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Grow Your Business Technology

iPad Pro 9.7-Inch: Is It Good for Business?

iPad Pro 9.7-Inch: Is It Good for Business? The new iPad Pro is a lot more portable than last year's 12.9-inch model. / Credit: Jeremy Lips

Does Apple's new, more compact iPad Pro have what it takes to be your next work companion? The 9.7-inch tablet, which pairs with a keyboard and active stylus, is a lot more portable than the original 12.9-inch iPad Pro, which launched last year. That makes the smaller model easier to slide into your bag before you run out of the office — and it doesn't sacrifice performance or battery life in the process. But the inherent limitations of the iPad as a productivity device are just as apparent this time around.

If portability is your top concern, then the iPad Pro is the 2-in-1 tablet for you. The slate has a significantly smaller footprint than the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 or the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S, and weighs about a half pound lighter than each of those slates. But both of those devices offer 2 extra inches of screen space.

Performance and battery life are equally impressive for a device this svelte. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro comes equipped with Apple's A9X processor, the same chip that powers the 12.9-inch model. That means it's fast enough for you to edit two 4K videos side by side, without a hint of lag. Meanwhile, the tablet ran for a seriously impressive 10 hours and 53 minutes on our battery life test, which is nearly twice as long as the Surface Pro 4 and the Galaxy TabPro S lasted.

The iPad Pro's biggest limitation as a productivity device is its keyboard. Apple's Smart Keyboard accessory snaps effortlessly onto the bottom edge of the device, transforming it into a miniature laptop computer. But unlike the Surface Pro 4, which lets you adjust its kickstand to view the screen at any angle you want, the iPad Pro has just a single steep viewing angle, which is annoying if you're typing with the device on your lap.

The cramped keyboard is also an issue; it's smaller than the Smart Keyboard for the 12.9-inch model, so long typing sessions can be uncomfortable. And the lack of a touchpad is another problem for workers. You'll be reaching up to tap the screen constantly, without the accuracy of a mouse cursor.

Check back for a full review of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro very soon, or check out our picks for the best business laptops and tablets currently on the market.

Brett Nuckles

Brett Nuckles has been a working journalist since 2009. He got his start in local newspapers covering community news, local government, education and more before he joined the Business News Daily staff in 2013. He graduated from Ohio University, where he studied Journalism and English. Follow him on Twitter @BrettNuckles.