iPad Pro 9.7 “in the test: back to old size


Apple steers the power of the iPad Pro in the usual ways: We haven’t seen such a powerful 9.7-inch tablet yet. In the test of the iPad Pro 9.7, we also take a look at accessories such as the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil.

Apple iPad Pro 9,7 im Test

Apple iPad Pro 9,7

Editorial rating 8,9 Reader reviews

189 ratings

The better iPad Pro, the actual iPad Air 3

There are certainly many of you who were a little jealous of the technical data of the iPad Pro 12.9, but who found the sheer size of the giant iPad simply impractical. Those can reach for the small iPad Pro without hesitation. It’s almost as powerful and even offers the better viewing with the True Tone display. But also for people who are waiting (probably in vain) for an iPad Air 3: strike. Because we think the small iPad Pro is a success all round.

We liked that

  • power
  • (True Tone)-Display
  • processing
  • Touch ID

We didn’t like that

  • no 3D touch
  • no SD card slot

Roll backwards: Together with the also downsized iPhone SE Apple presented a 9.7-inch version of the iPad Pro at the “Let us loop you in” event in Cupertino. This differs only in details from the already known iPad Pro 12.9, and for many users it is certainly too big. But there are subtle but notable differences.

The smaller iPad Pro has what is known as the True Tone Display. And Apple’s A9X SoC is in both iPads. However, the large iPad Pro is a little faster, as we will find out later in the benchmark tests.

Fast in iPad Air 2

Nobody who deals with Apple products every day or a is a proven expert, will notice an external difference between iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro 9.7. The two iOS tablets are very similar and cannot be distinguished from the front.

We only notice a difference when we look at the back. Apple has now integrated the antennas of the LTE version into the iPad Pro much more elegantly. Instead of a thick plastic strip, the test device has a much more filigree, minimalist edge.

And if we take a closer look we notice that the iPad Air 2 has 14 speaker holes to the left and right of the Lightning port, while the iPad Pro 9.7 has only 12 speaker holes. Like its 12.9-inch brother, the review sample has a total of four speakers, while the iPad Air 2 only has two. Speaking of the peas: At 448 grams, the iPad Pro 9.7 weighs exactly one gram more on the editorial scale than the iPad Air 2.

The so-called eSim, the Apple installed for the first time in the test device with LTE modem. This allows prepaid tariffs to be booked easily at home and abroad (e.g. with T-Mobile) without the need for a physical SIM card. Of course, the iPad still has a traditional SIM card slot.

Design and workmanship: With protruding camera lens

The iPad Pro 9.7 is superbly processed. Here wobbles, im Unlike the iPhone SE, Nothing. Even with eagle eyes, we do not discover any gaps or other production defects.

The Smart Connector on the underside of the tablet has been added. Accessories, primarily the Smart Keyboard from Apple, can be magnetically connected to the three distinctive contact points. Both data and power are transmitted via the Smart Connector, which makes coupling via Bluetooth superfluous. Practically. There will certainly be additional accessories in the foreseeable future that make use of the new connection.

Unfortunately, the iPad Pro 9.7 is the opposite for iPad Pro 12.9 and iPad Air, the camera lens protrudes a good deal from the case. If we place the test device with its back on the desk, it doesn’t lie completely flat. The fear that the tablet computer could tip over in this way fortunately turns out to be unfounded.

Current iPad models in size comparison

iPad Pro iPad Air 2 / iPad Pro 9,7″ iPad mini 4
Dimensions and weight
height305,7 mm height240,0 mm height203,2 mm
width220,6 mm width169,5 mm width134,8 mm
depth6,9 mm depth6,1 mm depth6,1 mm
Weight723 g Weight444 g Weight304 g
Display12,9″ Display9,7″ Display7,9″
resolution2732×2048 (264 ppi) resolution2048×1536 (264 ppi) resolution2048×1536 (326 ppi)

Display: does True Tone make the difference?

As before, Apple has installed a 9.7-inch display with a high resolution of 2,048 x 1,536 pixels in the iPad Pro. This ensures a razor-sharp image, the content actually looks almost like it has been printed.

No matter from which angle you look at the touchscreen, there will never be any annoying color distortions. Subjectively, the display is also brighter than that Pendant im iPad Air 2.

In the small iPad Pro, Apple is installing a so-called True Tone display for the first time. And we got used to this feature straight away and don’t want to be without it. Regardless of the already known Night Shift function under iOS 9.3 the display regulates the color temperature in relation to the ambient light. The transitions are fluid.

The differences to the iPad Air 2 only become clear on the back.  Apple now integrates the LTE antenna less noticeably in the case, the camera protrudes from the case of the iPad Pro 9.7 and has an LED flash.

The differences to the iPad Air 2 only become clear on the back. Apple now integrates the LTE antenna less noticeably in the case, the camera protrudes from the case of the iPad Pro 9.7 and has an LED flash. (Source: netzwelt)

In the glaring bright sunlight, the iPad Pro 9.7 sets the color temperature to be much cooler. This does not necessarily lead to better readability, but the image impression is more realistic and is more reminiscent of print products. When playing films, however, we found the function rather annoying – and deactivated it. There is no True Tone display on the large iPad Pro. We are almost certain that Apple will use it in the next generation.

DisplayMate: The iPad Pro 9.7 has the best LCD ever

We are not the only ones who are convinced of the advantages of the iPad Pro display. The experts from DisplayMate, an institution when it comes to evaluating displays, also praised the touchscreen of the iPad Pro 9.7 in the highest tones. If you are interested in the very detailed analysis, Find out more at this point. There is also justified hope that Apple will gain knowledge from the iPad Pro display can flow into the iPhone 7.

Performance: A slightly weaker A9X?

Actually the same on paper, but a tad slower in practice: This is how the A9X SoC presents itself in the new iPad Pro. According to a report by the US magazine Macrumors, Apple is supposed to Slightly underclocked the A9 chip in the small iPad Pro. Early benchmark results attested the iPad Pro 9.7 a clock frequency of 2.16 gigahertz.

In our review copy, however, Geekbench 3 shows a clock frequency of 2.24 gigahertz for the iPad Pro 12.9 and a clock frequency of 2.25 gigahertz for the iPad Pro 9.7. Is the small iPad Pro perhaps even faster than the largest iPad of all time?

No, that’s not the case. After completing the multi-core and single-core test, the test device achieved scores of 3,089 and 5,286 points, respectively. The same program attests the iPad Pro 12.9 higher rates (3,232 / 5,487 points). In addition, the iPad Pro 12.9 has twice as much memory with four gigabytes.

Apple iPad Pro 9,7 im Unboxing

However, nothing of this is noticeable in everyday operation. Apps open so quickly on both tablets that we never missed performance. Initially, there is also no noticeable difference in the reduced working memory. Even with more than ten apps open in the background, new applications start without noticeable delays.

4K video editing, graphics-intensive games, editing extensive tables – all this is possible with the iPad Pro 9.7 without any problems and without great effort. Anyone who buys an iPad Pro 9.7 today should still be able to open most of the apps from the App Store in two or three years.

Battery life

The non-exchangeable battery has a capacity of 7,306 milliampere hours (27.5 watt hours). According to Apple, this is enough to surf the net or play videos for up to nine hours with the iPad Pro 9.7 LTE. Once again it is clear: Apple does not embellish this information. With a mix of surfing and video viewing, the lights went out after 8 hours and 45 minutes, with a screen brightness of almost 80 percent.

Accessories: Apple Pencil, Smart Keyboard and other keyboards

Just like the large iPad Pro, the test candidate can also be operated with the Apple Pencil. Except for the proportions, we couldn’t find any difference in everyday life. So look at detailed review of the iPad Pro 12.9 overto find out more about the pros and cons of the Apple Pencil. We also have different ones Benchmarked iPad Pro keyboards, including Apple’s Smart Keyboard, which you can find here.

Four loudspeakers that actually produce an acceptable sound: We were already impressed by the “quadrophonic” concept, in which the two speakers at the bottom take over the bass and the two upper speakers take care of the treble reproduction, with the iPad Pro 12.9. We cannot determine a tonal difference in the 9.7 incher.

The iPad Pro 9.7 also has the best iPad camera to date. The rear sensor has a resolution of twelve megapixels and records videos in 4K quality. And for the first time, Apple is installing an LED flash in a tablet. Whether you need it remains to be seen. We stand the Rather skeptical about tablet photography. In any case, the pictures are suitable for snapshots.

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Lenny Li

I started to play with tech since middle school. Smart phones, laptops and gadgets are all about my life. Besides, I am also a big fan of Star War. May the force be with you!

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