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Hold on – isn’t Apple iPad Pro up to the 11-and-12.9-inch Gen 3, 2019 version. Why did I buy the iPad Pro Gen 2 instead?

Honorary Gadgeteer Arjun Krishna Lal, Penguin-published author and tech journalist recently broke from his Windows bias and bought an iPad Pro. His journey of discovery is curious. If you are considering buying an iPad – of any type – read why he chose the iPad Pro Gen 2 despite all of Apple’s marketing influence. He writes.

You might be tempted to get hold of the chronologically newer iPad Pro Gen 3, iPad Air (2019) or the even cheaper entry-level iPad (2019). However – and Apple doesn’t really want to tell you this – the iPad Pro Gen 2 models offer the best overall value, in terms of price, features, and power.

And the 10.5-inch iPad Pro Gen 2 is still sold at Officeworks for $649 for the 64GB Wi-Fi Gold or Space Grey version. Not $1,299 for the 11-inch and $1,529 for the 12-inch, 64GB, Wi-Fi iPad Pro Gen 3 versions. In fact, if you are an astute shopper, Apple has factory refurbs at even less again.

If you’re in the market for many of the same reasons as I am, the iPad Pro Gen 2 is a compelling choice.

I need a tablet with a detachable keyboard and mouse/stylus control

I had some precise requirements to help narrow my tablet search.

  • I did not need an uber-powerful primary compute platform, just a secondary portable device to take care of lightweight tasks like WordPress and Netflix
  • It had to have a decent battery life
  • I did not want to spend too much on it

The first point – my main driver is not needing it as primary compute platform. My Windows high-end gaming and video production PC has large 27-inch monitor with a GeForce RTX 2070 Super and a 6-core Ryzen5 1600. If you want speed and power, you get a Windows PC and ramp it up.

I challenge any iOS or Android tablet to claim to be more powerful or have better graphics than a Windows 10 PC. You see, Apple wants you to think the iPad Pro is a desktop solution with its Smart Keyboard Folio and Apple Pencil – but it is not.

I strongly considered a Windows Surface Go

Remember that I did not need a primary compute device.

Initially, I thought that the 10-inch Surface Go (review here $599/839 for 64/128GB Wi-Fi) would be a great fit because I could reuse Windows software and all the peripherals. Its Pentium Gold processor may not be the fastest, but it runs a full-fat version of Windows 10 (after you update from Windows 10S). And, it is a competent media consumption tablet.

It is for people that want Windows on the go in a small form factor. Otherwise, in the Windows world, my choice is much more expensive 12.3-inch Surface Pro.

About to click on ‘buy’ when a thought came to me, “If I just need a device for writing and watching Netflix, did it have to be Windows?”

Getting past the Windows bias (and that is hard), I set out to see if an iPad (any model) could conceivably do all I needed. Admittedly so could an excellent Samsung Galaxy Tab A at $499/699 for 32/128GB – even more so now with the close collaboration between Microsoft and Samsung,

Sure, the iPad Pro is more expensive than the Surface Go. And, both needed a detachable keyboard and mouse for productivity (iPadOS now enables mouse support on the iPad). 

Something, that ‘Je ne sais quoi’ drew me towards the obsolete but still available iPad Pro Gen 2. I guess I am writing this to convince myself it the right choice.