AnandTech reviews Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad Pro: ‘Clearly the best standard-sized tablet on the market’

“The 9.7” iPad Pro is an upgrade from the iPad Air 2 in essentially every respect. What’s interesting is that in some ways it actually represents an upgrade from the 12.9” iPad Pro. While a quick examination of Apple’s launches would lead you to believe that the 9.7” iPad Pro was launched late, it actually looks like it was launched on schedule, while the 12.9” model was the one that was delayed,” Brandon Chester writes for AnandTech. “This explains the significant gap between the displays and cameras of the two iPad Pro models, with the larger of the two having been planned to launch before Apple began moving any of their products to a wider gamut, and well before a 12MP camera debuted on the iPhone 6s. Because of this, Apple is now in a bit of an awkward situation, as there’s no way for someone to actually buy an iPad with the absolute best specs for every component.”

“The design of the 9.7” iPad Pro is great. When looking at how tablets balance their choice of materials against their mass, thickness, and size, there’s still not really any competition for the iPad,” Chester writes. “As far as performance goes, A9X is still the fastest chip that you’ll find in an ARM tablet, even if this isn’t exactly the same A9X that we saw in the larger iPad Pro. On the CPU side, we’re looking at the exact same performance that the larger model offers, which is pretty significant when you consider the $200 price gap between the two. There will obviously be different throttling characteristics due to this smaller iPad having less area to dissipate heat, but in general you can expect the same performance in CPU-bound tasks from both versions of the iPad Pro. As for GPU performance, it’s not as high as the 12.9″ model, but it’s the best you’ll get in a tablet of this size.”

Apple's new 9.7-inch iPad Pro atop the 12.9-inch iPad Pro
Apple’s new 9.7-inch iPad Pro atop the 12.9-inch iPad Pro

“It’s not hard to conclude that the display on the 9.7” iPad Pro is the best display on any tablet,” Chester writes. “The 9.7” iPad Pro is arguably more future-proof than the larger model due to its improved display and camera, but Apple keeping the RAM at 2GB is going to restrict how long it can remain performant with future applications and software updates. Apple’s history with iOS products make me fairly confident that it will run into RAM issues long before A9X’s CPU and GPU or the SSD become the bottleneck. Because of that I don’t think the smaller iPad Pro is something that a consumer or a business can invest in and expect to use for four or five years, while the larger model with 4GB of RAM will still run well after all that time. At this point I don’t think there’s any place for 2GB of RAM in a tablet that markets itself as being for professionals, and in that sense I think the 9.7” iPad Pro is more like a successor to the Air 2 than a long-term usable device like the 12.9” model. In the end, the 9.7” iPad Pro is clearly the best standard-sized tablet on the market.”

Reams more in the full, very comprehensive review here.

MacDailyNews Take: And who determined what the “standard size” of a tablet it? Apple, of course.

Yet another excellent review for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro!

Pocket-lint reviews Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad Pro: The tablet to beat all tablets – April 12, 2016
Mercury News reviews Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad Pro: A terrific tablet – April 11, 2016
Gizmodo reviews Apple’s 9.7-Inch iPad Pro: Yes, you want one – April 6, 2016
The Verge reviews Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad Pro: Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead! – March 30, 2016
Ars reviews Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad Pro: What makes something ‘Pro’ anyway? – March 28, 2016


    1. Really???…
      New and greatly improved high definition screen technology, Apple Pencil support, tru-tone and Night Shift ambient light technologies, upgraded 5 MP FaceTime cameras, and iPhone 6 quality 12 MP rear camera WITH LED FLASH (a first for any iPad)!
      Same A9X CPU as in the large iPad Pro.
      Looks like a lot of major improvement to me and for a LOT of new 9.7 inch screen iPad Pro users, so far!

    2. I forgot to mention, the iPad Air 2 doesn’t have any of these specs and is, also, stuck with the same crummy 1.2 MP FaceTime camera (even the larger iPad Pro was saddle with this low res FaceTime camera) that has been around since the iPad 3 was introduced over 4 years, ago, in 2012!
      Both iPad Pro models have the 4 speaker audio system that, while still lo fi, is a much, MUCH improvement is sound quality/sound levels that surpasses any other iPad model.

  1. I had the Air 2 and for me, the iPad Pro has two critical updates; superior color gamut combined with auto white balance for room conditions and support for Apple Pencil. Worth it to me.

  2. Don’t forget the improved audio. I used it pool side in Mexico and it is much louder than the Air 2. I don’t know if it is because of the 4 speakers (stereo finally) or the amplifier is more powerful but that was very handy. Also the screen is better in the sun. That’s the problem with keeping the same form factor. Everything could change under the hood but people think it is the same car

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