Notebookcheck

Apple iPad Pro 9.7 Tablet Review

Daniel Schmidt (translated by Martina Osztovits), 04/04/2016

Smaller, yet powerful! With the smaller 12.9-inch sibling of the big iPad Pro, Apple also offers a strong competitor to the iPad Air 2. We have already reviewed the elegant power tablet with the iPhone camera. Even though it is once again an exemplary product, there is still room for improvements.

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For the original German preview, see here.

With the iPad Pro 9.7, Apple introduces a smaller variant of its large Pro tablet with the same size as the iPad Air 2. Despite the similar look, the Californians do not consider the new tablet as a successor to the Air 2 because of its Pro features including four speakers, the improved display, strong performance, and optional accessories. The latter also includes the Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard. Fortunately, a 256 GB variant of the tablet is also available, with what the manufacturer responds to criticisms about small storage capacity. With the launch of the Pro 9.7, this is also available for the larger Pro 12.9.

The prices of the two 9.7-inch tablets vary significantly. The lowest configuration (32 GB, Wi-Fi-only) of the test model is available from 689 Euros (~$784). Models with 128 or 256 GB of internal storage increase the price by 180 Euros (~$205) each. LTE adds a further 150 Euros (~$171). Thus, the top model adds up to 1199 Euros (~$1365). The iPad Pro 12.9 (max. 256 GB, LTE, 1419 Euros/~$1616) can be even more expensive. In comparison, the top model of the iPad Air 2 (64 GB, LTE, 649 Euro/~$739) appears to be a bargain. Apple has decreased the price of the older models, which now start from 439 Euros (~$500; 489 Euros/~$557 previously).

The iPad Pro 9.7 is available in silver, space gray, gold, and rose gold. The acclaimed Apple A9X SoC is supposed to provide fast performance, but it clocks slightly lower than in the larger iPad Pro. Moreover, the RAM capacity has been reduced by half. On the other hand, the new device is the first tablet from Apple with integrated flash. In addition, the tablet brings really good cameras with the same sensors as the current iPhones 6s. Unfortunately, once again, the rear camera is not flush with the case. Anyone opting for the LTE model will also get the Apple SIM, which can be used in addition to a conventional Nano SIM card. With LTE Cat. 6, the iPad comes with a potentially fast modem. The display has also been changed quite a lot.

As usual, the build quality is premium. Considering the new display, the more compact form, the better cameras, and the larger storage capacity, some owners of an iPad Pro 12.9 might be disappointed, since a performance gain is noticeable in benchmarks at best. The missing memory is not noticeable in practice yet. However, those who also want to use their Pro tablet for video editing or other demanding tasks might be better off with the larger sibling because of its higher RAM capacity.

It is a pity that once again, Apple has not managed to provide a QWERTZ variant of the Smart Keyboard in this product. While it is in the works, we have not been told when it will be available.

The list of rivals include the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE, Google Pixel C, Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet, Huawei MediaPad M2 10.0, Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10 as well as the Microsoft Surface Pro 4.

Apple iPad Pro 9.7 (iPad Pro Series)
Processor
Apple A9X 2.16 GHz
Memory
2048 MB 
, LPDDR4
Display
9.7 inch 4:3, 2048x1536 pixel 264 PPI, capacitive touchscreen, 10-point multi-touch, native pen support, IPS, DCI-P3 Color Gamut, True Tone, glossy: yes
Storage
Apple 256 GB (iPad Pro 9.7 NVMe), 256 GB 
, 228 GB free
Connections
Audio Connections: kombinierte Kopfhörer- und Mikrofonklinke (3,5 mm), 1 Fingerprint Reader, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: 3-axis gyroscope, ambient light sensor, accelerometer, barometer, Lightning Port, Air Play
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.2, GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800 und 1900 MHz), UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900 und 2100 MHz), LTE Cat. 6 (Band 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 38, 39, 40 und 41), LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 6.1 x 240 x 169.5 ( = 0.24 x 9.45 x 6.67 in)
Battery
27.91 Wh, 7306 mAh Lithium-Polymer, 3.82 Volt, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 10 h
Operating System
Apple iOS 9
Camera
Primary Camera: 12 MPix (autofocus, f/2.2, HDR, UHD video)
Secondary Camera: 5 MPix (fixed focus, f/2.4, HDR, 720p video)
Additional features
Speakers: four stereo speakers, Keyboard: virtual, power adapter, lightning cable, quick guide, 12 Months Warranty, Apple SIM, Nano-SIM
Weight
444 g ( = 15.66 oz / 0.98 pounds), Power Supply: 98 g ( = 3.46 oz / 0.22 pounds)
Price
1199 Euro

 

In direct comparison: iPhone SE, iPhone 6s Plus, iPad Pro 9.7 and Pro 12.9
In direct comparison: iPhone SE, iPhone 6s Plus, iPad Pro 9.7 and Pro 12.9

Design, tactile feeling and build quality are similar to the bigger sibling iPad Pro 12.9 and are on the highest level, even in comparison with other devices. The tablet with an aluminum unibody case has the same weight as the older iPad Air 2 with 444 grams for the LTE version and 437 grams for the Wi-Fi version. There are some lighter Android rivals like the Sony Experia Z4 Tablet or Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 with the same screen size, but the iPad Pro 9.7 still works really well as a tablet. While the Pro 12.9 was definitely noticeable after a while at 723 grams (+65 %), this is actually no problem with the 9.7-inch counterpart. For comparison: Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 (i5/i7) tips the scale at 786 grams (tablet only), the Surface 3 is also noticeably heavier at 622 grams (but also has a bigger 10.8-inch screen).

Besides the weight, there are also big differences compared to the Pro 12.9 when we look at the dimensions. Not the slightly thinner chassis (6.1 vs. 6.9 millimeters) creates the completely different impression, but the length and the width, so the Apple iPad Pro 9.7 also appears more compact. The iPad Air 2 has the same dimensions.

Size Comparison

Connectivity

There are no big differences to the iPad Pro 12.9 in respect of the connectivity. You still do not get an SD-card reader to expand the internal storage. If you want to import files from a memory card, like from a camera, for example, you need a corresponding adapter (Lightning to SD card reader) for 35 Euros. There are also other adapters for the Lightning port, like a USB 3.0 port, USB Type-C or the common Type-A. The scope of delivery only includes the tablet, a Lightning to USB cable and the power adapter. Apple often shows the Pencil in combination with applications, but it costs another 109 Euros. Besides the Lightning port, you also get a three-pin Smart Connector at the left side (landscape mode bottom), which is used for the communication and power supply of peripherals like the optional Smart Keyboard (169 Euros).

top: audio, speakers, power
top: audio, speakers, power
left side: Smart Connector
left side: Smart Connector
right side: microphone, volume, SIM slot
right side: microphone, volume, SIM slot
bottom: speaker, Lightning port, speaker
bottom: speaker, Lightning port, speaker

Software

The Apple iPad Pro 9.7 is already shipped with Apple's latest iOS 9.3, while we still tested the bigger iPad Pro 12.9 with iOS 9.2 last autumn. The update is primarily a security update, which is supposed to close numerous security holes. The popular "1970 bug" is fixed as well. Among the new features is a special Night Mode with a warmer picture (Night Shift") as well as quick protection of notes via fingerprint. More information about iOS 9.3 is available here. We do not have to talk a lot about the performance of iOS 9.3. All inputs are smooth and the system is responsive. More information about the software is available in our review of the iPad Pro 12.9.

Looks simple, but it is not: Opened iPad Pro 9.7 (source: iFixit)
Looks simple, but it is not: Opened iPad Pro 9.7 (source: iFixit)

Maintenance

Speaking of repairability: Our colleagues from iFixit already got their hands on the new iPad Pro 9.7 and took it apart. Easier said than done, because with a “Repairability Score” of just 2 points, the tablet was not really designed to be repaired if there should be damage. The main reason is the massive use of glue inside the case. Pro-users should definitely consider a warranty extension to 2 years (Apple Care+, free repair or replacement and phone support, but service fee of 49 Euros) for 99 Euros. You will have to calculate significant costs if the device has to be repaired after the short warranty period.

Communication and GPS

The smaller Apple iPad Pro 9.7 is also superior to the bigger sibling Pro 12.9 in respect of communication features and supports faster LTE Cat. 6 (up to 300 Mbps downstream). This is still not high-end, but at least better than Cat. 4 in the Pro 12.9. Commendable is the wide coverage of frequencies, so you should be able to use the tablet all over the world. The signal quality was very good both in metropolitan are well as rural areas. The mobile Internet connection can only be used for data connections. You have to use Apple’s FaceTime or other solutions like Skype if you want to make calls with the tablet. 

The iPad Pro 9.7 is actually a dual-SIM device. Besides the usual Nano-SIM slot, you also get the Apple SIM. It is supposed to improve or avoid roaming, respectively, because the device shows data plans from Apple partners in other countries, which can be booked on a pre-paid basis. This service was limited to Deutsche Telekom in Germany as of this writing, but other companies are supposed to follow. Your personal data is gathered by every service provider individually and can vary. You can pay with common credit cards. If you are already in another country, you do not have to worry about additional costs. The necessary data connection for the selection of the Apple SIM provider is free.

The integrated Wi-Fi module is identical to the Pro 12.9 and supports the IEEE 802.11 standards a/b/g/n/ac as well as MIMO antenna technology in 2.4 and 5 GHz networks. The signal quality was inconspicuous during our review and the range was very good. We still had a good signal with a distance of 15 meters to the router (AVM Fritz!Box 6360, 2.4 GHz) and we were able to browse the web or stream media files without noticeable restrictions.

The tablet also supports Bluetooth 4.2 and NFC, but the latter can only be used in combination with Apple Pay.

The position of the tablet can be located via GPS and Glonass satellite networks. The location process is very quick, even inside of buildings. We also took the iPad Pro 9.7 on a small car ride to check the accuracy and compared the results with the bicycle navigation device Garmin Edge 500. We can see that the tablet locates the position quite often and is generally on par with the device from Garmin. The latter was a bit more accurate on the streets of a large city, while the iPad had the advantage on the highway. The tablet is therefore well-suited for navigation purposes.

Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
Apple iPad Pro 9.7

Cameras

picture with the front camera
picture with the front camera

Compared to the bigger sibling, Apple upgraded the iPad Pro 9.7 pretty significantly in this section. The Californians implemented the sensors of the iPhone 6s, so this is the first tablet with identical camera hardware compared to a high-end smartphone.

This means we get a contemporary 5 MP (2576 x 1932 pixels) camera at the front. Videos can only be recorded in 720p, but you get an automatic HDR function in return. Our sample pictures show that it works pretty well. The sensor is therefore not only suitable for FaceTime, but also occasional selfies if the tablet is not too bulky for you. 

At the rear is a 12 MP sensor, which supports all familiar features from the iPhone 6s except for the optical image stabilizer. At least it is not specified by Apple. However, the colleagues from iFixit say that the tablet is equipped with the camera from the 6s Plus, so there should be OIS. Videos can also be recorded in UHD and the quality is on the expected high level.

The picture quality should be identical to the iPhone and we cannot see a difference compared to the iPhone 6s Plus or the iPhone SE in low-light situations. However, this does change outdoors with activated HDR. The pictures of the iPhone 6s Plus have better dynamics, appear sharper and the colors are more saturated. This difference is not noticeable on the devices, but only if we compare them side-by-side in their original size. We cannot rule out differences due to situational lighting changes, and the 6s Plus is also equipped with OIS. We therefore also take a look at the results under controlled lighting conditions.

iPad Pro 9.7
iPhone 6s Plus
iPhone SE

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the zoom step. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3

Color Accuracy and Sharpness

ColorChecker Passport picture: The target color is displayed in the bottom half of each patch.
ColorChecker Passport picture: The target color is displayed in the bottom half of each patch.

First, we check the color accuracy of the Apple iPad Pro 9.7 under controlled lighting conditions. Most of the colors are pretty rich and slightly oversaturated. The white balance is a bit too warm, which will create a pleasant atmosphere for most pictures.

We also took a picture of our test chart under controlled lighting conditions, and the results were not edited in any way. The sharpness in the center is on a good level and also stays comparatively stable towards the edges, only the contrast is slightly lower. We cannot see a difference compared to the iPhone SE; the iPhone 6s Plus on the other hand is even a bit better. You can see this pretty well at the fonts on the dark color fields in particular. The fonts are sharper and they do not fray as much on Apple’s premium smartphone. The picture of the 6s Plus appears to have a higher contrast in general compared to the other two devices, despite identical picture settings (f/2.2, 1/100 sec, ISO 25, iOS 9.3.1). We can therefore confirm our impression from the environment shots. We cannot finally confirm why this is the case. It is possible that Apple can solve this with a software update.The differences are only visible when you look at the pictures in their actual size, so this should not be a big deal for the majority of users.

iPad Pro 9.7
iPhone 6s Plus
iPhone SE

Input Devices & Handling

The Apple iPad Pro 9.7 has a capacitive touchscreen, which can recognize up to ten inputs simultaneously. The gliding capabilities of the glass surface are very good, but you can still quickly see fingerprints, despite a special coating. Precision and responsiveness of the screen do not cause any criticism.

The smaller Pro tablet does not differ from the bigger sibling in general, except for the smaller input area. The Apple Pencil also works with the tablet and the handling is identical. However, the panel might be too small if you like to draw on the tablet or edit media files.

We also received a Smart Keyboard with the iPad Pro 9.7. It is still a QWERTY version, but an Apple employee assured us that a QWERTZ model is in the works. However, we already heard this statement during the release of the iPad Pro 12.9. The keyboard itself works pretty well and has a short and precise travel. The keys are very smooth and unfortunately not illuminated. There is just one operating angle, which is a small problem. It could be too steep for bigger persons, even f you are sitting at a desk. The construction is also pretty wobbly on the lap.

Display

Subpixel arrangement
Subpixel arrangement

Similar to the iPad Air 2 and its predecessors, Apple also uses a 9.7-inch IPS display for the smaller Pro model. It has a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels, which results in a pixel density of 264 PPI. Contents are therefore sufficiently sharp, but you can see some aliasing when you look closely.

Our brightness measurements are identical on a pure white surface and with an even distribution of bright and dark areas (APL 50). The maximum luminance is not increased with the activated sensor. While the higher luminance of the iPad Pro 9.7 is good news at first, the measurement of the black value is pretty sobering. All in all, the iPad Pro 12.9 manages almost twice the contrast and a great black value. Still, the contrast of our review unit is very good and the brightness distribution in particular is great.

Apple equips the iPad Pro 9.7 with a second ambient light sensor, which controls the True Tone display. The color temperature is adjusted to the environment, which is supposed to create a more appealing picture that is better for the eyes. This feature is activated by default, but can also be deactivated in the settings. The picture generally appears warmer in low-light situations. We will use a separate article to review this feature. 

iOS 9.3 also introduces the Night Shift feature, which has a similar functionality, but is not operated by sensors.

True Tone deactivated
True Tone deactivated
True Tone activated (daylight)
True Tone activated (daylight)
Night Shift: cold
Night Shift: cold
Night Shift: standard
Night Shift: standard
Night Shift: warm
Night Shift: warm
509
cd/m²
493
cd/m²
500
cd/m²
503
cd/m²
523
cd/m²
496
cd/m²
496
cd/m²
489
cd/m²
489
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 523 cd/m² Average: 499.8 cd/m² Minimum: 2.84 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 93 %
Center on Battery: 523 cd/m²
Contrast: 1006:1 (Black: 0.52 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 1.1 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 1.4 | - Ø
99.55% sRGB (Argyll) 62.97% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.11
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
IPS, 2048x1536, 9.7
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
IPS, 2732x2048, 12.9
Apple iPad Air 2
IPS, 2048x1536, 9.7
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
Triluminos display with X-Reality, 2560x1600, 10.1
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
Super AMOLED, 2048x1536, 9.7
Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10 YT3-X90L
IPS, 2560x1600, 10.1
Huawei MediaPad M2 10 inch
IPS, 1920x1200, 10.1
Screen
-20%
-36%
-199%
-25%
-111%
-116%
Brightness
500
393
-21%
427
-15%
457
-9%
357
-29%
434
-13%
383
-23%
Brightness Distribution
93
92
-1%
92
-1%
92
-1%
86
-8%
82
-12%
91
-2%
Black Level *
0.52
0.22
58%
0.61
-17%
0.46
12%
0.35
33%
0.41
21%
Contrast
1006
1814
80%
693
-31%
1024
2%
1226
22%
939
-7%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
1.1
2.96
-169%
2.86
-160%
8.69
-690%
1.78
-62%
4.61
-319%
5.31
-383%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
1.4
3
-114%
2.37
-69%
11.24
-703%
1.38
1%
6.64
-374%
5.58
-299%
Gamma
2.11 114%
2.21 109%
2.43 99%
2.17 111%
2.24 107%
2.42 99%
2.4 100%
CCT
6662 98%
7049 92%
6941 94%
9508 68%
6366 102%
6929 94%
7044 92%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
62.97
71.15
13%
88
40%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
99.55
97.87
-2%
99
-1%

* ... smaller is better

We checked the color accuracy with a spectrophotometer and the analysis software CalMAN. The display leaves a great impression when we compare the results with the sRGB reference. The deviations are bigger compared to the wider AdobeRGB color space. This is mainly caused by the limited representation of green colors, which is visible in the ColorChecker. However, this is intended by Apple since the manufacturer promises a full coverage of the DCI-P3 reference. The latter is similar to AdobeRGB, but covers less green tones and more red tones in return. This standard was developed by the movie industry and is the predecessor of the color space Rec. 2020, which is the reference for 4K and 8K contents.

The majority of users will be satisfied with the performance, but a wider AdobeRGB coverage would have been more useful for picture editing and graphics artists in particular.

Grayscale (target color space: sRGB, True Tone: off)
Grayscale (target color space: sRGB, True Tone: off)
Saturation Sweeps (target color space: sRGB, True Tone: off)
Saturation Sweeps (target color space: sRGB, True Tone: off)
ColorChecker (target color space: sRGB, True Tone: off)
ColorChecker (target color space: sRGB, True Tone: off)
ColorChecker (target color space: AdobeRGB, True Tone: off)
ColorChecker (target color space: AdobeRGB, True Tone: off)
sRGB coverage (99.55 %)
sRGB coverage (99.55 %)
AdobeRGB coverage (62.97 %)
AdobeRGB coverage (62.97 %)

The Apple iPad Pro 9.7 leaves a pretty good impression outdoors and can convince in many lighting conditions. Only direct sunlight will show the limits of the tablet.

The iPad Pro 9.7 on a slightly overcast day.
The iPad Pro 9.7 on a slightly overcast day.
Reflections are a problem under direct sunlight.
Reflections are a problem under direct sunlight.

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
30 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 15 ms rise
↘ 15 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 71 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (26.9 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
137 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 40 ms rise
↘ 97 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 99 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (43.4 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 58 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 5114 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Looking at the viewing angle stability, the Apple iPad Pro 9.7 can benefit from the IPS display technology and the fully-laminated panel. There is basically no gap between the display glass and the panel itself, so reflections are reduced and there are hardly any ghosting effects. You can only see the IPS glow effect from very flat angles and on large black surfaces. Inverted colors are no problem.

Viewing angles Apple iPad Pro 9.7
Viewing angles Apple iPad Pro 9.7

Performance

A look inside the tablet or at the specifications, respectively, suggests identical components for the iPad Pro 9.7 and the bigger iPad Pro 12.9 (here in review). However, this is not always the case. Apple once again uses the familiar A9X SoC (two native cores, PowerVX 7XT GPU), but the chip reaches a maximum clock of up to 2260 MHz in the iPad Pro 12.9 and only 2160 MHz in the more compact 9.7-inch model. This should be a result of the lower cooling performance of the smaller chassis as well as the much smaller integrated battery. There are also differences in terms of RAM: 2 GB inside the iPad Pro 9.7, twice of that (4 GB) inside the iPad Pro 12.9. Apple does not really advertise these differences, but they might be important for real "pro users".

Let’s have a look at the benchmarks, especially compared to the bigger sibling iPad Pro 12.9: The latter is usually a couple of percent points ahead in the majority of tests. The slightly better performance of the iPad Pro 9.7 in a couple of tests is probably a result of variations in the individual benchmarks. Noticeable is the much better score of the Pro 12.9 in the GPU demanding GFX Bench; the bigger model is almost twice as fast as the iPad Pro 9.7.

Geekbench 3
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
5268 Points ∼14%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
5419 Points ∼14% +3%
Apple iPad Air 2
4530 Points ∼12% -14%
Google Pixel C
4216 Points ∼11% -20%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
3949 Points ∼11% -25%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
4221 Points ∼11% -20%
Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10 YT3-X90L
3190 Points ∼8% -39%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
3079 Points ∼65%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
3200 Points ∼67% +4%
Apple iPad Air 2
1816 Points ∼38% -41%
Google Pixel C
1411 Points ∼30% -54%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
1298 Points ∼27% -58%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
1247 Points ∼26% -59%
Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10 YT3-X90L
1001 Points ∼21% -67%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
1807 Points ∼60%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
1555 Points ∼52% -14%
Google Pixel C
1205 Points ∼40% -33%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
1641 Points ∼54% -9%
Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10 YT3-X90L
1254 Points ∼42% -31%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
6127 Points ∼79%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
7525 Points ∼97% +23%
Google Pixel C
4293 Points ∼56% -30%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
843 Points ∼11% -86%
Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10 YT3-X90L
1426 Points ∼18% -77%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
4002 Points ∼80%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
4061 Points ∼82% +1%
Google Pixel C
2735 Points ∼55% -32%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
1926 Points ∼39% -52%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
946 Points ∼19% -76%
Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10 YT3-X90L
1384 Points ∼28% -65%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
51 fps ∼9%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
80.1 fps ∼15% +57%
Apple iPad Air 2
37.6 fps ∼7% -26%
Google Pixel C
40 fps ∼7% -22%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
26 fps ∼5% -49%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
17 fps ∼3% -67%
Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10 YT3-X90L
18 fps ∼3% -65%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
35.1 fps ∼10%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
33.3 fps ∼9% -5%
Apple iPad Air 2
27 fps ∼7% -23%
Google Pixel C
22 fps ∼6% -37%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
16 fps ∼4% -54%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
12 fps ∼3% -66%
Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10 YT3-X90L
8.5 fps ∼2% -76%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
39.5 fps ∼9%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
83 fps ∼20% +110%
Google Pixel C
31 fps ∼7% -22%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
18 fps ∼4% -54%
Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10 YT3-X90L
11 fps ∼3% -72%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
26.9 fps ∼15%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
54.3 fps ∼31% +102%
Google Pixel C
13 fps ∼7% -52%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
9.4 fps ∼5% -65%
Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10 YT3-X90L
5.8 fps ∼3% -78%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
1185 Points ∼77%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
1091 Points ∼71% -8%
Apple iPad Air 2
1263 Points ∼82% +7%
Google Pixel C
884 Points ∼57% -25%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
758 Points ∼49% -36%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
648 Points ∼42% -45%
Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10 YT3-X90L
872 Points ∼57% -26%
Graphics (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
6485 Points ∼75%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
8422 Points ∼98% +30%
Apple iPad Air 2
4920 Points ∼57% -24%
Google Pixel C
6355 Points ∼74% -2%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
2683 Points ∼31% -59%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
1385 Points ∼16% -79%
Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10 YT3-X90L
1886 Points ∼22% -71%
Memory (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
2185 Points ∼49%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
2027 Points ∼46% -7%
Apple iPad Air 2
832 Points ∼19% -62%
Google Pixel C
868 Points ∼20% -60%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
954 Points ∼22% -56%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
590 Points ∼13% -73%
Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10 YT3-X90L
1141 Points ∼26% -48%
System (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
6098 Points ∼93%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
6230 Points ∼95% +2%
Apple iPad Air 2
4104 Points ∼62% -33%
Google Pixel C
2724 Points ∼41% -55%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
2488 Points ∼38% -59%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
2867 Points ∼44% -53%
Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10 YT3-X90L
1643 Points ∼25% -73%
Overall (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
3181 Points ∼84%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
3282 Points ∼87% +3%
Apple iPad Air 2
1967 Points ∼52% -38%
Google Pixel C
1909 Points ∼50% -40%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
1482 Points ∼39% -53%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
1103 Points ∼29% -65%
Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10 YT3-X90L
1325 Points ∼35% -58%
PassMark PerformanceTest Mobile V1
3D Graphics Tests (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
1176 Points ∼34%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
1174 Points ∼34% 0%
Apple iPad Air 2
1160 Points ∼34% -1%
Google Pixel C
3320 Points ∼97% +182%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
2887 Points ∼85% +145%
2D Graphics Tests (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
4072 Points ∼40%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
4454 Points ∼43% +9%
Apple iPad Air 2
2956 Points ∼29% -27%
Google Pixel C
5215 Points ∼51% +28%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
5537 Points ∼54% +36%
Memory Tests (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
16513 Points ∼28%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
18483 Points ∼31% +12%
Apple iPad Air 2
13780 Points ∼23% -17%
Google Pixel C
5208 Points ∼9% -68%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
7032 Points ∼12% -57%
Disk Tests (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
125281 Points ∼91%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
137071 Points ∼100% +9%
Apple iPad Air 2
72371 Points ∼53% -42%
Google Pixel C
14722 Points ∼11% -88%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
16552 Points ∼12% -87%
CPU Tests (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
58793 Points ∼22%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
59659 Points ∼22% +1%
Apple iPad Air 2
73235 Points ∼27% +25%
Google Pixel C
129085 Points ∼48% +120%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
119929 Points ∼44% +104%
System (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
5511 Points ∼42%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
5638 Points ∼42% +2%
Apple iPad Air 2
4979 Points ∼38% -10%
Google Pixel C
8618 Points ∼65% +56%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
8868 Points ∼67% +61%
AnTuTu Benchmark v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
168840 Points ∼74%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
184346 Points ∼81% +9%
Google Pixel C
90568 Points ∼40% -46%
Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10 YT3-X90L
70385 Points ∼31% -58%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
19621 Points ∼40%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
19852 Points ∼40% +1%
Apple iPad Air 2
10512 Points ∼21% -46%
Google Pixel C
7563 Points ∼15% -61%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
7790 Points ∼16% -60%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
6885 Points ∼14% -65%
Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10 YT3-X90L
8197 Points ∼17% -58%

Legend

 
Apple iPad Pro 9.7 Apple A9X, Apple A9X / PowerVR Series 7XT, Apple 256 GB (iPad Pro 9.7 NVMe)
 
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 Apple A9X, Apple A9X / PowerVR Series 7XT, Apple 128 GB (iPad Pro 12.9 NVMe)
 
Apple iPad Air 2 Apple A8X, PowerVR GXA6850, 128 GB eMMC Flash
 
Google Pixel C Nvidia Tegra X1, NVIDIA Tegra X1 Maxwell GPU, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994, Qualcomm Adreno 430, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE Samsung Exynos 5433 Octa, ARM Mali-T760 MP6, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10 YT3-X90L Intel Atom x5-Z8500, Intel HD Graphics (Cherry Trail), 32 GB eMMC Flash

We can only see small or negligible differences in the browser benchmarks between the two iPad Pro models. Both devices perform very well compared to Android devices. The main rival with Windows is the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (here the Core i5 version), which can clearly beat the iPad Pro in some tests.

Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
A9X / PowerVR GT7xxx, A9X, Apple 256 GB (iPad Pro 9.7 NVMe)
19621 Points ∼40%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
A9X / PowerVR GT7xxx, A9X, Apple 128 GB (iPad Pro 12.9 NVMe)
19852 Points ∼40% +1%
Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2
Mali-T628 MP6, 5420 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash
4218 Points ∼9% -79%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
29991 Points ∼61% +53%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), Z3745, 32 GB SSD
6060 Points ∼12% -69%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
Mali-T760 MP6, 5433 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash
6885 Points ∼14% -65%
Apple iPad Air 2
PowerVR GXA6850, A8X, 128 GB eMMC Flash
10512 Points ∼21% -46%
Apple iPad Mini 4
PowerVR GX6450, A8, 64 GB SSD
9962 Points ∼20% -49%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
A9 / PowerVR GT7600, A9, Apple AP0064K (iPhone NVMe)
15967 Points ∼32% -19%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
A9X / PowerVR GT7xxx, A9X, Apple 256 GB (iPad Pro 9.7 NVMe)
225 Points ∼30%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
A9X / PowerVR GT7xxx, A9X, Apple 128 GB (iPad Pro 12.9 NVMe)
215 Points ∼29% -4%
Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2
Mali-T628 MP6, 5420 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash
80 Points ∼11% -64%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
Mali-T760 MP6, 5433 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash
79 Points ∼11% -65%
Apple iPad Air 2
PowerVR GXA6850, A8X, 128 GB eMMC Flash
158 Points ∼21% -30%
Apple iPad Mini 4
PowerVR GX6450, A8, 64 GB SSD
144 Points ∼19% -36%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
A9 / PowerVR GT7600, A9, Apple AP0064K (iPhone NVMe)
190 Points ∼25% -16%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet LTE P1761
GeForce ULP K1 (Tegra K1 Kepler GPU), K1, 32 GB eMMC Flash
106 Points ∼14% -53%
JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
A9X / PowerVR GT7xxx, A9X, Apple 256 GB (iPad Pro 9.7 NVMe)
143 Points ∼43%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
A9X / PowerVR GT7xxx, A9X, Apple 128 GB (iPad Pro 12.9 NVMe)
142 Points ∼43% -1%
Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2
Mali-T628 MP6, 5420 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash
21.936 Points ∼7% -85%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
Mali-T760 MP6, 5433 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash
41.12 Points ∼12% -71%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
A9 / PowerVR GT7600, A9, Apple AP0064K (iPhone NVMe)
118.7 Points ∼36% -17%
Sunspider - 1.0 Total Score (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
A9X / PowerVR GT7xxx, A9X, Apple 128 GB (iPad Pro 12.9 NVMe)
181 ms * ∼4%
Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2
Mali-T628 MP6, 5420 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash
1063.3 ms * ∼26%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
104.5 ms * ∼3%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), Z3745, 32 GB SSD
739 ms * ∼18%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
Mali-T760 MP6, 5433 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash
1016.2 ms * ∼25%
Apple iPad Air 2
PowerVR GXA6850, A8X, 128 GB eMMC Flash
291.1 ms * ∼7%
Apple iPad Mini 4
PowerVR GX6450, A8, 64 GB SSD
329 ms * ∼8%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
A9 / PowerVR GT7600, A9, Apple AP0064K (iPhone NVMe)
223 ms * ∼6%
Google V8 Ver. 7 - Google V8 Ver. 7 Score (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
A9X / PowerVR GT7xxx, A9X, Apple 128 GB (iPad Pro 12.9 NVMe)
19567 Points ∼100%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), Z3745, 32 GB SSD
6452 Points ∼33%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
Mali-T760 MP6, 5433 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash
7197 Points ∼37%
Apple iPad Air 2
PowerVR GXA6850, A8X, 128 GB eMMC Flash
9355 Points ∼48%
Apple iPad Mini 4
PowerVR GX6450, A8, 64 GB SSD
10452 Points ∼53%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
A9 / PowerVR GT7600, A9, Apple AP0064K (iPhone NVMe)
15529 Points ∼79%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
A9X / PowerVR GT7xxx, A9X, Apple 256 GB (iPad Pro 9.7 NVMe)
1546.3 ms * ∼3%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
A9X / PowerVR GT7xxx, A9X, Apple 128 GB (iPad Pro 12.9 NVMe)
1498.8 ms * ∼3% +3%
Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2
Mali-T628 MP6, 5420 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash
7727.5 ms * ∼13% -400%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
1178 ms * ∼2% +24%
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), Z3745, 32 GB SSD
5853 ms * ∼10% -279%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
Mali-T760 MP6, 5433 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash
6483.2 ms * ∼11% -319%
Apple iPad Air 2
PowerVR GXA6850, A8X, 128 GB eMMC Flash
2396 ms * ∼4% -55%
Apple iPad Mini 4
PowerVR GX6450, A8, 64 GB SSD
2557 ms * ∼4% -65%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
A9 / PowerVR GT7600, A9, Apple AP0064K (iPhone NVMe)
1743 ms * ∼3% -13%
BaseMark OS II - Web (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
A9X / PowerVR GT7xxx, A9X, Apple 256 GB (iPad Pro 9.7 NVMe)
1185 Points ∼77%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
A9X / PowerVR GT7xxx, A9X, Apple 128 GB (iPad Pro 12.9 NVMe)
1091 Points ∼71% -8%
Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2
Mali-T628 MP6, 5420 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash
637 Points ∼41% -46%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
Mali-T760 MP6, 5433 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash
648 Points ∼42% -45%
Apple iPad Air 2
PowerVR GXA6850, A8X, 128 GB eMMC Flash
1263 Points ∼82% +7%
Apple iPad Mini 4
PowerVR GX6450, A8, 64 GB SSD
1059 Points ∼69% -11%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
A9 / PowerVR GT7600, A9, Apple AP0064K (iPhone NVMe)
1199 Points ∼78% +1%

* ... smaller is better

You can only influence the size of the internal storage capacity. The entry-level model comes with 32 GB flash storage, the next bigger model with 128 GB is 180 Euros more expensive. There is now even a 256 GB version if you need more storage capacity, but it will be another 180 Euros more expensive. 28 GB of our 256 GB review model were occupied ex-works, while 25 GB of the 32 GB version are free for the user (thanks to Technikfaultier for this information).
This means there are also big differences in respect of the storage performance. While our 256 GB model manages write speeds of 336 MB/s and read speeds of 1634 MB/s in the Passmark Disk Test, the 32 GB model only managed 75.8 MB/s and 1165 MB/s (write/read). Those are deficits of around 80 % (write) and 20 % (read).

The 32 GB entry-level model appears to be more of a tool to reach an attractive base price instead of a serious productive configuration. We already mentioned that the iPad Pro 12.9 is now also available with 256 GB NVMe-SSD storage.

Passmark 32 GB model
Passmark 32 GB model
Passmark 256 GB model
Passmark 256 GB model
BaseMark OS II - Memory (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
A9X / PowerVR GT7xxx, A9X, Apple 256 GB (iPad Pro 9.7 NVMe)
2185 Points ∼49%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
A9X / PowerVR GT7xxx, A9X, Apple 128 GB (iPad Pro 12.9 NVMe)
2027 Points ∼46% -7%
Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2
Mali-T628 MP6, 5420 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash
390 Points ∼9% -82%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
Mali-T760 MP6, 5433 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash
590 Points ∼13% -73%
Apple iPad Air 2
PowerVR GXA6850, A8X, 128 GB eMMC Flash
832 Points ∼19% -62%
Apple iPad Mini 4
PowerVR GX6450, A8, 64 GB SSD
902 Points ∼20% -59%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
A9 / PowerVR GT7600, A9, Apple AP0064K (iPhone NVMe)
1124 Points ∼25% -49%
PassMark PerformanceTest Mobile V1 - Disk Tests (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
A9X / PowerVR GT7xxx, A9X, Apple 256 GB (iPad Pro 9.7 NVMe)
125281 Points ∼91%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
A9X / PowerVR GT7xxx, A9X, Apple 128 GB (iPad Pro 12.9 NVMe)
137071 Points ∼100% +9%
Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2
Mali-T628 MP6, 5420 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash
19014 Points ∼14% -85%
Apple iPad Air 2
PowerVR GXA6850, A8X, 128 GB eMMC Flash
72371 Points ∼53% -42%
Apple iPad Mini 4
PowerVR GX6450, A8, 64 GB SSD
66990 Points ∼49% -47%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
A9 / PowerVR GT7600, A9, Apple AP0064K (iPhone NVMe)
96768 Points ∼71% -23%

Games

Despite the slightly slower SoC compared to the iPad Pro 12.9, the iPad Pro 9.7 is still a very powerful device and there is currently no game that would not run smoothly. Thanks to the smaller dimensions and the lower weight, the smaller Pro tablet is even the better gaming device. The gaming experience is complemented by well-working position sensors, the good touchscreen and good speakers.

We only noticed occasional crashes in Asphalt 8 when the race was finished. This will probably be fixed by an update.

Asphalt 8
Asphalt 8
Modern Combat 5
Modern Combat 5

Emissions

Temperature

The surface temperatures of the Apple iPad Pro 9.7 are never a problem. We can measure more than 40 °C (up to 42.3 °C) at some spots under sustained load. However, this is not inconvenient and also not surprising when you consider the powerful SoC. The high temperature development of the power adapter (up to 50.2 °C) on the other hand is noticeable. 

We use the battery test of GFXBench 3.1 Metal to check the behavior of the SoC under sustained load. The T-Rex test is repeated thirty times and the frame rates are logged. This test shows that there are no significant performance variations. The more demanding test, which is based on Manhattan 3.1, did not run. We therefore ran the Relative Benchmark for one hour on the iPad Pro 9.7 and repeated the 3DMark Sling Shot 3.1 Extreme test after that. Here we can see a performance drop of around 15 percent.

3DMark Sling Shot Extreme after sustained load
3DMark Sling Shot Extreme after sustained load
GFXBench 3.1 Metal: Battery Test
GFXBench 3.1 Metal: Battery Test
Max. Load
 41.3 °C42.3 °C38.5 °C 
 34.2 °C34.8 °C34.8 °C 
 32.5 °C32.7 °C32.2 °C 
Maximum: 42.3 °C
Average: 35.9 °C
39.8 °C40.6 °C40.1 °C
35.2 °C35.7 °C36.3 °C
31.9 °C32.8 °C31.9 °C
Maximum: 40.6 °C
Average: 36 °C
Power Supply (max.)  50.2 °C | Room Temperature 21.6 °C | Voltcraft IR-260

Speakers

Pink Noise measurement
Pink Noise measurement

Similar to the bigger sibling, Apple equips the iPad Pro 9.7 with four speakers. They are supposed to create a consistent sound experience independent of the tablet orientation. The speakers at the top are supposed to be slightly louder in portrait mode, which we use for our pink noise measurements. They support it and subjectively, we can confirm the consistent sound. There is too much emphasis on the high tones, whereas bass is non-existent and the medium as well as super-high tones fall behind. All in all, the result is not quite as good as the iPad Pro 12.9, but the test model can be very loud at up to 90.59 dB(A).

The stereo jack does not cause any criticism and produces a noise-free signal.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The power consumption of the Apple iPad Pro 9.7 is pretty average, which is most likely a result of the bright display and the powerful SoC.

Similar to the iPad Pro 12.9, the power adapter (10 Watts, 5.1 V, 2.1 A) is not sufficient, which is also the reason for the high temperatures under load. We therefore used the PSU of the Pro 12.9 for our measurement of the maximum consumption, since the provided PSU would have distorted the result. But even the more powerful PSU was insufficient, so the battery was drained (minus 3 %) when we ran the Relative Benchmark for one hour.

One feature that is long overdue is quick-charge, because it takes more than four hours before the battery is fully charged again.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0 / 0.37 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 1.71 / 7.55 / 7.62 Watt
Load midlight 8.39 / 12.08 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Gossen Metrahit Energy
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
27.91 Wh
Apple iPad Air 2
28 Wh
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
39 Wh
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
22 Wh
Huawei MediaPad M2 10 inch
25.3 Wh
Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10 YT3-X90L
23 Wh
Power Consumption
21%
-38%
8%
30%
-119%
Idle Minimum *
1.71
1.2
30%
2.69
-57%
2.3
-35%
1.6
6%
8.6
-403%
Idle Average *
7.55
5.1
32%
10.95
-45%
4.5
40%
4.13
45%
11.26
-49%
Idle Maximum *
7.62
5.4
29%
11.14
-46%
5
34%
4.22
45%
11.3
-48%
Load Average *
8.39
7.9
6%
11.54
-38%
9.4
-12%
6.57
22%
14.57
-74%
Load Maximum *
12.08
11.1
8%
12.8
-6%
10.4
14%
8.32
31%
14.9
-23%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime

The battery runtimes of the Apple iPad Pro 9.7 are among the best in our comparison group, only the minimum runtime of the review unit falls behind the rivals except for the Xperia Z4 Tablet, which has even less stamina.

The Apple iPad Pro 9.7 performs surprisingly well in our tests with an adjusted display brightness (150 cd/m²) and can beat all the rivals. The efficiency of the tablet is really good and can even clearly surpass the advertised 10 hours in our Wi-Fi test. It does not last quite as long in our video test, but the result is still very good.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
30h 50min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
12h 59min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
11h 48min
Load (maximum brightness)
3h 06min
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
27.91 Wh, 94.3
Apple iPad Air 2
28 Wh, 95.3
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
39 Wh, 93
Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10 YT3-X90L
23 Wh, 91.8
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
22 Wh, 90.3
Huawei MediaPad M2 10 inch
25.3 Wh, 93
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
22 Wh, 93
Battery Runtime
-11%
-3%
1%
-13%
-7%
-7%
Reader / Idle
1850
1364
-26%
1933
4%
1261
-32%
918
-50%
988
-47%
2135
15%
H.264
708
562
-21%
630
-11%
644
-9%
651
-8%
602
-15%
705
0%
WiFi v1.3
779
695
-11%
558
-28%
393
-50%
698
-10%
525
-33%
Load
186
212
14%
195
5%
323
74%
291
56%
266
43%
166
-11%
WiFi
630

Pros

+ very good display
+ stable Wi-Fi
+ Apple SIM (eSIM)
+ great GPS module
+ good speakers
+ good battery runtimes
+ fast SoC

Cons

- NFC only for Apple Pay
- power adapter is too weak and gets hot under load
- storage of the 32 GB version is slower
- no quick-charge
- long loading times
- high price

Verdict

In review: Apple iPad Pro 9.7. Test model courtesy of Apple Germany.
In review: Apple iPad Pro 9.7. Test model courtesy of Apple Germany.

Apple once again offers an excellent product with the iPad Pro 9.7, which convinces with familiar virtues and suffers from old quirks. We get a great display, good battery runtimes, best cameras in a tablet, eSIM support, optional support for the Apple Pencil or a Smart Keyboard. The latter is once again only available with a QWERTY layout and we would finally like to see a more powerful power adapter as well as quick-charge.

The symbiosis of the iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro 12.9 is pretty successful, but it is also very expensive.

You get fast performance and good speakers in return. However, the entry-level model will not be sufficient if you plan to use the device for multimedia purposes, even though the additional charge for the bigger storage capacity is pretty steep at 180 Euros. Similar to the bigger Pro, Apple offers a powerful device, but it is not a notebook replacement in our opinion; there are just too many limitations and the usability as a working device is often affected by the small display. The Pro 12.9 is much better suited for professional usage scenarios.

The iPad Pro 9.7 is a tablet for users that do not want to make any compromises. This is often the case for the performance or the cameras, but not for the Pro 9.7. If you are, however, looking for a pure multimedia tablet, you will be completely satisfied with the Air 2 or you could save a lot of money with the MediaPad M2. Professional users will be better off with the iPad Pro 12.9 or the Surface Pro 4. The Pixel C is another interesting alternative.

Apple iPad Pro 9.7 - 04/18/2016 v5.1
Daniel Schmidt

Chassis
88%
Keyboard
76 / 80 → 95%
Pointing Device
93%
Connectivity
43 / 65 → 67%
Weight
84 / 88 → 92%
Battery
94%
Display
91%
Games Performance
66 / 68 → 97%
Application Performance
71 / 76 → 94%
Temperature
89%
Noise
100%
Audio
81 / 91 → 89%
Camera
76 / 85 → 90%
Add Points
-1%
Average
75%
91%
Tablet - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Apple iPad Pro 9.7 Tablet Review
Daniel Schmidt, 2016-04- 4 (Update: 2016-04-29)