This is the part where we normally introduce our readers to the device being reviewed, but seriously, does the iPad need an introduction? Not really. Six years ago, it single-handedly defined what a modern tablet should look and feel like. Today, it is the only tablet that matters in a segment of the mobile industry clutched by stagnation. And the iPad Pro 9.7 – the newest member in the lineup – further solidifies Apple’s position as a leader on the tablet scene.

Bearing a “Pro” in its name, the iPad Pro 9.7 adopts most of what we loved about the 12.9-inch model from last year – the duet of productivity-oriented accessories, the outstanding 4-speaker sound setup, the performance of Apple’s most powerful mobile processor, to name a few examples. With this new model, it all comes at a size that’s more manageable, more portable, more familiar to users, sprinkled with a few extra bits we’re going to mention in a moment. But at the end of the day, the iPad Pro 9.7 is an expensive piece of kit, starting at $599 without accessories. Is the figure justified?

In the box:


Yup, it’s an iPad alright – sleek, pretty, portable, and… familiar. Too familiar, perhaps. In fact, if you put an iPad Pro 9.7 next to an iPad Air 2, you might have a hard time telling them apart. The weight, dimensions, and overall design of the two models don’t just come close. They’re identical. And how are people around us to notice that we’ve upgraded?

Oh yes, the color! The iPad Pro 9.7 comes in Rose Gold, adding another option alongside the silver, gray, and gold variants we’ve already seen. So far this is the only iPad – and one of the very few tablets, for that matter – to be available in the trendy hue.

Colors aside, the newest iPad adopts all the design traits an iPad is known for. Meticulously crafted, the tablet’s metal body is pleasant to the touch and a beauty to behold. Its buttons – a pair of volume keys and a the home button with built-in Touch ID fingerprint reader – are conveniently placed and easy to operate. This is why we don’t really mind Apple sticking to its tried and tested design formula – there’s pretty much nothing in urgent need of change.

But there’s this one thing sticking out… Literally. That’s the protruding camera module spoiling the otherwise perfectly flat back side of the device. Still, we’ll swallow that, knowing that the snapper is supposed to be a great one. And no, it doesn’t make the tablet wobble, in case you’re wondering.


At a glance, not a whole lot of surprises become apparent. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro comes with a 1536x2048-pixel display at a 3:4 aspect ratio, just like the iPad Air 2. This gives it 264 pixels per inch, which is perfectly sufficient for a tablet. And it is a thing of beauty! Anything from high-res images and video to fine text and 3D graphics looks splendid on the iPad’s screen. On the downside, we’re disappointed to see no 3D Touch functionality here, the reason for its omission still being unclear.

One thing that’s new is the so-called True Tone Display technology, exclusive to the iPad Pro 9.7 as of this writing. In simple terms, it makes the display “colder” or “warmer” to match the temperature of the ambient lighting. The display should look more natural as a result of the color fine-tuning – “almost like looking at a sheet of paper”, as Apple puts it. Perhaps “almost” is too strong of a word, as we can’t really see a dramatic difference. The color shift is really there, but it is very subtle, and we definitely don’t feel like reading a book or a magazine when using our iPad. The real benefit of True Tone Display, in our opinion, is that it eliminates the blueish tone of the tablet’s display. Regardless of the lighting conditions, whites really do look milky white, not bluish as they would appear on most other mobile screens.

True Tone Display should not be confused with Night Shift, which is another color-shifting feature found on the iPad Pro 9.7. When active, the latter filters out blue light during the night hours, thus making the screen go easy on the user’s eyes. You can read more on the matter in our article dedicated to how Apple Night Shift works.

Speaking of colors, the iPad Pro 9.7 displays them beautifully and faithfully, as confirmed by our display measurements. All shades across the spectrum meet their target values with only slight, if any, deviations. There are some inconsistencies with the various shades of gray, but they’re tolerable.

We must also applaud Apple for delivering a tablet that’s easy to use even in broad daylight. The iPad Pro 9.7 shines with over 500 nits of brightness, which, when combined with its low reflectivity, translates to great outdoor visibility.




Posts: 421; Member since: Sep 29, 2015

Cam someone please tell me how this can be useful compared to the surface pro 4. Can't wait for surface phone to obliterate the big 2 in 2017.

2. der_damo

Posts: 213; Member since: Sep 16, 2014

No problem, I can explain it to you - that's because you're comparing a family van (or let's say a S- or E-class-Mercedes) with a Smart or cool Roadster. Stop comparing things like that and you will have a fullfilled life - I swear.

15. Ron_Fleming

Posts: 4; Member since: Aug 14, 2015

Well perhaps if the author didn't make such ridiculous claims as the iPad being "the only tablet that matters," he wouldn't feel the need to make the comparison.

28. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 969; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

I waited 5 years to buy a tablet, and skipped all of the Surface tablets. iPad pro 9.7 for me is the only one that matters because it fits everything I need. It's a solid tablet, but will never replace my $2000 gaming desktop.

44. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

I couldn't justify any ipad at launch price, no matter how good of a tablet is.

4. tyrionTheWise unregistered

It's like half the size of the pro 4. Even comparing that seems dumb. Surface pro 4 is better compared to the 12 inch ipad pro. since portability is the main point of the tablet class, I guess this is way better than pro 4, which is of the same size of an ultrabook.

20. Ron_Fleming

Posts: 4; Member since: Aug 14, 2015

The Pro 4 is not designed to be the same type of tablet as an iPad. You don't need a $900-$1500 device to sit in your bed and surf the net and watch netflix. It's designed to do everything a laptop can do, which an iPad definitely cannot by any stretch of the imagination. That's the entire point of the Surface Pro line: 100% desktop class performance and functionality in a more compact package than a typical laptop. Right now apple really doesn't offer that - the closest they come is their latest MacBooks, which are about as svelte as you're gonna get a fully-powered laptop. And don't forget that when you're talking portability, there's a certain minimum screen size beyond which the device simply isn't as useful, no matter how portable it is. A 2" screen would be INCREDIBLY portable - and nigh useless on anything other than a big smart watch.

22. tyrionTheWise unregistered

Couldn't have said it better. The iPad and surface are designed for completely different users. It's just those stupid microsoft fanboys trying to sound relevant.

23. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2279; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

Do MS fanboys even exist? "Oh look, a new tablet with a window picture I'll just buy another one of those surfaces". Anyways the article mentioned the surface pro, that's why there is a comment about it

34. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Since the Surface Pro also comes in i5 and i7 flavors, the Macbook isn't more powerful, it just has a larger display and a high resolution if you get the 5K display. Even though I love the SP4, apps like Photoshop and all the other Adobe apps, suck on the higher resolution because everything is so small. Even after I adjust the app, it is still not good.

42. chaosnightmare

Posts: 182; Member since: May 20, 2010

Latest update of photoshop works awesome on my SP4, it also helps for overall better experience if you ajust the elements size to 225 or 250 in display settings

21. scotch1337

Posts: 1; Member since: Apr 11, 2016

The most interesting thing I have seen with the Ipad Pro is that there is an app that exists that basically turns it into a WACOM device for Macs. This is HUGE for artists because you have flexibility of the iOS apps for on the go use and be able to do the heavy moving with a Mac. This may not be for everyone, but my understanding as I have spent lots of time researching is that many who own a Mac are drawn to the idea, no pun intended.

35. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Yes, you can take the iPad and turn it into a tablet that when you draw on it, it is sync'd to the Mac and its the drawing pad while the Mac is your display. Yes just like WACOM does. Also some of those WACOM devices are actually a Windows PC as well which is a huge plus in having this capability from a single device which you can hook a monitor straight up too.

29. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

We can't tell you how they compare, because they simply don't. The Surface is not a tablet, it is a Tablet-PC. It is a different category period. The only thing they share is a form factor. Its like trying to compare a station wagon (crossover SUV) to a Full SUV. But a Surface Pro is a "pro" tablet because it runs Windows, it can split apps into how many windows you want and more. Apple seems to think, adding 2 speakers and increasing the camera size toi the same crappy camera in the iPhone makes it be worth $100 more than last years model.

39. BradyCrack

Posts: 835; Member since: Dec 29, 2015

Crappy camera? Aren't they one of the best? Yeah lol, Samsung seems to think, making it thicker is innovation, removing the camera bump is innovation, a bigger battery is innovation. It's really not, that cameras pretty good though, the only innovative reason to upgrade over the S6

46. dazed1

Posts: 805; Member since: Jul 28, 2015

Some noobs never learn, or bother to read reviews. S7 has much better display SD card Much faster CPU, and 2x faster GPU Faster nand Bigger battery Better camera IPX67 waterproofing Great STBR

3. Shocky unregistered

It's smaller so you can actually hold and use it comfortably. (What a novelty!!) You know, that main purpose of tablets, which the Surface Pro hybrid devices fail at miserably as they're huge and weigh too much Let's not forgot Microsoft's app store is garbage.


Posts: 421; Member since: Sep 29, 2015

But then you have the surface 3 which is very portable cheaper in every way looks nice and the app store not that bad when you combine the fact you can use the full desktop application to. So I feel like it's more cause people like the Apple brand that says I've got money.

8. Shocky unregistered

Very portable? It's still quite heavy at over 800g, plus it's quite bulky in comparison. For a tablet anymore than 500g and it's starts to get uncomfortable, any larger than 10" it's it's awkward to hold unless the bezels are very thin and the design fairly compact in terms of design.

7. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

Good thing you don't have only one option with sp line with regards to apps the.. Let's be honest the sp line crops all over the iPad pro line period.

13. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

but smaller device = smaller keyboard case = uncomfortable.. i'll pick bigger and heavier surface for that.. and a few more ons wont break your hand, its still lightweight

16. Ron_Fleming

Posts: 4; Member since: Aug 14, 2015

You completely don't get what the Surface Pro is about at all. Not in the least. By your argument, no business should ever buy a laptop when they could just have an iPhone instead. Because iPhones do everything that laptops do and do it way better, right?

26. jove39

Posts: 2148; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

If you say iPad fits my requirement better than Surface Pro 4...that'd be correct and relevant. But making a general statement about SP4, when you don't fit target audience doesn't make sense at all. I'd choose SP4 over any iPad...but I'd recommend iPad to my wife over SP4.

45. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Weigh to much? The Surface 3 is 633g and you are dying of weight?...which is the same as the rest of the ipads. Then again I don't have wimp arms and neither does my 110lb sister either....

9. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

What the iPads should've been in the 1st place.. such beauty

33. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Really? How so? Question? Please explain how the speakers are suppose to work? There are now 4. The ones on top are pushed to the edges, while the ones on the bottom are pushed towards the center. So, if the speakers aren't auto-sensing, what happens to stereo sound when I turn the table on its side? Now, to be fair; I asked a similar question about the Tab/Note/Surface with stereo speakers. Those were on the front and with mounted based on landscape mode, but them what happens when I'm in portrait? All those devices have the same issue. Stereo sound is thrown off when you place the tablet on a mode opposite of which way the speakers are facing. Now, again to be fair; the speakers mounted front-side for landscape makes sense because you will mostly likely watch a movie in landscape. so this creates a problem for the new iPad because, the stereo speakers are at the top so in landscape the sound will just blow out the side vs in your direction of listening, and you wont here most of the stereo effects. This is a design flaw with poor engineering an no thought to how the device is goign to be used. I'm pissed because we had an Air 2. We sold it and got a Surface Pro 4 which si working perfect. My wife thought she would have no problem using the iPad Mini, but now she wants a iPad again. So I considered the latest model. But its an extra $100, yet Apple took away one of the cores, the camera 12MP camera sucks, and the speakers are in stupid places. Why pay more for a screwed up poorly designed product?

38. BradyCrack

Posts: 835; Member since: Dec 29, 2015

Lol you're hating on the iPad cause of its speaker placement ? Is that all you can think about? Have you ever held the iPad Pro 9.7 in your hand and listened to it? You act as if you know every part of the device, without even touching it.

43. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

Is this what happens when you haven't drank enough coffee or was your coffee lukewarm when it was served? :/

10. Andrew5190

Posts: 55; Member since: Oct 23, 2014

Why is the Apple Pencil in the Pros section? Last I checked, and I checked the whole box (/sarcasm) for the iPad Pro 9.7 I got my girlfriend for her birthday, there wasn't a Pencil in there. This is a review of a device, not a device plus a $100 accessory.

14. Iodine

Posts: 1497; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

Yeah exactly, how could the reviewer be so arrogant to write this ? It's a review of an iPad not a review of a reviewer with an iPad.
iPad Pro 9.7-inch
  • Display 9.7" 1536 x 2048 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Apple A9X, Dual-core, 2260 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB
  • Battery 7306 mAh

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