9.7-Inch iPad Pro Review Roundup: A Powerful Everyday Tablet

BY Evan Selleck

Published 28 Mar 2016

9.7-inch iPad Pro review roundup

Last week, Apple took the wraps off a brand new member of the iPad family with the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. And now the reviews are in.

The new 9.7-inch iPad Pro went up for initial orders on March 24, and shipments are set to begin on March 31. Ahead of that date, though, several different publications have already put together their reviews of Apple’s newest 9.7-inch tablet, giving it plenty of high praise along the way. This is a powerful device, but without the gigantic screen that Apple initially launched with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. This could easily be an everyday tablet, with all of the power, features, and accessories to give it an even bigger boost as a productivity tool.

Ars Technica

    “The equation is a little different for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, which is both smaller and cheaper. The tablet is still “Pro” insofar as it is very fast and supports the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil, but expectations are a little lower. At $599 (plus the cost of accessories), this tablet is competing more against midrange Windows PCs, and it’s substantially cheaper than any MacBook that Apple offers. For many active but less-demanding users, the strength of the hardware and the relative simplicity of the software could be enough to recommend it, though for the time being there are things that regular old Windows PCs are just better at than iOS is (including running legacy apps and connecting to just about anything that needs a standard USB port). It really depends on how you work and what you need to do, and we can’t answer all of those questions for you.

    If you’ve already got an iPad and are looking for a newer one, the math is a little simpler. If you have an iPad 2, the third- or fourth-generation Retina iPads, or the original iPad Air and you find yourself using your iPad more often than whatever other computer you have in your house, the iPad Pro is a no-brainer upgrade. It’s fast and light, and its Apple Pencil and multitasking support make it a surprisingly capable computer if you don’t have some specific app or use case that demands a PC. If you have an iPad Air 2 and don’t desperately want Apple Pencil support, ignore the Pro for now. Buy a good Bluetooth keyboard case, and you can still enjoy all the multitasking capabilities and hardware keyboard features that the Pro has. If you’re new to iPad, ask yourself whether you really want Apple Pencil support and make a decision from there. You can buy a refurbished 64GB iPad Air 2 for $419, and there’s so much overlap between it and the new iPad Pro that new buyers should seriously consider it before they go pro.”


    “When the 12.9-inch model felt like it was filling a really important niche and growing Apple’s addressable market, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro feels like it’s bringing everything great about that device — the power, the connectability, the Pencil, the speakers and, most importantly, the attitude.

    This can still be your everyday iPad, and better so than ever, but it can also be your ultra-mobile productivity machine, with little in the way of compromises. Sure, you lose some display and keyboard real estate, but you gain portability and an excellent camera system.”


    “Did Apple just raise the price of the best iPad? Yes, it did. Is it worth it? When you consider the components and storage in the $599, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, absolutely.

    I don’t know if this new Pro model will revitalize the iPad market, but with the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, Apple has certainly given it its best effort. I know I will find it hard to switch back to using an iPad Air 2.”

The Independent

    “The iPad Pro 9.7 inch brings the latest advances to the world of the tablet. It builds the considerable steps forward from the 12.9-inch version into a model that is more affordable. Mind you, you can still spend more if you wish by opting for the 256GB storage capacity now available in both 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch models, starting from £739 on this smaller screen size.

    The Pencil and Smart Keyboard – this smaller keyboard costs £129 –are essential add-ons that work perfectly and add real extra capability.

    But the real reason this is the best iPad yet built is because it combines a stunning display, stonking audio and relentless processing power into a tablet that’s supremely portable.”

If you haven’t already ordered one, do you plan on picking up a new 9.7-inch iPad Pro?