Review: Apple 9.7-inch iPad Pro | iLounge


Review: Apple 9.7-inch iPad Pro

Highly Recommended

Company: Apple

Model: (9.7-inch) iPad Pro

MSRP: $599-$1029

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Phil Dzikiy

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.

The 9.7” iPad Pro has the same top-of-the-line A9X processor and M9 motion coprocessor seen in the larger iPad Pro. However, the new iPad Pro’s chip is slightly underclocked, coming up just behind the 12.9” Pro in tests. Even Apple has listed the new Pro as slightly slower on its iPad comparison webpage. It’s also been revealed that the 9.7” iPad Pro has 2GB of RAM, as opposed to the beefy 4GB of RAM found in the larger Pro. The larger Pro is a bit faster, but the 9.7” iPad Pro is still plenty fast — there’s honestly not too much real world difference for most users. And yes, the new Pro is faster than the iPad Air 2 at the same screen size.

Another notable change internally involves the new iPad Pro’s display. Yes, it’s obviously smaller than the other Pro, at 9.7”, with a lower resolution. But the smaller display actually offers a few added benefits, as it contains a new “wide color” and True Tone display not seen in the larger Pro, or any other iPad. The wide color part of the display makes the color gamut wider, giving it greater color saturation. Apple also pointed out during its keynote that this was the brightest display seen on any tablet, and yes, it does appear to get brighter than the other recent iPads at peak brightness. The True Tone display adjusts the color of the display based on the color of nearby ambient light to “make colors appear consistent in different environments.” Just by toggling the True Tone display on and off, you can see the difference. The screen’s color generally tends to get a bit warmer with its tint, though of course, this changes based on where you are. True Tone display is not the kind of feature that will sell devices on its own, but considering you can turn it on or off, it’s certainly not a detriment to have it around.

Another strange difference between the two iPad Pros — the 9.7” iPad Pro has hands-free, charger-free “Hey Siri,” while the larger Pro (and iPad Air 2) needs to be plugged in. Hey Siri is a great feature that we use quite a bit, so that’s another feather in the new Pro’s cap. In hindsight, it seems like a strange omission on the larger Pro.


Editors' Note: iLounge only reviews products in "final" form, but many companies now change their offerings - sometimes several times - after our reviews have been published. This iLounge article provides more information on this practice, known as revving.

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