iPad Pro 9.7, review: the best iPad screen is now manageable

After the presentation of the iPad Pro with its forceful 12.9 inches, Apple put on hold the renewal of its most precious and most logical format tablet, the Air. But finally a few weeks ago came the iPad Pro 9.7, with Air design, Pro features and the premiere of an amazing screen.

The new iPad Pro 9.7 includes among its features the novelties that we already knew from the first Pro model, such as the pencil holder, keyboard case and more power. In Xataka we have already tested it calmly and we tell you in our analysis of the iPad Pro 9.7 how it has suited the most popular Apple tablet to renew itself considerably inside.

iPad Pro 9.7, main features

The iPad Pro that Apple presented at the end of last year opened the possibilities of more serious work in tablet format but it was very far from what one looks for in the consumer market with a tablet, which is above all balance and comfort. That is why the iPad Pro with a 9.7-inch screen arrives, which as you will see, shares most of the specifications of the largest Apple tablet, these being also in line with the range in which it intends to compete for price.

iPad Pro 9.7, technical characteristics Physical dimensions 240 x 169.5 x 6.1 mm
437 grams WiFi only
444 grams WiFi + LTE screen 9.7 inch True Tone Resolution 2048 x 1536 pixels (264 dpi) Processor Apple A9X RAM 2 GB Memory 32 / 128GB / 256GB (not expandable) Sensors Touch ID
3D gyroscope
Ambient light Software version iOS 9 Connectivity Bluetooth 4.0
Wi-Fi (802.11a / b / g / n / ac)
LTE, DC-HSDPA, HSPA + with Nano-SIM Cameras 12 MP rear with Focus Pixels, 5 MP front / 4K Recording Battery 7306 mAh (non-removable) Price 32 GB + WiFi -> 679 euros
128 GB + WiFi -> 859 euros
256 GB + WiFi -> 1039 euros
32 GB WiFi + LTE -> 829 euros
128 GB WiFi + LTE -> 1009 euros
256 GB WiFi + LTE -> 1,189 euros
Apple Pencil -> 109 euros
Smart Keyboard -> 169 euros

From the outside it seems that nothing has changed since the iPad Air 2 hit the market (it was at the end of 2014), but there are many interesting news inside this iPad Pro 9.7. The most prominent are in usual and expected fields, such as the processor, where an A9X is placed (although with 2 GB of RAM, half that of the major Pro) or the screen, which debuts a technology called True Tone to improve display of content in many circumstances.

With the last name Pro under its belt, this iPad gains support for the main accessories of Apple tablets, the Pencil and the keyboard, and unexpectedly incorporates the same sensor for the camera as in smartphones. Let's see how our experience with him has been.

iPad Pro, video analysis

After reviewing the main technical characteristics of the iPad Pro, we invite you to see the video analysis where we review what we have found this tablet during the test, see it in operation and check aspects of the design in great detail:

Everything on the screen

A feature that Apple has always known that it could not neglect on its tablets has been the screen. After all, experience with a device of this type inevitably goes through that component. After the week that we have spent with the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, we can already say that it is the best we have had before so far on an Apple tablet, and one of the best on the market.

Without giving up an excellent calibration that professionals will appreciate, the iPad Pro 9.7 launches True Tone technology to improve the experience of those who use the tablet mainly to consume content of all kinds

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro screen is an IPS panel where the brightness has been slightly increased and the screen reflections have been reduced. This in practice means that indoors it is spectacular without resorting to excessive saturation, as occurs in SuperAMOLEDs, and outdoors it has very correct visibility.

The other aspect in which the iPad Pro panel is outstanding is in color rendering. If you are a professional who needs a proper calibration, it is one of the best screens you can use, including the premiere of a DCI-P3 color gamut that Apple already installed in its latest iMac, and puts special emphasis on video and photography not so much for Printing as for reproduction on screens.

It also complies with the screen in resolution, with a pixel density of 264 dpi that allows enough definition for both video content and photos or text. That density is in line with the best tablets of such a diagonal on both Android and Windows.

What makes the difference on the iPad Pro screen to us from the competition is the technology called True Tone. This improvement eliminates the fidelity and precision of the screen in favor of more viewing comfort. It is fully focused on improving the experience of users who turn to a tablet primarily to consume text or video content.

This technology, which can be activated or deactivated on demand, measures the color temperature of the ambient light and adapts that of the screen, as well as the intensity, to facilitate a display with more natural tones and according to the environment.The difference seems negligible until you turn the option on and off and see that you feel more comfortable reading or watching content with True Tone mode active.

The new screen of the iPad Pro receives the possibility of using the pen to draw on it accurately but does not dare with 3D Touch technology

The screen of the new iPad Pro, as happened with the top model, does not include 3D Touch technology, something we miss because we believe that it can have a high value in the tablet format, but it does support the Apple pen.

Using the pen seems more practical in this 9.7-inch format if you don't intend to draw but just take notes and use the iPad as a notebook

This accessory is the same as for the Pro with more screen, which means that it works very well, is effective and an essential tool if you want to draw or create content on the iPad. Given the more compact format of this iPad, I especially liked the pencil to take notes or make notes about content, something that could only be done on the larger model when it was on the table. Without being a draftsman or anything like that, I have used the pencil more in this compact format than in the previous one, which helps a large ecosystem of applications that support the use of this accessory and allow from handwriting recognition to search in notes that we do with the.

Being exactly the same pencil also implies maintaining errors that we believe an accessory of this level and price should not present. The most relevant is curiously associated with design. The Apple Pencil has a good plastic finish but does not stand out in that section. It is completely smooth which makes it slide too easily on flat surfaces. Nor do we understand that all kinds of physical buttons have been omitted that, well integrated as in the Surface pencil, for example, give an extra utility to the accessory. And it remains an accessory without a natural and logical place to be stored when we are not using it.

Slight design changes with the sound and the camera as protagonists

If this iPad Pro sounds familiar, it is normal. The design is identical to that of the last iPad Air with said diagonal. It is therefore still a very light tablet (437 grams, although not the best in this data on the market, since the Tab S2 reduces its weight to 389 grams) and comfortable in hand, with an excellent metal finish and with the addition of the fingerprints, which works fast and is reliable like that of the company's smartphones.

Two design innovations: Powerful corner speakers and a 12-megapixel camera that sticks out of the case considerably

The only details that are modified in the design are in two elements that improve what the previous generation offered to the consumer. In the corners we find four speakers that raise the level and sound quality of the iPad exponentially, something that seems essential to us in a computer that we will use a lot to consume video and even music without headphones.

Both in the camera and sound section, the iPad Pro 9.7 is at the highest level of the market and underpins two aspects that in general have not been particularly cared for in the tablet segment

The power and sound control is the best on the market in the tablet sector that we have tested in Xataka, and the function of changing bass and treble depending on how we hold or place the tablet helps, so that with the information Accelerometers give you bass, always sound from the speakers at the bottom, and treble from the top.

The other design variation from the iPad Air is the bulge on the camera. This is because it is exactly the same as that of the iPhone, and that is why by maintaining the thickness of the Air, it excels in the design, something that we do not like aesthetically but at least it does not bother when we have on the table the tablet.

The performance of the main camera of the iPad Pro 9.7, with a 12 megapixel sensor, is identical to what we have seen in the latest generation Apple smartphones: outstanding with light and very correct when it is scarce. Here I do not think it is so much about taking quality photos with the tablet (but there is that option for whoever uses it or wants to do it at some point) as having the possibility of creating multimedia content using the iPad's own camera as a source , 4K video recording included. In the latter case, Apple remains the benchmark in the market.

Keyboard and multitasking make less sense in this format

The most powerful chip Apple is designing right now, the A9X, is the heart of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. It is the same as in the top model, but it comes with half the RAM: 2 GB. This reduction has little effect on the most classic and leisure use of the tablet today, since it operates smoothly, but we have found in our test an iPad Pro not so agile when we work with multi-windows or in very demanding tasks. And by price range, we would have expected to have those 4 GB that assure us a certain reliability for the future of a tablet of a certain price and aspirations.

As in smartphones with 16 GB, a starting capacity of 32 GB for the most basic model "invites" to opt for the superior model, which in this case is 128 GB. And Apple knows it

Regarding the capacities, we find the entry model with 32 GB of internal memory, then moving on to the 128 and 256 GB versions. As it happens to us with the 16 GB of smartphones, we believe that this starting capacity for the price of the equipment should be higher, and not to put 64 GB but to directly skip them can only obey to "force" the purchase of an even more expensive model .

A good job done by Apple is on the battery. Here is continuity in the result. Apple has correctly set about 10 hours of continuous use of its tablets from almost the original model, and this iPad Pro remains on the line. With mixed use at home we can keep the tablet without charging an average of 2-3 days. Using it more intensively and productively, with keyboard and many hours of screen on, we have averaged about 8-9 hours without having to resort to the charger.

Despite the fact that the interior of this iPad Pro 9.7 is essentially the same as that of the more diagonal model, there are several drawbacks to be able to think of advanced use as someone with the first Pro might consider.

The most significant change and difference is in the screen diagonal. For use in split mode, as iOS 9 allows (although it will depend on each application, something that despairs anyone trying to be a regular of the split screen), the 9.7 inches are scarce for a job with two applications at the same time for a long time. weather. The difference with the 12.9 inches of the larger Pro model does not seem so much in simple figures, but in the end it is like joining two 9.7 screens in one.

From 9.7 to 12.9 inches it seems that there is not much difference but in reality the larger iPad Pro "fits" two 9.7-inch screens

The other accessory associated with the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is the Smart Keyboard. Apple has created a mini version of the keyboard-case with the same operation as the larger model, well built, with a resistant finish but with the disadvantage of being smaller in size, which means that it can be used for writing tasks but nothing too extensive or productive. It is better option to put a classic case and opt for an external keyboard.

In any case, it is quite surprising how well one can get used to the size and feel of the keys, although with the price of the keyboard, one expects more. For example, if it is backlit or there is a version for countries with peculiarities such as Spain, where we cannot find the ñ on the keyboard that is officially sold. In use as a case or stand, it only supports one position when open. It would have been nice to give it another position in stand-alone mode, with the keyboard hidden.

If we opt for the complete pack that includes a keyboard and pencil, the price of the most basic iPad Pro model would go above 1000 euros, a considerable investment with which, for many complete ecosystems, of quality and without equal that we have in iOS , we did not get a full experience, at least a good part of the users.

iPad Pro 9.7, the opinion and note of Xataka

Without the current iPad Air needing an urgent renovation, this iPad Pro with the same screen diagonal is welcome for those users who opt for the iOS operating system and want to take advantage of a screen with support for the pen in a more manageable format, as well as a Very usable sound to consume video content. They are the differential factors that allow this new iPad Pro to stand out again in the segment of tablets less than 10 inches and with main aspirations of consumption.

Performance and battery power remain at the top, and the camera / video camera gives a good boost in addition to the screen, the evolution of which True Tone has convinced us as content consumers.

Another thing is that you seek to go further. Neither by screen size, keyboard or operating system do we believe that this iPad Pro fits into the idea of ​​the main device of many consumers today. The closest thing right now has other references, curiously with an operating system that does fit more: Windows 10.


Design8 screen Yield9.25 Software8.5 Autonomy8,5

In favor

  • Good weight and thickness
  • Fluidity of operation
  • Fabulous display for all kinds of content
  • Camera quality, with 4K video recording
  • Against

  • Expensive and upgradeable accessories
  • Not so suitable size for split screen
  • Battery takes too long to charge
  • High price and low capacity entry model

  • The terminal has been loaned for testing by Apple. Can inquire our policy of relationships with enterprises

    Apple iPad Pro - 9.7 "Tablet (Apple A9X 2.3 GHz, 12 MP front camera, 32 GB internal memory, 2 GB RAM), silver

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