The least expensive iPad is now amazingly smarter than its predecessors. Having a faster A10 processor and Apple Pencil, it becomes very close to the iPad Pro family (being still half their price, and with a significant discount for students).
OK, what’s finally the difference and is it really worth extra expenses?
Selecting the model won’t be difficult. Plenty of features in the new iPad and the iPad Pro models are similar, such as clients (including free client) and lots of basic things. So the user’s task is just to assess the existing differences and make a right choice. And our review seeks to compare the devices so you can easily decide which is the best for you.
First, let’s look at the specs and try to figure out their exact meaning.
Specifications: iPad vs. iPad Pro
Power capacities: as expected, the iPad Pro is more powerful, but the difference is not in a raw processing power. The A10X chip installed on the iPad Pro is just only slightly faster than the A10 of the 6th gen iPad, so both are capable of coping with any task that users may set for a tablet.
According to the benchmarks, the newest iPad outperforms both the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus in speed capabilities.
The 6th-gen iPad can run multiple apps. However, only two, not three like the iPads Pro, which is due to the smaller RAM (2GB versus 4GB).
Other consequences of the difference in memory imply weaker performance with processor-intensive tasks, and more frequent reload of Safari tabs if many are open simultaneously.
Battery performance is practically the same: 10 hours before the charge.
Apple users who like drawing with just a tablet in their hands certainly admire the Apple Pencil support in the new iPad. However, iPads Pro still have such a big advantage compared to the iPad as Smart Connector. Even the new 6th-gen iPad still lacks that handy feature, which prevents its users from running Smart Keyboard and other related accessories.
Another big difference is the models’ displays. The one on the iPads Pro is not just larger, but it is simply nicer with its wider color gamut and higher brightness and twice as fast.
Besides, the iPads Pro feature a tech for a variable refresh rate called ProMotion. If required, the indicator of frames per second can rise as high as 120, which is again twice the performance of the baseline iPad. The feature shows up especially well when you are using Apple Pencil.
You can also notice the difference in refresh rate when browsing the web, watching a high-quality video or playing fast games. With the iPads Pro, everything is truly smooth.
The slimmer bezels on the 10.5-inch iPad Pro expand the useful screen space with almost the same form factor as in the 9.7-inch iPad.
Another important shortcoming in the iPad is the lack of Apple’s anti-reflective coating, which worsens its use in bright environments. The absence of lamination also has its negative effect: a gap between cover glass and LCD panel.
Taking photos with an iPad is not desirable since the best proper device for the task is an iPhone. But, in case of a big need, use at least an iPad Pro. With similar 12-megapixel cameras as on the iPhone 7 and optical image stabilization, it will do the job fine.
The non-Pro iPad only has an 8-megapixel camera and no optical image stabilization. Certainly, the device will take a photo, but with not so impressive results.
Even more substantial is the difference between the front-facing cameras. The iPad Pro has a front-facing camera of 7-megapixel, while the iPad – just a 1.2-megapixel one (which could cause an issue if you make lots of video calls).
The iPad’s stereo speakers are familiar to any owner of one of the previous iPads. Located on the bottom edge, they are reliable and fine. And a Bluetooth speaker will provide a nice sound. However, the iPad Pro features a way more impressive four-speaker sound set. Two speakers are located on the bottom edge and another two on the top edge (the latter are responsible for louder and deeper stereo sound). The speakers mutual balance is depending on the device position (that is, on how you hold it).
The speakers installed on the iPad Pro not only outperform those on the 6th-gen iPad but are even superior to most laptop speakers.
As to handset-based noise-canceling earphones that can behave almost as virtual noise-canceling speakers, both models are compatible (probably, the best option is Andrea NC 181).
Unfortunately, the iPad still comes with the first-gen Touch ID sensor, which is no less secure than its 2nd-gen counterpart on the iPads Pro, but definitely slower.
Conclusion: what to choose
Still, the greatest difference between the models remains the price. For the iPad Pro, you will spend at least $649, while for the 6th-gen iPad – $329, that is, half as much. And, if you are engaged in education, you will save another $30. Then which model is truly yours?
Probably, if you mainly intend to use your future tablet for browsing the web, checking emails, and watching Netflix, then you’d better suffice with the iPad and save money. But remember what you will lose in this case. The iPads Pro are undoubtedly more impressive and not only in terms of appearance. They win by having a nicer display, more advanced camera and speakers, faster Touch ID and more pleasant boons including the Smart Connector. In most cases, they can even replace a laptop.
So consider everything and make your right choice. Hopefully, our review has made you better informed.