Apple iPad Pro (6th Gen, 2022) review

The boss of high-end tablets is still a force to be reckoned with, and a serious option for creatives on the move.

iPad Pro (2022) on a book shelf.
(Image: © Future)

Digital Camera World Verdict

Even though the 12.9-inch iPad Pro came out in October 2022, it still looms large over the high-end tablet sector today, offering M2-power and speed, great features and apps for digital creatives, and a display that is a joy to behold. But even when paired with the excellent Magic Keyboard, it can't really replace a laptop as it still can't run full-fat Photoshop. So with it's eye-watering price tag, is the iPad Pro (2022) still worth it? For many, but not for all.

Pros

  • +

    Stunning screen

  • +

    Most powerful tablet today

  • +

    Nice camera features

  • +

    Photoshop Lite is good

Cons

  • -

    Photoshop Lite is not full Photoshop

  • -

    Costs same as a laptop

  • -

    Cannot replace a laptop

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At the time of writing, the 6th generation iPad Pro (2022) is the best iPad that Apple has ever released, with the largest 12.9-inch model boasting a spec sheet that should make the competition blush: A wicked-fast M2 chip; up to 16GB RAM and 2TB SSD; Apple Pencil 2 compatibility; a Thunderbolt port; and a beautiful Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED display. This is a serious tablet with loads of power, a great design, and enough features for us to crown it as the best tablet for photo editing and photographers. So what's not to like? 

With the next generation of iPad Pro rumored for an early 2024 release (potentially sporting an OLED display and M3 chip), is the 2022 iPad Pro still a good buy, or are its days of tab dominance numbered? Let's get into it...

Specifications

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 12.9-inch model11-inch model
Main camera10MP Ultra Wide, ƒ/2.4 aperture; 12MP Wide camera, ƒ/1.8 aperture10MP Ultra Wide, ƒ/2.4 aperture; 12MP Wide camera, ƒ/1.8 aperture
Selfie camera12MP Ultra Wide, ƒ/1.8 aperture12MP Ultra Wide, ƒ/1.8 aperture
DisplayLiquid Retina XDR, 2732x2048Liquid Retina display, 2388x1668
UnlockFace IDFace ID
SDR / XDR brightness600 nits / 1,000-1,600 nits600 nits
Memory8GB, 16GB8GB, 16GB
Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB
BatteryUp to 10 hours mixed useUp to 10 hours mixed use
PortUSB‑C with support for ThunderboltUSB‑C with support for Thunderbolt
ProcessorM2, 8-core CPU; 10-core GPU; 16-core Neural EngineM2, 8-core CPU; 10-core GPU; 16-core Neural Engine
Dimensions214.9mm x 280.6mm x 6.4mm178.5 mm x 247.6 mm x 5.9 mm
Weight682 grams466 grams

Display

(Image credit: Future)

Though the two iPad Pro models share many features, one big difference is that the larger model sports a mini-LED, Liquid Retina XDR display with 2732x2048 resolution – and that's the one I'm testing in this review. The iPad Pro's ProMotion tech offers the fastest refresh rates of all the iPads, doubling up to 120Hz. What does that mean? Well, when I tested this tablet – soon after testing the entry-level iPad 10th Gen) – I had a buttery-smooth scrolling experience, with both gaming and streaming as silky as I've experienced on a tablet. It may not be a deal-breaker for you, and you may not even notice the difference if you don't have another tablet to compare it to, but if you do, it sure is a pleasurable experience. 

This display is also crisp and bright. Really bright. It will reach 600 nits brightness full screen with SDR content, and hit up to 1,000 nits full screen with XDR content, with up to 1,600 nits for highlights. What does this mean in practice? It means that the image will pop in a darker work room, and will try to compete with the sun outdoors. Drawing and web surfing outside on a fairly well-lit February midday, I found the iPad Pro more than up to the task of giving me a crisp, bright image at all times. Perhaps testing in the middle of summer, under direct sunlight, would offer different results, but in my testing, I was impressed with the brightness and clarity of the image on this tablet. 

(Image credit: Future)

And this brightness, as well as its mini-LED screen, is why I'm not too worried about the rumored release of the new iPad Pro (2024) making this 2022 model redundant. It's rumoured that the new tab will have an OLED display, but with the excellent blacks achieved with this tab's mini-LED technology, and its OLED-matching brightness – so what?! This display will still be a stunning feat of technology in a month, even a couple of years' time. 

When you get the Apple Pencil out (the new USB version in my case), sketching and doodling are really fun on the iPad Pro (2022). The stylus is precise, and if other reviews are to be believed, the Apple Pencil 2 is even more so. Offering tilt and pressure sensors, making an array of marks is easy and intuitive with the USB Apple stylus on the iPad Pro. I also love how the Apple Pencil magnetically clips to the side of the tablet – a far more secure connection than with the iPad 10. However, it won't charge while attached like the Apple Pencil 2 will.  

Camera

Although the iPad Pro (2022) could be used by photo and video editors, it's hard to imagine that any serious photographer would ever use the iPad Pro's cameras, other than for video calls and the odd cat capture! The iPad Pro is also way too expensive to be considered a 'family tablet', being passed around a family for casual browsing a snapping. Still, the two cameras on the 2022 model are still worth scrutinizing a bit. 

First off, both front and rear cameras can take pics in portrait mode, which makes sense as the front camera also unlocks face ID. Of course, some photography purists may despise that, but for amateurs, the faux depth of field hack could be a nice touch. The rear camera takes vibrant pics, with decent contrast and as much detail as you'd expect from an Apple 12MP camera. There's also a 10MP Ultra Wide camera, and a LiDAR sensor, meaning quick focus, something that I definitely noticed while taking snaps of my ever-so-shy cat outside.

The front selfie camera is also 12MP and also has Center Stage, so while you're on a video call, the camera will seem to track you if you move. In fact, it just cuts into the ultra-wide view that it has and so appears to be tracking you. In any case, it's a nice feature on a nice camera. But as with the iPad 10, I naturally just ended up using the iPad 2022 as a bigger screen to show photos that I took on other devices, not photos that I took with the iPad. 

Design & Handling

(Image credit: Future)

In 2024, some are calling for a new design shake-up to the iPad Pro, as it's sported straight sides for several years now. I think if it's not broken, don't try and fix it, and love the straight edges of the Pro. And not just for aesthetic reasons. When taken away from the Magic Keyboard, I often had the iPad Pro propped up on my belly, or on a bit of duvet/sofa/random material. I noticed that with the straight edges, it was much more likely to stay fixed for longer compared to my (very old) curved-side iPad, which was more prone to slip down. 

One massive detractor when talking about the design of the iPad Pro is the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil. Not that I don't like them, but that I like them so much, and find that they complete the full iPad Pro experience to such a degree, that I genuinely feel annoyed for the customer who will have to spend even more money on getting them separately to the already-expensive tablet. Although I still don't think the iPad can really compare to a laptop for the same money, it's pretty close with the Magic Keyboard, and with the addition of the Apple stylus, it offers a really unique, enjoyable user experience. But you'll need to pay around $300 more for that experience. And add another $150 if you want the Apple Pencil 2 as well. 

This review could so easily have been a full five stars, but seeing that the true potential of this tablet is only unlocked with two accessories that you have to buy on top of it, I don't see how I can give it full marks. 

Price & Performance

First the price. Right now, Apple is selling the entry-level iPad Pro 12.9-inch, which comes with the 128GB storage, for $1,099. If you want a bit more space, the 256GB SSD model will be $1,199 from Apple, but the best price that I've seen on this configuration is $1,049.99 on Amazon, during Black Friday last year. 

That is, even at the record-low, a pretty beefy price tag. When you add the cost of a Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil, we're talking closer to a grand and a half. So, is the full iPad Pro 2022 experience worth that much? You can certainly get an excellent laptop that will run full-fat digital software for that money. But we need to look at the iPad Pro's performance to fully answer that question. 

Performance-wise, the iPad Pro 2022 is a bit of a beast. When I ran Geekbench 6 – a software that runs a series of timed processor tests – I got better results than I expected. Looking online, you'll find that the average single-core CPU benchmark for the iPad Pro 2022 is around 2,531 (the higher the number the better). My tablet scored 2,649. For context, this is the current best-scoring iPad on the market, beating the previous 12.9-inch Pro model that scored 2,260. It's also the best-scoring tablet on the market, beating Android competition Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 that achieved 'only' 1,946. The short version? This M2-chipped iPad is really powerful, and really quick at performing tasks.

What that means in day-to-day use is it glides through all minor tasks like browsing, streaming, and mobile games. And when you ask a little more of it, shooting and editing ProRes video with an app like FiLMiC Pro, for example, it performs excellently. When looking at digital art, the iPad Pro is an awesome tablet, but it's worth noting that you won't be able to run the full version of Adobe Photoshop on it. However, the Photoshop for iOS that it can run is still really impressive, and with the recent inclusion of the Generative Fill tool, plus Liquify and Drop Shadow, there is loads to do with this tablet in the photo manipulation and digital art sphere. 

It's not all about Photoshop either, with many pro artists having moved to apps like Procreate on the iPad Pro years ago. This model of the iPad is just a little bit faster, and a little bit more powerful for all such art apps. 

Verdict

I really like the iPad Pro, but the truth is, I probably wouldn't buy it if I were in the market for a new tablet. That's because it's just way too powerful and feature-rich for what I need from a tablet. That may be an obvious thing to mention, but I know many people who have gone out and paid the grand-plus for the 2022 iPad Pro, only to basically do office work and movie-watching on it. If that's what you're planning to do, head over to my iPad 10th Gen review. That's the tablet for you. 

If you're a pro, editing video, and photos, or simply have money to burn and want the best tablet experience for web surfing and movie watching, then at the time of writing, this is hands down the best option out there. Not just from Apple, but from any brand. 

But money is the big issue with the 2022 Pro. If you are going to use it to its fullest, you'll want the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil 2, and that'll cost you around $400 more on an already sizeable price tag. However, with deals events, such as Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday occurring annually, and with the new 2024 iPad Pro set for release soon, you may be able to get a bundle at a more reasonable price. 

You may also like...

iPad Air (M1, 2022)

If even the 11-inch Pro's price hurts your wallet, but you still want a capable iPad, the iPad Air (M1, 2022) is a great choice. It has the same Liquid Retina display as the smaller 11-inch iPad Pro, and the same camera as both Pros. And with a still-excellent M1 chip, a laminated screen, an anti-reflective coating, and an 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU, it will do the business for light creative work. 

iPad (10th gen)

Want to go back to basics? The standard iPad (10th gen) has the same camera as the iPad Air (above) but a less impressive A14 Bionic chip. It's still super-fast though, and will be more than enough for most people who just want to stream and play mobile games. Note that this iPad, like the Air, is available with 64GB or 256GB of storage.

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Beren Neale
Deals Editor at Creative Bloq

Beren has been writing about creativity, tech, and creative tech for over a decade. During this time he’s worked on magazines and websites that delve into digital art, graphic design, and photography. He is currently the deals editor on the Creative Bloq website, finding digital creatives the kit that they need for the best price.