It's the battle of the iPad Pros - we compare the new 9.7-inch against the 12.9-inch
With the fresh announcement of the Apple iPad Pro 9.7-inch, there are now two ‘Pro’ models vying for your wallet. But aside from the obvious differences in screen size, how else do the two devices differ? We compare the two to see whether size matters.
Unsurprisingly, aside from the size, the two devices look very similar. The iPad Pro 12.9-inch measures 305.7×220.6×6.9mm. The 9.7-inch, on the other hand, measures 240×169.6×6.1mm. In terms of weight, the 12.9-inch weighs 713g to the 9.7-inch’s 437g. It’s worth noting that the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is exactly the same size and weight of the iPad Air 2, which is an impressive feat considering how much more eminently powerful it is.
Both devices support Apple’s Touch ID. Where the two devices also differ, however, is in the choice of colours available. The 12.9-inch is available in Silver, Space Grey and Gold, whereas the new 9.7-inch is available in these finishes plus the new Rose Gold finish, a first for an iPad.
Obviously, there’s a big difference in sheer screen size, which may factor into your buying decision. If you need a larger screen, the 12.9-inch is probably for you. Whereas the 9.7-inch is the more portable of the two. In terms of resolution, the 12.9-inch has a resolution of 2,732×2,048, whereas the 9.7-inch has a 2,048×1,536 pixel display. Factoring in screen size, this makes for an identical pixel-per-inch of 264ppi.
Where the two displays also differ is that the 9.7-inch has a wide colour display, which equates to 25% more colour saturation compared to the Apple iPad Air 2. It also has True Tone display, which uses two four-channel ambient light sensors to take readings of both environmental light brightness as well as temperature. The display is then adjusted to match, more closely emulating how paper performs.
Both devices use the same third-generation A9X processor and M9 coprocessor. They’re clocked slightly differently, however. Apple rates the 12.9-inch as 2.5x faster and graphics as 5x faster than the A7. The 9.7-inch’s processors are rated at 2.4x and 4.3x faster, however, meaning the larger device has the edge in terms of performance. This could well be due to more efficient cooling in the larger device. Once we get the new 9.7-inch in, we can see how true this is. It seems that if you favour sheer power, the 12.9-inch is for you.
The 12.9-inch model has a 8-megapixel rear camera with an F/2.4 aperture lens. The new 9.7-inch model has the edge, with a 12-megapixel sensor and a larger F/2.2 aperture, which should perform better in low light. The 9.7-inch also supports Apple’s Live Photos, first seen on the iPhone 6s as well as True Tone flash and Autofocus with focus pixels, which are all missing from the larger device. The smaller form factor also applies itself better to being used as a camera, although using a tablet as your main camera probably isn’t advisable.
The front-facing camera is also superior on the 9.7-inch model, with a 5-megapixel sensor to only 1.2-megapixel on the larger tablet. The 9.7-inch can also use the display as a Retina flash for better lit selfies in low light.
The iPad Pro 9.7-inch is priced at 32GB (£499), 128GB (£619) and 256GB (£739) for the Wi-Fi only models. The iPad Pro 12.9-inch is priced at 32GB (£679), 128GB (£799), 256GB (£919). Wi-Fi + Cellular options are available for an additional £100 for each model, except there is no 32GB Wi-Fi + Cellular option for the 12.9-inch model.
Most people will pick an iPad Pro based on the screen size. If you want a large device, you’ll want the 12.9-inch. For those on the fence, the new iPad Pro 9.7-inch on paper has some enticing new features including the True Tone adapting display. The cameras are also superior on the 9.7-inch and you won’t struggle as much to hold it up as a camera should you ever wish to do so. Both tablets support the Apple Pencil and have optional Smart Keyboards, so they’ll both be fantastic productivity tools.