While even the iPad Air and iPad Mini can be good enough for sketching, ideation and very rough cuts, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is great for these. And more importantly, this iPad Pro will get you nearer to a completed project than its smaller cousins – and some artists will even be able to produce completed works without needing to pass it on to their computer for final touches.

Apple's smaller iPads are perhaps the wrong comparison. In what you'd use it for, the iPad Pro is nearer to Microsoft's Surface Pro or Wacom's Cintiq Companion. Both of these pair a tablet with a stylus, and the iPad Pro has this in the form of the Pencil. Apple sells the Pencil separately, as it's not essential for a home user looking for a larger surface to play Scrabble on – but for Digital Arts readers, it's essential. It's the best stylus on the market, more natural-feeling that Wacom's or Microsoft's.

One key difference between the iPad Pro and the Cintiq Companion and Surface Pro is that Apple's device runs a tablet OS, while Microsoft's and Wacom's run the full version of Windows. As we discovered, there are pros and cons to both.

I've been using both the 12.9- and 9.7-inch iPad Pros since their respective launches – using them as a creative director and UX designer, as well as an editor and journalist. I've also loaned the devices to artists and designers to gain their feedback.

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