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Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra vs iPad Pro 12.9-inch: Which high-end tablet is best?

Samsung very recently announced its latest high-end flagship tablet for 2023, the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra. Here’s how it compares to Apple’s own M2-powered iPad Pro 12.9-inch

The Tab S9 Ultra and the iPad Pro are the most powerful tablets from their respective brands, but how do they compare to each other? 

Keep reading to discover five important differences you should know before settling on a new tablet. 

The iPad Pro 12.9-inch is powered by the Apple M2 

One of the key selling points for the iPad Pro 12.9-inch is the fact that the tablet is powered by Apple’s own M2 chipset. 

This is the same chip found inside the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro released in early 2022, as well as the early 2023 Mac Mini. We found that the new chip increased benchmarking scores by about 20% compared to the previous M1, but the powerful addition does feel slightly wasted here as there are few apps or games that can actually push the internals of the tablet. 

The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra, meanwhile, runs on a custom version of Qualcomm’s flagship chipset dubbed the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy, which Samsung claims delivers a 34% CPU increase and a 41% GPU increase compared to its predecessor. However, you’ll have to wait for our full review of the tablet to find out how it stacks up to the Apple M2. 

iPad Pro M2 no keyboard or pencil
Apple iPad Pro M2

The iPad Pro 12.9-inch has better app support 

The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra includes some great productivity features thanks to Samsung’s One UI. This includes split screen and drag-and-drop functions for multitasking and multi-control, a feature that allows you to control the tablet and your phone with a single mouse and move files between multiple devices seamlessly. 

However, when it comes to software and app support, Apple is tough to beat. The iPadOS software is more developed than that of Android and there’s an extensive range of iPad-specific apps available to download in the App Store. 

The tide is changing with Samsung tempting some big-name apps to Android, including GoodNotes and LumaFusion Pro, but it’s still not a complete collection.

The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra has a bigger screen 

If a big screen is what you want, the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is for you. 

The tablet boasts a spacious 14.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a 120Hz refresh rate and support for HDR10+. The screen is also bright and sharp, making the S9 Ultra a great option to stream video on. 

The iPad Pro has a slightly smaller (but still large) 12.9-inch mini-LED display with Apple’s Liquid Retina XDR technology and a 120Hz variable refresh rate thanks to the addition of Apple ProMotion

We found the Mini-LED panel to be stunning and the best we’ve seen on a tablet, so if you’re not too fussed about the large 14.6-inch screen, you might want to consider picking up the iPad instead. 

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra home screen
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra

The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is cheaper 

Neither tablet is cheap, but when it comes to the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra vs the iPad Pro 12.9-inch, the S9 Ultra is the slightly more affordable of the two. 

Prices for the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra start at £1199 for 256GB of storage, while the iPad Pro 12.9-inch starts at £1249 for 128GB of storage or £1369 for the equivalent 256GB of storage. That’s a £170 difference if you compare the two 256GB configurations. 

The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra comes with a stylus 

When it comes to cost, it’s also important to consider the accessories that come in the box vs the ones you’ll need to pay extra to get your hands on. 

In the Tab S9 Ultra’s case, the S-Pen comes included with the tablet. However, if you want an Apple Pencil to scrawl down notes or sketch on the iPad Pro, you’ll need to fork out an additional £139 as the two are sold separately.

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