Apple iPad (2018) vs. iPad Pro 10.5: Is the iPad Pro worth the extra cash?

Apple’s latest iPad boasts a number of new features like support for the Apple Pencil, a much better processor, and more — all at the same price as last year’s iPad. It’s so good that it tops our list of the best tablets.

But it’s not the only iPad currently available. In fact, there are a few other iPads available that come at a higher price — like the iPad Pro. But just how does the new 2018 standard iPad compare with the 10.5-inch iPad Pro? We put the two head-to-head to find out.

Specs

iPad (2018) iPad Pro (10.5-inch)
Size 240 x 169.5 x 7.5 mm (9.45 x 6.67 x 0.30 inches) 250.6 x 174.1 x 6.1 mm (9.87 x 6.85 x 0.24 inches)
Weight 469g (16.8oz) 469g (16.5oz)
Screen size 9.7 inches 10.5 inches
Screen resolution 1,536 x 2,048 pixels 1,668 x 2,224 pixels
Operating system iOS 11.3 iOS 10.3.2 (upgradeable to iOS 11.3)
Storage space 32GB, 128GB 64GB, 256GB, 512GB
MicroSD Card slot No No
Tap-to-pay services No No
Processor Apple A10 Fusion Apple A10X Fusion
RAM 2GB 4GB
Camera Rear 8MP, front 1.2MP Rear 12MP, front 7MP
Video 1,080p at 30fps, 720p at 120fps 2,160p at 30fps, 1,080p at 60fps, 1,080p at 120fps, 720p at 240fps
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 4.2 Bluetooth 4.2
Ports Lightning Lightning
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Water resistance No No
Battery 8,827mAh 8,134mAh
App marketplace Apple App Store Apple App Store
Network support All major carriers (Cellular version only) All major carriers (Cellular version only)
Colors Silver, Gold, Space Gray Space Gray, Rose Gold, Gold, Silver
Price $329-plus $649-plus
Buy from Apple Apple
Review score 4.5 stars 4.5 stars

Performance, battery life and charging

best tablet

Both of these devices are relatively new, so they’re both going to perform pretty well — but not totally the same. The two iPads offer similar, though slightly different specs when it comes to performance. For starters, the 2018 iPad features an Apple A10 Fusion chip coupled with 2GB of RAM, while the 10.5-inch iPad Pro boasts an A10X Fusion chip with 4GB of RAM.

What does that mean in terms of raw performance? The iPad Pro will be able to handle things like multitasking, video editing, and so on a little better. For most people, however, the standard 2018 iPad will still do everything they need just fine.

When it comes to battery, it seems like the 2018 iPad should do a little better than the iPad Pro. After all, it offers a slightly larger battery, as well as a smaller screen size. Still, Apple says both of these devices will provide up to 10 hours of web surfing over Wi-Fi, so don’t expect a big difference.

In terms of charging, there’s not much to report. Both devices will charge through their Lightning port, but neither of them offer the wireless charging that you get in the Apple Watch and recent iPhone models.

Because of its better performance, the 10.5-inch iPad Pro is the winner here.

Winner: iPad Pro 10.5

Design and durability

apple ipad 9 7 inch 2018 back logo
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Not surprisingly, the 2018 iPad and the 10.5-inch iPad Pro both feature a very Apple design sensibility. Perhaps the biggest difference here is their size — the iPad Pro is slightly bigger than the 2018 iPad in all aspects but one — thickness. If you’re looking for a super slim device, the iPad Pro may be a better choice for you. Another major difference is what colors the devices are available in — both come in space gray, silver, and gold, but the iPad Pro is also available in Rose Gold. Both devices feature a rear-facing camera on the top left, as well as a very minimalist design with a home button on the front.

These two devices are pretty much equally durable. Unlike the iPhone, the iPad series is not waterproof — so if you want to use it in the bath, be very careful while you do so.

Winner: Tie

Display

apple ipad 9 7 inch 2018 front full
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The displays on these two devices differ in size. On the 2018 iPad, you’ll find a 9.7-inch display, while the display on the iPad Pro is 10.5 inches. That’s almost an inch difference, which can be a big deal for some users. The resolution is also a little different, — the 2018 iPad has a resolution of 1,536 x 2,048 pixels and the iPad Pro 10.5 offers a display resolution of 1,668 x 2,224 pixels — but because of the size difference, both have a pixel density of 264. They’re both sharp, but the display on the iPad Pro is bigger, so it’s the winner here.

Winner: iPad Pro 10.5

Camera

apple ipad pro 10 5 review rear camera
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The rear-facing camera on your iPad isn’t as important as the camera on your phone — but it’s still handy in a pinch. The front-facing camera, on the other hand, is probably going to be used much more regularly for video chatting.

Let’s start with the rear-facing camera, which comes in at 8 megapixels on the 9.7-inch iPad with an aperture of f/2.4, and 12 megapixels on the 10.5-inch iPad Pro with an aperture of f/1.8 The iPad Pro camera will be able to capture more detail and perform better in low-light conditions.

On the 2018 iPad, the front-facing camera comes in at 1.2 megapixels with an aperture of f/2.2. Those specs are a little disappointing in 2018. The front-facing camera on the 10.5-inch iPad comes in at 7 megapixels with an aperture of f/2.2.

The cameras on the iPad Pro are much better all-around.

Winner: iPad Pro 10.5

Software and updates

apple ipad 9 7 inch 2018 top half
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

As Apple devices, both tablets have access to the latest version of iOS 11, and will both get the new operating system as soon as it becomes available. Because of that, the only difference is how long Apple will support the devices for. Generally speaking, Apple supports tablets for 2 to 3 years. The iPad Pro 10.5 came out first, but it’s also slightly more powerful, so we don’t think there will be much difference between these two in terms of how long they’re supported for.

One difference is that schools and teachers can order the 2018 iPad with education apps — though that won’t affect most standard consumers.

Winner: Tie

Special features

apple ipad pro 10 5 review stylis
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Surprisingly, there aren’t that many special features that differentiate the two iPads. Both of the devices support the Apple Pencil, and they both have a home button with Touch ID, though as some reports note, the iPad Pro features the second generation of Touch ID, and should react a little quicker than the 2018 iPad.

In general, these two devices are very similar when it comes to special features — though the iPad Pro does things a little better and a little faster.

Winner: iPad Pro 10.5

Price

There’s a clear winner in the price department, and that’s the 2018 iPad. While the 10.5-inch iPad Pro is available for $649, the 2018 iPad comes in at far less, with a price tag of $329, or nearly half as much. That’s a pretty massive price difference — and it highlights the fact that the iPad Pro is really built for professionals who need a lightweight and easy-to-use device, while the 2018 iPad is built for the average consumer.

Winner: iPad (2018)

Overall winner: iPad Pro 10.5

There are no surprises here — the 10.5-inch iPad Pro is better in almost every way, but the differences aren’t overly important for the average person. The iPad Pro is more powerful, has a slightly better screen, a better camera, and more — but the iPad (2018) still offers more than enough power for most average users.

If you’re looking for a tablet that will work perfectly for web browsing, social media, and a little mobile gaming, then the 2018 iPad will serve you well. If, however, you’re a media professional who needs something a little more powerful, then the 10.5-inch iPad Pro is an excellent tablet to go for.