Review: Apple 9.7-inch iPad Pro
Pros: Great form factor is easier to hold than larger Pro. Less expensive than larger Pro. Technology represents a step up from iPad Air 2 at same size. A very fast tablet. Great, bright display with True Tone. The best cameras ever seen on iPad. Very good battery life. Includes multi-touch display and Smart Connector in a smaller package. Untethered Hey Siri is an exclusive on iPad. More LTE bands with LTE Advanced in Wi-Fi + Cellular model. Only iPad Pro with 32GB Cellular edition.
Cons: Expensive compared to current iPad Air 2 price, and extra features may not be worth it to a fair number of prospective users. Smaller screen makes for a slightly diminished drawing/typing experience compared to larger Pro. Audio not as good as larger Pro. Just a tad slower than larger Pro. Not compatible with iPad Air 2 cases despite same tablet size.
Apple’s iPad has undergone a number of transitions in its lifetime, and has popped up in an array of variations since its 2010 debut. The first iPad had a 9.7” display, and since then, there have been smaller (mini) and larger (Pro) iPads — to say nothing of how much thinner and lighter they’ve become over the years. But there has always been a 9.7” “standard” iPad. That size has basically defined how large a tablet should be.
Apple clearly believes in its newer iPad Pro — enough to bring its features to its 9.7” iPad, and even enough to bring the iPad Pro name to its standard sized tablet while leaving the iPad Air 2 in the current lineup. The new 9.7” iPad Pro comes in an equal number of Wi-Fi (32GB/$599, 128GB/$749, 256GB/$899) and Wi-Fi + Cellular (32GB/$729, 128GB/$879, 256GB/$1029) models. It pairs the hallmark 12.9” Pro features — four stereo speakers, multi-touch display, and the Smart Connector — with the best cameras that have ever been seen in an iPad, and new display capabilities.
On paper, the 9.7” iPad Pro seems like a winner, and really, a no-brainer. But how does it measure up to the larger Pro, and the iPad Air? Does it really do enough to earn your dollars? We’ll get into it all in the next six pages.