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New iPad 9.7-inch (2017) vs iPad Pro 9.7-inch: What’s the difference?

Apple just launched a new 9.7-inch iPad, fresh for 2017, but what is the difference between this all-new iPad and the older 9.7-inch iPad Pro? Is there much between them in terms of specs, camera tech and design? Here’s our full comparison review.

We’ve been expecting Apple to launch a new set of iPad Pro tablets for a little while now, and possibly even a new iPad Pro Mini, packing the Pro specs into a dinky frame. However, before all that, Apple has surprised us by launching a fresh new standard tablet simply called the 9.7-inch iPad.

The new 2017 iPad sports a lot of similarities with the existing iPad Pro 9.7. But there are plenty of differences between them too, so we thought we would share our complete comparison so you can see which 9.7-inch Apple tablet is best for you.

Check out everything that Apple launched on March 21, including a new red iPhone 7 and 7 Plus and some snazzy new Apple Watch bands.

New iPad 9.7 (2017) vs iPad Pro 9.7: Specs

iPad New iPad 9.7 (2017) iPad Pro 9.7
Screen size 9.7-inch 9.7-inch
Screen resolution 2048×1536 2048×1536
True Tone? No Yes
Storage 32/128GB 32/128/256GB
Processor A9 A9X
Apple Pencil? No Yes
Smart Keyboard? No Yes
Rear camera 8MP f/2.4 12MP f/2.2
Video recording 1080p 4K
FaceTime camera 1.2MP 5MP
Cellular? Yes Yes
Battery life Up to 10 hours Up to 10 hours
TouchID? Yes Yes
Price From £339 From £549

New iPad 9.7 (2017) vs iPad Pro 9.7: Design

Stick the new 9.7-inch iPad and the iPad Pro 9.7 side-by-side and you may struggle to work out which is which. They both sport the same size of display (of course), plus the same Apple design work – all metal rear and glossy up front.

However, although they are the same height and width, the new 2017 iPad is a little chunkier than the iPad Pro. This new Apple tablet is 7.5mm thick, compared to the 6.1mm iPad Pro 9.7. It is also a little heavier, at 469g versus 437g.

In addition, the iPad Pro comes in a choice of silver, space grey, gold and rose gold colours. That pinky rose gold finish is unavailable on the new iPad, just the other three colours.

New iPad 9.7 (2017) vs iPad Pro 9.7: Screen and media

Media fans will be pleased to hear the new 2017 iPad sports the same resolution display as the more expensive iPad Pro 9.7. Both tablets pack a 9.7-inch panel with 2048×1536 pixel resolution, giving pleasingly sharp image reproduction. So if all you want is a portable movie machine, the new iPad will do the job.

That said, the iPad Pro 9.7 offers Apple’s True Tone screen tech, plus a wider colour range for more accurate visuals. Apple has also installed an anti-reflective coating on the Pro’s display for more comfortable outdoor viewing.

If you upgrade to the iPad Pro, you also get those super-beefy quad speakers, which pump out some serious audio. The standard 9.7-inch iPad drops this to dual stereo speakers, which should still be fine for everyday use.

New iPad 9.7 (2017) vs iPad Pro 9.7: Performance and features

The iPad Pro 9.7 comes with three storage options in all: 32GB, 128GB and 256GB. The new 2017 iPad, meanwhile, offers just the 32GB and 128GB variants. Still, 128GB is plenty to carry around a big collection of apps, movies, music and photos, so should do the everyday user just fine.

It’s the video editors and other creative users who might demand the 256GB of space, especially as neither tablet supports microSD memory card expansion.

You get a choice of WiFi or WiFi plus cellular with either 9.7-inch iPad, although only the Pro model supports the new e-SIM tech. Both tablets boast a TouchID fingerprint sensor, for unlocking the tablets and paying for stuff with Apple Pay.

If you are serious about getting creative on your Apple tablet, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro offers two great accessories known as the Smart Keyboard and the Apple Pencil. These allow you to smash out an essay, edit documents on the go, sketch a masterpiece and much more besides. These accessories are not supported by the new 2017 iPad.

As for performance, the new iPad should be fine for everyday tasks with that powerful Apple A9 processor on board. However, the iPad Pro’s A9X chipset offers a graphics boost, which is perfect for creative types and gamers.

New iPad 9.7 (2017) vs iPad Pro 9.7: Cameras

The New iPad 9.7’s camera tech is pretty basic, offering the older 8-megapixel lens with f/2.4 aperture. It is less advanced than Apple’s newer 12-megapixel f/2.2 camera, found on the iPad Pro. Video recording maxes out at Full HD on the standard iPad, compared with 4K resolution footage on the Pro tablet.

Around the front you get a very basic 1.2-megapixel snapper on the new 2017 iPad. Meanwhile the iPad Pro 9.7 sports a shiny 5-megapixel FaceTime camera, complete with the Retina Flash feature for low light shots. It is a big step up for those Skype sessions, offering grain-free visuals.

New iPad 9.7 (2017) vs iPad Pro 9.7: Price and verdict

Starting at £339, the new iPad 2017 model offers strong value for money. The iPad Pro 9.7 starts at £549, more than £200 more, so should only be considered if you are serious about those creative features such as the Apple accessory support and boost to graphical performance.

Read next: What is Apple launching next?


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