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Apple iPad Pro M4 review: So much to love if you can stomach the price

Apple iPad Pro M4 review

Apple iPad Pro M4 review (Image: APPLE)

What we love

  • New OLED screen is incredible
  • M4 offers ultimate power
  • Updated design is simply stunning
  • Great new accessories 
  • Long battery life
  • More storage

New New OLED screen is incredible

What we don’t

  • Eye-watering price
  • Still won’t replace your laptop
  • Old Apple Pencil won’t work
  • No plug in the box
  • Too much power for most

Apple has finally refreshed its popular iPad line and going Pro has never looked more appealing. The latest flagship tablet is not only ludicrously powerful but also the thinnest product the US technology giant has ever made and it’s a thing of absolute beauty. From the moment you lift it out of its packaging, you can’t help but admire what Apple’s design team has managed to create.

It really does feel like a slim sheet of glass in your hand with the 11-inch model we tested measuring in at just 5.3mm thick – that’s down from 5.9 mm before.

Apple iPad Pro M4 review

The Apple iPad Pro M4 is now ludicrously thin (Image: APPLE)

Those opting for the more expensive 13-inch version will get all the bragging rights though as this big-screen tablet is even thinner – 5.1mm to be precise.

The new design, which is even skinnier than the thinnest iPad Nano, makes a world of difference as you hardly notice you are holding a tablet in your hands.

Despite slimming things down, the new iPad Pro still feels premium and it should have no problem surviving life in your backpack – Apple is promising the 100 percent recycled aluminium enclosure is just as tough as before.

Now, you might think that this thin appearance may have an impact on performance but it’s exactly the opposite. The iPad Pro now comes powered by the incredibly quick M4 processor that has been built especially for these premium devices. It makes the new iPad Pro supremely powerful with some serious gains when tackling the toughest of digital tasks.

To put it into perspective, the new Pro is around 1.5 times faster than Apple’s last-generation M2 models – as you can read in our full iPad Pro M2 review from 2022, that tablet was already regarded as the fastest on the market.

Apple iPad Pro M4 review

Apple iPad Pro M4 review (Image: APPLE)

We’ve been putting the 2024 Pro through endless memory-hungry tasks such as 4K video editing, high-resolution image retouching, gaming and running multiple apps at once. Everything is performed with undeniable ease and it’s an absolute joy to have in your hands.

The M4 is clearly a beast that can outrun many Windows PC laptops. It’s impressive stuff and we’re never going to complain about having too much grunt but we have been left wondering who really needs it.

The iPad is an amazing tool but the vast majority of users simply grab their tablets when they want to send a quick email, feel like watching a box set in bed or fancy browsing the web.

All of those tasks are performed just as well on the new iPad Air plus Apple recently reduced iPad 10th Gen – a device that’s more than adequate for most at just £349. Those are both devices that cost hundreds of pounds less than the Pro, which starts from £999.

Apple iPad Pro M4 review

You now get an OLED screen (Image: APPLE)

Although we’re not convinced many users really need the speed, one thing the M4 has made possible is the new display. This Ultra Retina XDR screen with ‘tandem OLED’ technology uses two panels which are combined to provide truly impressive visuals and exceptional brightness.

Once you see this screen in the action you really won’t want to go back. Colours are vivid, blacks look rich and the whites are so bright (the Ultra Retina XDR display can reach a peak brightness of 1600 nits) they almost hurt your eyes.

The previous Pro with its Liquid Retina panel was already good but this upgrade takes things to a whole new level.

Along with a standard screen, Apple is also offering the Pro with a Nano-texture glass that reduces glare – it works well and stops the distractions of spotlights above your head. Sadly, it’s only available on the 1TB and 2TB versions – which start from £1,599 – and adds £100 extra to the bill so only opt for it if you think you really need it. It also slightly dulls the look of the impressive OLED, so you probably don’t want it anyway.

Of course, you still get the brilliant ProMotion 120Hz technology which makes scrolling through websites feel silky smooth and stutter-free – that’s not something you’ll find on the new iPad Air which only gets a 60Hz panel.

The previous Pro with its Liquid Retina panel was already good but this OLED upgrade takes things to a whole new level.

Other changes that have improved the Pro include a new position for the front-facing camera which now sits on the longer edge of the chassis (it was on the top edge before). It is something older iPads were criticised for and it now makes more sense when making FaceTime calls in the more popular landscape mode. The Face ID scanner also works better as you are less likely to have your thumb placed over the lens.

Another thing Apple appears to have listened to is the feedback about storage. The Pro now starts with 256GB of internal memory as standard – that should be plenty for the average user plus this can be boosted right up to 2TB if you really think you need it.

Other extras include incredible speakers, fast wireless connectivity thanks to the latest Wi-Fi 6E technology and full 5G support if you buy a more expensive cellular model.

A word of warning about that though. Apple has removed the physical SIM slot from its new Pro devices so you’ll now have to sign up to an eSIM plan to access the web on the move. This is definitely not an experience that’s as easy as popping a physical SIM inside.

Apple iPad Pro M4 review

Apple iPad Pro M4 comes with a single rear camera (Image: APPLE)

If you really feel the need to use your tablet as a camera, Apple has switched things up a little on its latest Pros.

Gone is the dual-lens snapper which has now been replaced by a single 12MP Wide lens along with a LiDAR Scanner and Adaptive True Tone flash.

So that’s the tablet but what about those all-important accessories?

These new machines are now compatible with the new Apple Pencil Pro which gets smart new features such as haptic feedback, the option to squeeze to launch menus and a gyroscope that allows you to roll the Apple Pencil Pro for precise control of the tool you’re using. It’s a great stylus, especially for those who love making notes and creating artwork.

That’s the good news. Sadly, if you own a current 2nd Gen Apple Pencil it won’t work on this new Pro tablet which means you have to add the £129 Pro Pencil to your online shopping basket.

Another thing that will cost you more is the new Magic Keyboard which now features an improved design, bigger trackpad and all-important function keys. It’s a neat case that makes the Pro feel a lot like a mini MacBook but will set you back £299 for the 11-inch version or £349 for the 13-inch. In any situation, that much money for a keyboard is hard to swallow.

Apple iPad Pro M4 review

Apple has also launched a new Apple Pencil Pro (Image: APPLE)

Apple iPad Pro M4 review

A new Magic Keyboard is available (Image: APPLE)

That leads us nicely to the price. The 11-inch model we tested starts from £999 for 256GB of memory but things can soon start to mount up,

Boost things to 1TB of storage, add the Pencil and Magic Keyboard and suddenly your bill will be over £2,000. In the UK, the Pro also only has a USB-C cable in the box. In all, we can’t help thinking that’s way too much for a tablet especially as Apple has now followed what it did with the iPhone and has ditched the wall charger from the box – you’ll have to buy one of those as well.

It’s no secret that, despite huge improvements to the iPadOS operating system in recent years, these tablets still can’t really replace your laptop due to the limitations in multitasking and file management. It’s more suited to professionals using one app at a time for creative tasks such as art or music creation.

The iPad Pro is mighty, you just need to decide if you really need all that power.

Apple iPad Pro M4 review

Apple iPad Pro M4 review (Image: APPLE)

Apple iPad Air M4: Final verdict

There’s simply no denying that the new iPad Pro remains the best tablet you can buy. The new slimline design is simply stunning, the M4 processor is ludicrously powerful and the upgraded OLED screen is a thing of absolute beauty.

It’s a total joy to use, especially with Apple fixing a number of issues found on the older models such as the front-facing camera placement and boost to the base-level storage.

The Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard accessories are also improved and you get other first-rate features including amazing speakers, 5G connectivity, fast Wi-Fi and a decent rear camera.

It’s very hard to knock the iPad Pro, in fact, it’s pretty much perfect.

The two problems here are the price and if you actually need all that power. There’s now that upgraded M2 Air on sale from £599 or you could simply buy the 10th Gen model at the new price of £349. These are both excellent devices that do much the same thing as the Pro but without making such a big dent in your bank balance.

That said, if you want the ultimate iPad and aren’t put off by the price then you really aren’t going to find anything better than the 2024 Pro.

It’s a beauty and a beast – we absolutely love it.


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