M1 iPad Pro Review: The Best iPad, But Still an iPad

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 19 May 2021

2021 M1 iPad Pro: 11-inch vs 12.9-inch iPad Pro

Reviews of Apple’s 2021 iPad Pro lineup with the M1 chip are out, a day after the 24-inch M1 iMac reviews were published. Apple has already confirmed the 24-inch iMac and the new iPad Pro lineup will go on sale from later this week starting May 21. Below is a review roundup of the iPad Pro from major publications.

Over the last few years, the problem with the iPad Pro lineup has been that it has felt limited due to the OS it is running. This year, the story is again the same: impressive hardware that’s held back by the software it is running.

M1 iPad Pro Review Roundup

The Verge

The Verge iPad Pro Review

If you want the M1 12.9-inch iPad Pro for its Liquid Retina XDR display, you might want to think twice. While an improvement over the regular LCD panel found on the smaller 11-inch iPad Pro, you are only going to notice its benefits while watching videos or photos. But once the benefits of the display are obvious, you can’t unsee the improvements it brings.

The joke I’ve been telling people is that the display is so good that Tenet actually makes sense when you watch it on this iPad Pro. HDR content is incredible on this screen. I am not a display quality enthusiast, but this screen is functionally equivalent to a high-end OLED TV to my eyes, especially in a dark room.

Like with the previous iPad Pro, the new M1 models also fall short when using them to get any real work done.

To me, the biggest difference between the Mac and the iPad at this point isn’t the touchscreen, it’s Apple’s approach to the operating system. On the iPad, Apple would rather not offer a feature than have it work in a non-iPad way. That’s noble, but it means the company has committed itself to reinventing a lot of wheels in computing: files, peripheral support, multi-window interfaces, and all the rest have to be re-thought and re-done.

The Center Stage feature on the M1 iPad Pro is impressive and makes the new iPads ideal for video calls. The feature already works across all video calling apps.

One new invention I love is the Center Stage feature. It zooms and follows human faces to keep them centered in the frame of the iPad’s wide-angle front facing camera. It works in any video conferencing app without the need for setup and it performs very well, better than similar features on smart displays like the Echo Show or Facebook Portal.



iMore iPad Pro Review

The M1 chip inside the iPad Pro is fast, but you will not notice the improvements right away, even if you are upgrading from the 2018 iPad Pro.

While the M1 is significantly faster in synthetic benchmarks compared to anything Apple’s put out before, even the A14 Bionic found in the iPad Air and iPhone 12 series, the day-to-day differences using the majority of the apps I open daily are limited. Like most of Apple’s hardware upon release, the iPad Pro already has enormous amounts of performance headroom.

The Mini-LED display on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro really shines when watching HDR content.

This is most obvious when watching content, particularly HDR content such as movies or shows encoded in Dolby Vision, since it’s been specifically designed to take advantage of the iPad’s wider color gamut, higher contrast ratio, and increased brightness. I watched a few minutes of Star Wars Episode IX on Disney+ in a darkened room next to the 2018 iPad Pro, and the differences were stark.


Check out some iPad Pro unboxing videos and reviews below as well.