Which one is right for you?

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  • Apple / Pocket-lint

    Apple iPad Pro 11-inch (2022)

    Most versatile

    Apple’s 11-inch iPad Pro is powerful, portable and built for work and play. It’s a great tablet that delivers brilliant performance in a solid build.

    Pros

    • Powerful performance thanks to M2
    • Wide app support and availability
    • Thunderbolt 4 port for data and external displays
    Cons

    • No stylus included in the box

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 - square

    Samsung / Pocket-lint

    Samsung Galaxy Tab S9

    Android fans rejoice

    Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S9 just got a big upgrade to its screen along with a price increase, making it a direct competitor to the 11-inch iPad Pro. 

    Pros

    • Beautiful display
    • S Pen in the box
    • IP68 rating
    Cons

    • Android apps on tablets is still hit or miss

Samsung revealed the updated Galaxy Tab S9 portfolio of tablets during its Unpacked event at the end of July. The standard Galaxy Tab S9 saw a price jump to $799 in the US and £799 in the UK, making it the same price as Apple’s 11-inch iPad Pro in the US, though slightly cheaper in the UK. Both tablets are therefore not only the same size, but at similar price points too, so it makes perfect sense that you might be trying to workout how the two compare and decide between them.


Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S9 arguably received the biggest update among Samsung’s 2023 tablet lineup thanks to a new display, while the iPad Pro 11-inch is nearing a year in age, but still boasts Apple’s M2 processor and great performance. Let’s take a closer look at the similarities and differences between the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 and the Apple iPad Pro 11-inch.


Price, availability and specs

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S9 is currently available to pre-order until its official launch on 11 August, after which it’ll be available in retail and online stores. The base model’s price matches the 11-inch iPad Pro at $799 in the US and £799 in the UK. During the pre-order period, Samsung is upgrading the storage and memory for free, netting you 12GB of memory and 256GB of storage at that $799/£799 price point. Once the promotion ends, you’ll get 8GB of memory and 128GB of storage for $799 in the US and £799 in the UK, or the upgraded model for $919 in the US and £899 in the UK.

Apple’s iPad Pro is available through a wide range of retail and online stores. Pricing starts at $799 for the base model with 128GB of storage in the US, and goes all the way up to $1899 for a 2TB model. For those in the UK, the iPad Pro 11-inch starts at £899 and runs up to £2149 in the UK for the 2TB model. You can add cellular connectivity to the iPad Pro for an additional $200 in the US and £180 in the UK.

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S9

    Storage
    128GB / 256GB + microSD

    CPU
    Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy

    Memory
    8GB / 12GB RAM

    Operating System
    Android 13, Samsung One UI 5 Tab

    Battery
    8400mAh

    Camera (Rear, Front)
    13MP main AF, 12MP ultra-wide rear / 12MP front

    Display (Size, Resolution)
    11-inch AMOLED, 2560 x 1600 pixels, 120Hz

    Connectivity
    Wi-Fi 6E / 5G

    Colors
    Beige / Graphite

    IP RATING
    IP68

    Weight
    498g

  • Apple iPad Pro 11-inch (2022)

    Storage
    128GB / 256GB / 512G / 1TB / 2TB

    CPU
    Apple M2

    Memory
    8GB, 16GB

    Operating System
    iPadOS

    Battery
    Up to 10 hours

    Camera (Rear, Front)
    12MP main, 10MP ultra-wide rear / 12MP front

    Display (Size, Resolution)
    11-inch Liquid Retina, 2388 x 1668 pixels, 600nits

    Connectivity
    Wi-Fi / 5G

    Colors
    Space Grey, Silver

    IP RATING
    None

    Weight
    466g

Design

samsungtabs9_1

The Galaxy Tab S9 looks a lot like its predecessor, save for a few minor tweaks to the overall design. The S Pen bar on the backside of the housing now matches the colour of the tablet, of which the options are either graphite or beige. There’s a new USB-C port that looks the same as last year’s model to my eye, but it’s part of a broader change that brings IP68 dust and water resistance to the tablet. It’s the first time Samsung has added waterproofing to its tablets, and it’s a definitive selling point over the iPad lineup.

The Tab S9 measures 254.3 x 165.8 x 5.9mm and weighs 498g. There’s a single rear-facing camera next to a magnetic stripe where you place the included S Pen for storage and charging the S Pen. When the tablet is in landscape orientation, there’s a front-facing camera above the 11-inch display. On the top edge of the tablet, there’s a second magnetic attachment for the S Pen, however, this one doesn’t charge the stylus. Also along the top edge is a microSD card slot for adding up to 1TB of additional storage to the tablet.

The 11-inch iPad Pro in Apple’s lineup is much like the Tab S9 in that it looks like the rest of the respective lineup, only smaller. In total, the smaller iPad Pro measures 247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9mm and weighs 466g, making it slightly smaller and lighter than the Tab S9. The iPad Pro comes in silver or space grey colour options.

The Apple Pencil has a dedicated magnetic charging spot on the top edge of the housing, when in landscape mode. You won’t find a microSD card slot on the iPad Pro; you’re stuck with whatever storage amount you purchase. There’s a front-facing True Depth camera that enables Face ID to unlock the tablet or authenticate apps and purchases. There are two more cameras on the backside of the iPad Pro.

Display

iPad Pro 11-inch

The biggest, but quietest announcement Samsung made during Unpacked had to do with the Galaxy Tab S9’s display. Prior to this year’s release, the entry-level Tab model came with an LCD display, while the more expensive models both shipped with an AMOLED 2X display. With the Tab S9, however, Samsung is using the same AMOLED 2X technology across its entire Galaxy Tab S-series lineup, meaning the Tab S9’s display just got a significant upgrade.

The Tab S9’s display measures 11-inches, has a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels, and has a 16:10 aspect ratio. This means it’s wider than it is tall when in landscape mode; it’s an aspect ratio that lends itself to watching movies and videos, which are typically a 16:9 aspect ratio. The Tab S9’s display supports a refresh rate of up to 120Hz, meaning fast-paced gaming or tasks like quickly scrolling through a document should look and feel smooth.

The iPad Pro’s 11-inch LED-backlit IPS display has a resolution of 2388 x 1668 pixels with an aspect ratio of 1.43:1. The aspect ratio of the 11-inch iPad Pro isn’t as wide as the Tab S9, so you’ll likely see black bars above and below any standard videos you watch. It’s not enough to ruin watching a movie or TV show, but it’s worth noting for those who plan on using the tablet primarily for entertainment.

As for picture quality, both tablets are going to offer high-quality images, with a clear resolution, deep blacks and colour saturation. However, the Tab S9’s AMOLED display is likely to be more appealing and more vibrant if you’re comparing the screens side by side. It might be a different story if the 11-inch iPad Pro model had the same mini-LED display as the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, but sadly it doesn’t currently.

Hardware and software

samsungtabs9_6

Powering the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy processor, 8GB or 12GB of memory and 128GB or 256GB of storage. You can add up to 1TB of additional storage via a microSD card. Included in the box with the Tab S9 is Samsung’s S Pen stylus. If you want a keyboard, you’ll need to purchase a case separately.

Powering Apple’s iPad Pro 11-inch is Apple’s M2 processor, which includes 8GB of memory when you purchase the 128GB, 256GB or 512GB models. Models with 1TB or 2TB of storage also receive the benefit of 16GB of memory. You can’t add extra storage via a microSD card. Apple doesn’t include an Apple Pencil with the iPad Pro, nor does it come with any type of keyboard case.

Either tablet should offer enough performance to keep up with daily computing tasks but also keep pace with your needs for more demanding tasks like gaming or productivity apps. However, the iPad Pro’s M2 processor is the more performant of the two. It’s the same chip Apple uses in Macs and it delivers exceptional performance.

iPad Pro 11-inch

The iPad Pro’s USB-C port is Thunderbolt 4 for faster transfer speeds and support for external displays, including a dedicated mode in Stage Manager for using the iPad Pro more like a laptop. The Galaxy Tab S9’s USB-C port is limited to USB 3.2 speeds. When connecting a Tab S9 to an external display, you’ll trigger Samsung’s DeX platform which looks and works more like a traditional computer but uses the same Android apps you have installed on the tablet.

However, the biggest difference when it comes to performance between the two tablets will likely come down to software differences. The Tab S9 runs Android 13 with Samsung’s One UI customisations, while the iPad Pro runs Apple’s iPadOS 16.

iPadOS 16 is built specifically for the tablet form factor and use, while Android 13 on any tablet is a hit-or-miss experience. For example, while setting up the Tab S9 Ultra (which uses the same software as the Tab S9), a lot of apps – including Instagram and Facebook – won’t rotate to landscape mode, and are forcing me to use them in portrait mode. It’s awkward.

Both tablets play nicely with their respective ecosystems, with the iPad integrating with the rest of Apple’s hardware and software. The Tab S9 also offers advanced features for Samsung hardware and software, such as the ability to answer phone calls received on your Samsung phone, as well as the ability to send and receive messages via your phone – both of which the iPad Pro also offers.

Which is right for you?

Apple’s 11-inch iPad Pro, strictly from an app availability and compatibility standpoint, is the better of the two options. Its performance combined with the fact that iPadOS is optimised for a tablet experience, be it for gaming, entertainment or productivity, makes for one of the best tablet experiences money can buy.

Apple iPad Pro 12.9 - square tag image

Apple / Pocket-lint

Apple iPad Pro 11-inch (2022)

Editor’s Choice

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S9 was built with portability and entertainment in mind thanks to its high-quality display that’s designed for watching video. It’ll make for a solid note-taking tablet thanks to the included S Pen, as well. If you’re an Android user through and through, and you’re looking for a reliable Android tablet, the Tab S9 won’t let you down.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 square

Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9

A worthy alternative

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