 or iPad Pro since the regular iPad doesn’t have that feature.
  • If you’re planning to watch movies or play games on your tablet, power is everything. The Kindle Fire falls short in this area, but you can take your pick of the iPad editions. For best results, splurge on the latest iPad Pro, which promises to be three times faster than previous editions.
  • Tablets can be great for storing music and photos. You can even download movies and TV shows to watch when you’ll be away from Wi-Fi for a while. But you’ll need plenty of storage for this. The latest iPad offers up to a full terabyte of storage, provided you buy the most expensive version. The Fire HD 10 offers only 32 GB of storage, but you can expand up to 400 GB using a MicroSD card.
  • You’re probably planning to watch films or TV series on your new tablet. For that, you’ll need a headphone jack, especially if you’ll be listening in public. One negative to the latest iPads: the lack of a headphone jack, which means you’ll need a special lightning-equipped set of earbuds to listen. Even then, if you’re trying to charge and listen, you’ll run into trouble since there’s only one jack for that. If headphones matter to you, consider the Fire HD 10, which has a standard 3.5mm stereo jack.
  • Before you buy, decide whether you’ll need to be able to move files from your tablet to another device. Much of this sort of thing is done through the iCloud these days, but with Apple, it can be complicated if your other devices aren’t Apple products. The Kindle Fire isn’t much better. In either case, you’ll need to connect your device using a USB and move the files manually.
  • Apps are an important part of tablet ownership. It’s important to note that with any Amazon tablet, you’ll need access to an Amazon Prime membership to listen to music and watch movies. The iPad, however, lets you download whatever apps you need, although you’ll still need to pay for many of them. With the Samsung Galaxy tablet, you can download apps through Google Play.
  • Every tablet needs accessories. Look into the options for keyboards and covers. If a keyboard is important to you, you’ll want to stick with the iPad Pro, since the standard version doesn’t have the keyboard connector.
  • Tablets can find themselves in some precarious situations, often landing in the hands of children or enduring adventure-filled vacations. That makes ruggedness an important consideration. Neither Amazon’s nor Apple’s models are waterproof, nor are they designed to withstand extreme conditions. However, you can buy cases that will offer protection.
  • If you’re heading out for the day, it’s important to have a tablet that will last. The latest iPad Pro promises up to 10 hours of battery life. The Fire HD 10 promises the same, but the battery tends to drain much faster if you’re doing activities like streaming video.
  • When your battery does run down, it can help to have a battery that charges fairly quickly. The newer iPads feature Apple’s quick-charging capabilities, but you’ll need the right accessories.
  • Digital pencils are all the rage. If you want to draw, handwrite or just make gaming a little easier, consider an iPad. The latest models are all compatible with the Apple Pencil.
  • All that aside, though, price is perhaps the biggest differentiator. You can get a new Amazon Fire HD 10 for around $120 — even cheaper if you catch it on sale. The standard iPad goes for around $350, while Pro versions tend to be more in the $1,000 range.
  • It’s worth noting that tablet design hasn’t changed much since Microsoft revealed the first one in 2000. The design was very similar to what’s seen on the market today. In 2002, Microsoft launched a version with Windows XP that continued the design.