iPad Pro 2021 first hands-on video reveals glorious mini-LED display

iPad Pro 2021
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple's guaranteed the iPad Pro 2021 will be sent out to users in late May, a frustratingly vague timing. Fortunately, we can learn more about the device in the real world thanks to one user who got theirs delivered early.

Reddit user u/PeterDragon50 posted on the r/ipad subreddit with a photo of his freshly unboxed iPad Pro 2021. To the delight of his fellow Redditors (and us), he turned his celebratory post into a mini Q&A thread, as well as posting some hands-on video of the tablet in action.

PeterDragon50 showed off the iPad Pro's Mini-LED display with a 4K video sample, while demonstrating the different available wallpapers and how it works with the previous generation Magic Keyboard. While Apple recommends its newest Magic Keyboard for the new iPad Pro, the older model still works with the newest iPad, albeit with a less than perfect fit.

PeterDragon50 says the display is "like an OLED thats been color calibrated by Apple, looks great." He adds that the screen is "on par with the oled, but brighter in hdr content for sure." He later described the black bars around content with a 16:9 aspect ratio as "So black, so impossibly black," another benefit of the new screen tech.

You might be concerned with how the iPad Pro's battery will cope with this improved display. PeterDragon 50 said he'd gone through "34% in about 3.5 hours," using browsers, benchmarking apps, YouTube and Plex. Since these are some power-intensive activities, it seems like you needn't worry about the new iPad suddenly dying when you need it most.

We also got a taste of the tablet's M1-powered performance on the Antutu and Geekbench benchmark apps. These match up with other results rumored to be the latest iPad, and show around a 50% boost compared to the A12Z Bionic chipset used in the 2020 iPad Pro.

Another big change to the iPad Pro is the introduction of Center Stage. This uses an ultra-wide front-facing camera to track the user while recording video or on a call, ensuring they remain the center of attention. PeterDragon50 said the system "Works as advertised," and is "Kinda cool, very smooth" when asked about it in the comments of his original post.

For all the new features, though, the lucky Redditor says it isn't an automatic upgrade for anyone with a recent iPad Pro. "I would only recommend upgrading if you really want the hdr experience," he said to a user with a 2018 model. "I would at least wait to see what WWDC brings" he concludes.

Speaking of which, WWDC 2021 takes place from June 7 to June 11. Although primarily an event to discuss the latest versions of Apple software such as macOS 12 and iOS 15, there are sometimes product announcements. This could include new iPads, but most likely will reveal the updated 16-inch MacBook Pro, new 14-inch MacBook Pro and AirPods 3 that we've been hearing plenty of rumors about lately.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.