Apple recently announced a new iPad, simply calling an iPad. The device – which we’ll call the iPad 9.7 (2017) – sports a 9.7-inch screen, it looks identical to the iPad Air 2 (which it replaces) and it makes even harder to pick an iPad just for you. Since there are now so many iPad models to choose from we decided to compare them and provide you some help with picking a perfect iPad model.
Design-wise all four models look practically the same. Not counting screen size, the design is quite similar featuring a large Home button on the front, main camera placed at the top left side on the back, and a large Apple logo on the middle of the backside.
When we look at dimensions, it is apparent that the new iPad 9.7 (2017) sports the same dimensions as the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Pro 9.7. the new device is a bit thicker, which is a shame because it is newer than the iPad Air 2, and a bit heavier than the other two 9.7-inch iPads. Also, the new tablet features dual external speakers, unlike the iPad pro models that rock a quad speaker setup.
- iPad 9.7 (2017): 240 x 169.5 x 7.5 mm (9.45 x 6.67 x 0.30 in) and 469 / 478g (1.03 / 1.05lbs) for cellular/non-cellular
- iPad Air 2, iPad Pro 9.7: 240 x 169.5 x 6.1mm (9.4 x 6.6 x 0.24 inches) and 444 / 437g (0.98 / 0.96lbs) for cellular/non-cellular
- iPad Pro 12.9: 305.7 x 220.6 x 6.9mm (12 x 8.86 x 0.27 inches) and 713 / 729g (1.57 / 1.59lbs) for cellular/non-cellular
- iPad mini 4: 203.2 x 134.8 x 6.1 mm (8 x 5.3 x 0.24 inches) and 298.8 / 304g (0.65 / 0.67lbs) for cellular/non-cellular
The new iPad 9.7 (2017) features an Apple A9 chip (dual-core 1.84 GHz (Twister) CPU and PowerVR GT7600 (six-core) GPU) along with 2 gigs of RAM. A bit disappointing, especially because the chip is two years old. At least it’s better than the solution used in the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 4 (A8X and A8, respectively) since the two chips date back to 2014.
Of course, it’s power can’t be compared with the power of the two iPad Pro models since they are using a newer A9X chip. Overall, the new iPad is powerful, but if you are a power user, it is better to go with one of the two iPad Pro models.
- iPad 9.7 (2017): Apple A9 with dual-core 1.84 GHz (Twister) CPU and PowerVR GT7600 (six-core) GPU, 2GB of RAM
- iPad Air 2: Apple A8X with Triple-core 1.5 GHz Typhoon CPU and PowerVR GXA6850 (octa-core graphics) CPU, 2GB of RAM
- iPad Pro 9.7: Apple A9X with dual-core 2.16 GHz (Twister) CPU and PowerVR Series 7 (12-core) GPU, 2GB of RAM
- iPad Pro 12.9: Apple A9X with dual-core 2.26 GHz (Twister) CPU and PowerVR Series 7 (12-core) GPU, 4GB of RAM
- iPad mini 4: A8 second-generation chip with 64-bit architecture, CPU: 1.3x faster, Graphics: 1.6x faster compared to A7, M8 motion coprocessor
As for the display, the new iPad 9.7 (2017) features an LED‑backlit Multi‑Touch display (2732×2048 pixel resolution) at 264 pixels per inch (ppi). Solid specs, but with a couple of weak sides. Firstly, the new model comes without the anti-reflective display coating. If you like to use your tablet under bright lights (or outdoors) you’ll have a tough time. Further, the display isn’t a True Tone display seen in the two iPad pro models. Not so bad, especially since the Pro models are way more expensive, but a bit disappointing. Oh, and the 3D Touch feature is still missing, but since all iPads lack the feature, this is completely normal.
- iPad 9.7 (2017), iPad Air 2, iPad Pro 9.7: 9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Multi-Touch display, 2732 by 2048 resolution at 264 pixels per inch (ppi)
- iPad Pro 12.9: 12.9 inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Multi-Touch display, 2732 by 2048 resolution at 264 pixels per inch (ppi), oleophobic coating
- iPad Mini 4: 7.9 inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Multi-Touch display, 2048 by 1536 resolution at 326 pixels per inch (ppi), oleophobic coating
The camera was never the most important feature on iPad devices, and it is not surprising that Apple equipped the new iPad 9.7 (2017) with an 8MP (f/2.4) camera seen on the iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 4 and iPad Pro 12.9. The front facing camera counts 1.2 MP. Since you’ll rarely use the main camera (everyone carries a smartphone that usually packs a better rear camera these days), the specs are okay.
- iPad 9.7 (2017), iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 4 and iPad Pro 12.9 – rear: 8MP, ƒ/2.4 aperture, 1080p video, no OIS. Front: 1.2MP, f2.2 aperture, 720p video, no OIS
- iPad Pro 9.7 – rear: 12MP, ƒ/2.2 aperture, 4K video recording, no OIS. Front: 5MP, ƒ/2.2 aperture, 1080p video recording, no OIS
While the camera is outdated, the battery is excellent. It will offer a 10-hour battery life, but don’t expect fast charging feature.
The price of the new iPad 9.7 (2017) is really affordable (at least if we compare it with other iPad models). The device costs just $329 (32GB Wi-Fi) and if you want Wi-Fi + Cellular it will cost you $459 (32GB).
At the end, the new iPad 9.7 (2017) is a solid tablet that doesn’t offer top-of-the-line specs, but on the other side, we have solid build quality, a fair pricing, and the iOS, which is better mobile OS than Android for tablet devices. If you want massive horsepower, pick an iPad Pro. If you want a solid tablet that features nice screen, quality chassis, and a superb ecosystem, pick the new iPad 9.7 (2017).