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M4 iPad Pro Reviews: Incredible Speed and Display Hampered By Software

The M4 iPad Pro models are set to be delivered to customers starting on Wednesday, May 15, and ahead of that date, members of the media have shared their opinions on the device in official reviews.

Written Reviews

With M4 chips, OLED displays, and a thin and light design, the new ‌iPad Pro‌ models mark a significant upgrade over the prior-generation versions.

M4 Chip Performance

The ‌iPad Pro‌ is equipped with Apple's next-generation M4 chip, and as Engadget points out, it offers "more power than almost anyone buying an iPad will know what to do with."

Gizmodo said the M4 "feels more like a fork of the M3 than real new hardware." As an example, an Octane X rendering test took 1 minute and 53 seconds with the M4, and the same test on a MacBook Air with M3 chip took 57 seconds.
If I run Octane X on the latest MacBook Air 15 with the same amount of RAM as my review copy of the iPad Pro, it will run down the screw scene in about 57 seconds. There aren't many ways to compare Apples to Apples from a tablet ecosystem to a full-fledged Mac. For one, the iPad doesn't have an easy, established way of tracking framerates in games. But for the sake of argument, I loaded up Resident Evil 4 on iPad Pro 2024, iPad Pro 2022, and the M3 MacBook Air. All ran with a relatively solid performance on the default low-to-mid settings. There are no graphics options on the iPad, but the two look identical across the older and new tablets.

According to The Verge, the M4 ‌iPad Pro‌ scored 50 percent higher than the M3 version in benchmark tests, but while it feels faster, it doesn't feel 50 percent faster. There likely isn't a way to tell the difference between the 9-core and 10-core M4 ‌iPad Pro‌ models.
Apps load and close a half-beat faster with the M4, even complex games run perfectly smooth (I still can't believe how good Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile looks on this device), and iMovie renders video noticeably more quickly than on the 11-inch M2 Pro I've been using for a couple of years. Individually, these aren't earth-shattering upgrades, but particularly if you're doing a lot of intense photo and video work or even love a long Warzone session, it's a real performance bump.


Despite the incredible performance that the M4 chip brings, reviewers pointed out the shortcomings of iPadOS. SixColors Jason Snell said that the ‌iPad Pro‌ is able to "handle pretty much any task it's capable of executing," but that it's "let down by iPadOS limitations."

Longtime ‌iPad‌ user Federico Viticci of MacStories didn't share a full review of the new ‌iPad‌, but he penned a piece pointing out the many shortcomings of iPadOS. It's well worth a read to see what it's like using an ‌iPad‌ as a main machine, with highlights on the pain points of multitasking, limited apps, and more.

The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern said that using the ‌iPad Pro‌ is like "driving a Ferrari on a golf course" because the iPhone-based operating system hampers what the ‌iPad‌ could be capable of doing.

Gizmodo said that despite the creativity apps available on the ‌iPad‌, it "still isn't direct competition for the versatility of a MacBook" and it's not a good platform for those who want to "multitask on multiple windows."

Almost every review mentioned the shortcomings of iPadOS as the major fault with the new ‌iPad Pro‌ models.

OLED Display

Engadget said that the new ‌iPad Pro‌ is "incredibly bright, sharp, and vibrant" regardless of task. Going from an LCD to OLED is a massive upgrade, but updating from the mini-LED model won't feel quite as impressive.
Everything is incredibly bright, sharp and vibrant, whether I'm browsing the web, editing photos, watching movies or playing games. I cannot stress enough how delightful this screen is -- I have a flight this week, and I can't wait to spend it watching movies. Watching a selection of scenes from Interstellar shows off the HDR capabilities as well as the contrast between the blackness of space and the brightness of surrounding stars and galaxies, while more vibrant scenes like the Shire in Fellowship of the Ring had deep and gorgeous colors without feeling overly saturated or unrealistic.

TechCrunch said that the optional nano-texture matte add-on brought an "extra level of tactility" and "welcome friction" to the ‌iPad‌'s display when using it with an Apple Pencil. The OLED display is noticeably brighter than the LCD display of the iPad Air, but it may not be an upgrade worth $500 for most users.

The Verge said that the OLED display "works beautifully" and that colors can even look like they have too much HDR. It can also have more glare and reflection than expected.
All of the traditional upsides of OLED are immediately apparent: since OLEDs control each pixel individually, you get much richer blacks, so the letterboxes above and below a video just disappear into the bezel, and photos look much more dynamic. Colors are incredibly vibrant -- to the point of occasionally looking too contrasty and HDR-y to my eyes. The Pro's peak brightness is significantly brighter than the new Air, too, which is tough to pull off with an OLED.


Jason Snell of SixColors said that while the ‌iPad Pro‌'s internals have been updated, it looks a lot like a "thinner version of the 2018-era design." It's a "good design" that didn't need to be updated, but the lighter weight makes it less awkward to hold in one hand.

There continues to be just one Thunderbolt 4 port that limits connecting external devices and charging at the same time without a dock.

Engadget went further and said that the thinner design and lighter weight "radically" changes the experience of holding the 13-inch ‌iPad Pro‌, and it's now comfortable to use as a hand-held tablet.
But with something like an iPad, where you're meant to pick it up, hold it and touch it, shaving off a quarter of a pound and 20 percent of its thickness actually makes a huge difference in the experience of using the product. It's more comfortable and easier to use -- and, provided that there are no durability concerns here, this is a major improvement.

The Verge said that the ‌iPad Pro‌ is the "closest thing" to the vision that a tablet should feel "like a piece of glass in your hand."

Apple Pencil Pro and Magic Keyboard

SixColors' Jason Snell said that the Magic Keyboard is an improvement over the original model thanks to the full function row, the larger trackpad, and the addition of haptic feedback. With aluminum, it feels "a bit more like one of Apple's laptops."

Engadget said that the Magic Keyboard is thinner and lighter than before, for a more compact and portable feel.

According to iMore, the ‌Apple Pencil‌ Pro's squeeze gesture saves wasted hand movements and simplifies navigation, while the barrel roll option allows for flourishes and sweeps in supported software.

Other Features

Apple moved the camera to the landscape edge of the ‌iPad‌ rather than the portrait edge, which means video calls are now in the appropriate orientation when the ‌iPad‌ is connected to a keyboard, and that's a feature reviewers liked. CNBC said the camera is "finally in the right place."
The camera is finally in the right place. It's along the landscape edge of the iPad so that, when it's propped up, it's dead center for FaceTime calls. It used to be on the top of the iPad, forcing that awkward glance to the side during video calls. The quality was nice and clear during my tests and I like that the camera, using the Center Stage features, followed me as I moved around the room.

iMore commented on the speakers and said that they "sound pretty good" both for watching TV shows and for video calls.

Multiple reviews also covered battery life, and said that the ‌iPad Pro‌ gets the expected 10 hours that Apple advertises.


Pricing on the M4 ‌iPad Pro‌ begins at $999, and it can be purchased from Apple's website.
Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Buyer's Guide: iPad Pro (Buy Now)
Related Forum: iPad

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Source: TechRadar

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