Apple iPad Pro 9.7-inch full review
Our iPad Pro 9.7in review continues. On this page we put the iPad Pro 9.7in through some of our most rigorous testing: first we run processor and graphics tests, and then we test out the iPad's battery performance.
The next section is:
iPad Pro 9.7in review: Processor power, speed benchmarks and graphics testing
The iPad Pro 9.7 is equipped with Apple's proprietary A9X processor and M9 motion co-processor - the same components used in the Pro 12.9 and the most powerful mobile chipset that Apple currently uses. (For comparison, Apple claims that the A9X chip, as used in the Pro 9.7, is 2.5x faster at general processing than the iPad mini 2's A7, and 5x faster at graphics processing.)
It's searingly fast, and comfortably powerful enough to handle anything on the App Store now and for the next couple of years. Indeed, unless you're keen to run the most graphically intensive games or demanding creative or work apps, it's hard not to regard this as spec overkill.
We continue to use the office iPad Air 2 for a range of new and demanding games and work tasks and haven't observed any slowdown yet - but in terms of future-proofing the Pro 9.7 is clearly a better long-term bet. The Air 2, particularly if you plan to regularly update iOS, won't stay fast forever.
In our speed tests the Pro 9.7 was streets ahead of the Air 2 (that's a theoretical advantage, though - the real-world experience for the two is similar at present) and in most tests only slightly behind the iPad Pro 12.9. The Pro 12.9 remains a faster machine overall because of its extra RAM - 4GB compared to the 9.7's 2GB - but the greater demands of that device's larger, higher-res screen mean that in onscreen tests the gap is fairly small. The gap was more noticeable in the offscreen sections of the GFXBench tests.
GeekBench 3 processor benchmarks:
iPad Pro 9.7in review: Battery life testing
The 9.7in Pro comes with a 7,306 mAh rechargeable lithium-polymer battery. That's pretty much the same capacity as the one in the iPad Air 2 (7,340 mAh), but coming 18 months down the tech-development line we would expect it to exhibit slightly improved power efficiency.
In fact, the Pro 9.7 exceeded expectations in its first battery test, achieving a score in GeekBench 3's battery component of 6,711; that's only a little lower than the 6,865 scored at launch by the iPad Pro 12.9 (which has a far larger battery - 10,307 mAh - albeit one that has to power a far larger screen), and well ahead of the iPad Air 2's 4,601.
This seemed impossibly good, so we repeated the test a week later. This time the 9.7in Pro laid down a score of 6,535 - slightly lower, but still extremely impressive. That's a terrific average score of 6,623.
To put that into the context of actual times, those three iPads lasted 11hrs 11m (Pro 9.7), 11hrs 26m (Pro 12.9) and 7hrs 40m (Air 2) respectively. Bear in mind that this is a demanding test and real-world battery life is likely to be significantly higher. In its second test, the Pro 9.7 lasted 10hrs 53m.
Predicting battery life, for that matter, is never an exact science. But we're satisfied that the Pro 9.7 is easily capable of matching the "up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video or listening to music" or "up to 9 hours of surfing the web using a mobile data network" that Apple claims for all five of its current iPad offerings.
iPad Pro 9.7in: 11:02:20 (100%-1%; average score). Battery score 6623 (average)
(This compares to the following older scores:
iPad Pro (12.9in): 6865 (11:26:30, 100%-1%)
iPad Air 2: 4601 (07:40:10, 100%-1%)
iPad mini 4: 3975 (06:37:30, 100%-1%)
iPad mini 2: 3990 (06:39:00, 100%-1%)
Next page: The iPad Pro 9.7in's cameras are tested in real-world conditions >>
- iPad Pro 9.7in review: Intro and summary
- iPad Pro 9.7in review: Design & build quality
- iPad Pro 9.7in review: Screen
- iPad Pro 9.7in review: Speed benchmark testing
- iPad Pro 9.7in review: Battery life tests
- iPad Pro 9.7in review: Camera performance
- iPad Pro 9.7in review: Speakers and audio quality
- iPad Pro 9.7in review: Apple Pencil & Smart Keyboard
- iPad Pro 9.7in review: Tech specs
- iPad Pro 9.7in review: UK pricing & verdict