Editor’s Note: Apple contacted me on February 16th, suggesting the short battery life is abnormal. We discussed tech support option but I chose instead to replace the whole kit—iPad Pro and keyboard—to see if the short battery life with Smart Keyboard is a one-off hardware problem. Look for an update in the sixth post. The hardware exchange will take a day or so to sort out, before the series can resume.
The follow-up post, on February 24th, countermands the negative conclusions stated in this review. Battery life from the second kit is hugely satisfying and plenty long enough for the typical workday. The user experiences aren’t comparable. I debated about deleting the original story but that feels like hiding something. Hopefully this addendum sufficiently retracts the original conclusion.
I cannot presently recommend Apple’s big-ass tablet as a laptop replacement—using the official-issue Smart Keyboard. The reason may surprise you. The foible isn’t the utility of iOS, available apps, or overall hardware performance but the battery and charging system. Inadequate combination is an understatement.
Two weeks ago, I purchased iPad Pro through T-Mobile’s Jump On Demand program. My 13th day using the tablet as my primary PC progresses with acceptance that an ongoing problem is a deal breaker. When I use iPad Pro like a laptop, even primarily working only with mail and two browsers (Chrome and Safari), battery burns down too rapidly and subsequent topping off takes too long. Oddly, battery-life is exceptionally good for tablet use.