New iPad Pro or Air 2 or Surface Pro 4?

It isn’t just big vs. small Pro to choose from: there’s other iPads; and the Surface is very capable too

 
 New iPad Pro or Air 2 or Surface Pro 4?

Of the two versions of the iPad Pro, the 9.7 is yet to be made available in India but if it's anything like the 12.3-inch to use, it's powerful and fast.

But what really brings the iPad Pro alive is really the Smart Keyboard and Pencil and these will cost Rs.13,900 and Rs. 8,600. That adds hugely to the price of the tablet that starts at Rs. 49,000.

See also: iPad Pro: Big vs Little—Which to buy?

The regular 9.7-inch iPad Air 2 will cost anything from Rs 30,000 to 60,000 (approximately) depending on which version you consider -- they differ based on amount of internal storage and whether they have cellular connectivity or not. It's a waste buying the iPad Pro without the expensive accessories. So again, if you can't draw to save your life and your work or fun doesn't call for it, stick with the regular iPads.

It's not certain what the smaller Smart Keyboard for the iPad Pro 9.7 will cost, but if it too is Rs 13,900, that's a hefty addition to account for. You can opt for another keyboard or keyboard-case which will cost a lot less, but the Pencil is the only stylus that will work with the iPad Pro. And the other iPads will not work with the Pencil, but will support third-party styluses that aren't anywhere as nice to use.

For most users, the iPad Air 2 is the one to go for—and if you use a smaller smartphone, then the Mini 4 is worth considering as a great, low-cost entry into the iPad stable.

iPad Pro 9.7 vs Others

It's inevitable to pitch an iPad, specially the Pros with their keyboards, against all the other stuff available, including hybrids with detachable keyboards.

Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 is more of a competitor for the larger iPad Pro. But it’s worth considering in any case if you’re looking at a tablet as a notebook replacement, for work. The Pro is an outstanding work platform, especially for those used to Windows—a genuinely functional convergence between tablet and laptop that leverages the flexibility of Windows 10 to the hilt.

Much the same can be said for many other hybrids of which most are larger because they're really more focused on work with the tablet part playing second fiddle. For the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, the typing experience will inevitably be less than ideal because the keyboard is compact -- at best good for light work.

Choosing between the iPad Pro and others is also a matter of choosing between two ecosystems. Hybrids are mostly Windows-based and if you're going to need full-fledged software that runs on Windows for your work, the choice is obvious enough.

Many people reacted to the launch of the larger iPad Pro by saying they might as well buy a MacBook Air. Prices for the MacBook Air, a favorite with students, starts at around Rs. 55,000 and the platform compares more with the larger iPad Pro.

Unlike with the Surface Pro 4, which converges PC and tablet onto a converged (Windows 10) platform, the iPad Pro doesn’t quite replace a notebook (and definitely not the MacBook Air, for those who use both). The MacBook Air is an outstanding notebook, and many people use both an iPad and A MacBook Air—and they are different worlds, iOS vs Mac OS, touch versus non-touch.

If you plan to use your tablet as a workhorse, for most office work, the MacBook Air will win over the two iPads, except in cases where your work specifically calls for using the Pencil.

With the smaller iPad Pro, even if prices are almost in the same range, usage style is different as is the software used on both. The smaller iPad Pro is not going to be the machine on which you want to pound out lots of text everyday and it's still nicer for lighter work and lots of fun.

The iPad family has three sizes and many prices to choose from now, but Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 (pictured on top) is a terrific contender too--perhaps the first serious competition to the iPad

Bottom line: For most users, the Air 2 is still the best iPad, the MacBook Air 13 (probably) still the best notebook, the iPad Mini 4 a great low-cost, ultraportable iPad if you like the size, and the Surface Pro 4 an outstanding notebook-replacement tablet especially for work. That leaves the iPad Pro, whether big or small, as a niche tablet for those who need the power of the Pencil and related graphics software.

Lila Ray is a corporate consultant who likes her gadgets almost more than her shoes. Write to her at raylila@outlook.com


Tags : Apple iPad Air 2, iPad Pro 9.7, Microsoft Surface Pro 4