iPad Pro M2 Review: For... Video Editing On The Go?
Ever found yourself editing an urgent, critical video, then suddenly being called away with no access to your desktop or laptop? Neither do we. But if you have, and you ever found yourself thinking “man, I wish I could edit videos on the go”, well, then the Apple iPad Pro M2 might be for you.
Let’s get it out of the way first, the iPad Pro M2 that Apple announced in October is almost exactly the same as the iPad Pro M1, and if you’re debating between the two, I’d say it would be more worth it to go for the M1 with discounted prices. Except if you like editing videos and you want to edit them on DaVinci Resolve, or if you use ProCreate a lot, then this might be the right one for you.
The iPad Pro M2 looks exactly the same as the M1 that we reviewed previously, all sharp, angled lines and flat edges, with the power button on the top, a magnetic wireless connector on the side for the Apple Pencil 2nd Gen, the same Liquid Retina XDR Mini-LED display with 120Hz refresh rate on the 12.9-inch model that we absolutely love and of course, it’s compatible with all the accessories that the iPad Pro M1 was compatible with. If you want a full breakdown of the specs, check out the hardware part of the review of the M1 model here as it’s mostly the same.
Changes From iPad Pro M1
What’s changed is the chip inside, which gets an update to the newest M2 chip. It’s certainly faster in benchmarking, and it does offer access to M2-exclusive features like the ability to record ProRes video with the rear cameras, although I would think anybody would be hard-pressed to find people who actually do professional video recordings with an iPad.
Real-life performance though? It feels the same. The iPad Pro M1 was already so quick and snappy, that even though the M2 model is supposed to be faster, it just feels all the same. When you’re driving at 200kmph versus 220 kmph, it just all feels fast. Battery life is the same across both models as well, I didn’t notice the battery draining quicker or anything.
Another small change is that the iPad Pro M2 now supports Wi-Fi 6E, up from Wi-Fi 6, so if you have a compatible router, you should notice faster Wi-Fi speeds, although I reckon it’s still a few years out from people actually changing to the newer routers.
So yes, hardware-wise, not much change. Software-wise, that’s where things get a bit more fun. With iPadOS 16, we now get actual support for external displays, not just mirroring the iPad display. There’s Stage Manager, which is what Apple hopes will help improve multitasking, although it’s still rather limited. I like that I can have a few windows on the display, making it feel more like a computer, but it’s still not fantastic. Grouping apps together to open together is a decent idea, and if you find yourself perpetually using a few apps together, like Stocks and Notes maybe, this might be a useful feature. Personally, it didn’t have much use to me, but it was nice having all my windows on the side rather than having to swipe up and hold all the time to switch apps.
The other exciting thing is that video editing software DaVinci Resolve has come to the iPad. Now, I’m not a video editor, but my colleague Bryan is, and he has experience using DaVinci Resolve on a computer, so he’s gonna talk a bit about DaVinci Resolve on the iPad and how it differs from the PC version, as well as how it performs and why the iPad Pro M2 might be an exciting purchase for video editors.
DaVinci Resolve on iPad Pro M2
This iPad version of Davinci Resolve is legit.
Right off the bat, if you are already familiar with desktop Resolve, you are going to feel right at home here. Nevertheless, this is still the iPad version so there are going to be some minor differences, but the essential two tabs you need are still here, the timeline-based tab for your everyday editing and node based tab for colouring.
In work cases, I've only used Resolve for node colouring, however, picking up the timeline workflow was pretty easy as well due to how well everything was designed.
Performance on the M2 iPad is extremely fluid and responsive even with 4K footage. Resolve is also fully supported on the M1 iPad, though for older iPads, you will be limited in functions like export settings, effects and processing tools. Blackmagic Cloud services are also available to synchronise project files across different versions which is pretty handy!
Wrangling footage is as straightforward as it gets, you can import media from your local media, or external drives and networks via Apple's Files app. Do note that like all other non-linear editing software, your files imported from external drives are linked so be careful not to unplug your drive during editing or you'll spend quite a bit of time trying to link them all back. The iPad's file management system also isn't as granular as say, a Mac or Windows so don't expect to just download a file and drag and drop it in.
Alternatively, you can transfer your rushes into your iPad first before importing it in Resolve, but if you plan to do that frequently do think about the storage configuration you'll be needing before you pick one up.
Back to the timeline, you do get some degrees of multitrack editing, as mentioned before, scrubbing 4K footage even in BlackMagic RAW is responsive. There isn't any visual separation between video and audio tracks like in Premiere but it's fine for the amount of screen real estate you are working with. Nodes, on the other hand, is just like the desktop version, it will lay out all the clips you have in the timeline which you can grade via the node trees and save in stills. You can even import custom LUTs for your projects.
So again, the phrase I am stressing here is, "just like the desktop version". If you are a video editor, I won't say that an iPad will be able to replace your entire workflow but if you only have an iPad on hand and if Davinci is your preferred non-linear editing software of choice, then bringing around an iPad is certainly more convenient than an editing laptop.
On the other hand, Resolve for iPad is also a great entry point if you want to start editing or colour grading, but do take note that down the line if you want to take it up a notch, you will have to purchase a dedicated system for it.
Apple Pencil Hover
A smaller, but still interesting feature for artists would be Apple Pencil Hover. This allows you to see a preview of how colours mix with each other, a preview of how big the brush size is and stuff like that. Professional artists probably already have an idea of the end result when mixing two colours together, but it’s always nice to have a visual preview just to be sure. There are other uses for this, like expanding text fields when you want to write in them and such but yeah, I think the biggest use case would be creatively rather than these types of small stuff.
Starting at S$1,260.65 for the 11-inch model and S$1,714.85 for the 12.9-inch model, it really is quite pricey. Add in all the add-ons like the Apple Pencil and a keyboard, and well, it can be even more expensive and heavier than a MacBook Air or Pro. And truthfully, if you want a proper desktop experience, that would be the way to go. But if you need a touch screen, an iPad would be it. And while I don’t edit videos, I would think it’d be pretty fun using a touchscreen to scrub through the timeline, drag and drop footage and all. Feels that way at least.