Apple iPad Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra: Which tablet is better?

Apple iPad Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra

Apple, Samsung

The premium tablet market is dominated by two contenders. First, there’s the 12.9-inch Apple iPad Pro, and then there’s the 14.6-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra. Whatever your on-the-go computing needs, you can’t go wrong with either high-end tablet. But if you’re going to invest upwards of $2,000 or more on a new and souped up tablet, make sure you’re getting a model that’ll best meet your needs over the next few years.

Our in-house team of consumer technology experts has compared these two popular tablets to provide you with the information needed to make the best possible choice — not just between which tablet model to purchase, but which hardware configuration is best. If these premium tablets offer too much computing power and are outside of your budget, don’t worry — you have plenty of other options, including plenty of deals, and the tablets featured in our best tablets for 2024 roundup.

iPadOS or Android: Which OS is better?

The biggest difference between the incredibly popular 12.9-inch Apple iPad Pro and 14.6-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra tablet is their operating systems. This plays a huge role when it comes to compatibility with the other equipment you already use, like your smartphone, smartwatch, laptop, desktop computer — even your wireless earbuds.

The iPad runs Apple’s iPadOS 17 operating system. Apple offers a vast ecosystem of compatible equipment, apps and services. Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra runs Android 13. Samsung offers its own robust array of compatible gadgets, apps and services that are part of the Galaxy product line. Those rely heavily on Google and Samsung’s SmartThings platform. So, when choosing a tablet, it’s smart to survey the gadgets you already have.

12.9″ Apple iPad Pro: At a glance



Display Size: 12.9-inch touchscreen | Display Resolution: 2,732 x 2,048 pixels | Display Type: Liquid Retina XDR | Processor: Apple M2 | Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB | Average Battery Life: Up to 10 hours | Operating System: iPadOS 17 (or later) | Dimensions: 11.04 x 8.46 x 0.25 inches | Weight: 1.5 pounds | Port: USB Type-C | Stylus IncludedApple Pencil 2nd Generation (Optional) | Keyboard/Cover IncludedApple Magic Keyboard or cover (optional)

Like all iPads, this one runs Apple’s iPadOS 17 and comes with a robust set of apps. The iPad Pro is designed to work seamlessly with Apple iCloud and will automatically sync data, files and photos with your own Mac computers and iPhone. (Syncing with a Windows computer or Android mobile device is possible, but an additional app is typically required).

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is currently Apple’s top-of-the-line tablet, powered with Apple’s M2 processor, which offers an 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU and 16-core neural engine. In other words, it’s fast, powerful and versatile. The tablet itself includes four speakers, a 12MP ultra-wide front camera and a 12MP wide and 10MP ultra-wide rear-facing camera setup. There’s a USB Type-C port on the bottom of the unit. What it lacks is a microSD memory card slot, so whatever amount of storage you choose at the time of purchase is all you get.

Perhaps the most notable thing about the iPad Pro is a beautiful Liquid Retina XDR display that offers a 120Hz refresh rate, a maximum brightness of 1,600 nits, a wide color gamut and a stunning 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. The result: vivid, detailed and fluid graphics.

iPad Pro is highly customizable thanks to iPadOS 17 and the vast selection of apps available. But to expand how you interact with the tablet, the optional Apple Pencil (2nd generation) and Apple Magic Keyboard are available. Like all of the iPads, this one relies heavily on internet connectivity. Not only do specific apps access the internet to gather and share information, but to use the Siri voice assistant, an internet connection is required. You’ll also need internet connectivity to stream audio and video, or use any of Apple’s services, like iCloud, Apple TV+, Apple News, Apple Arcade, Apple Music or Apple Fitness+.

Right out of the box, the iPad Pro can serve as a handy communication, productivity, gaming and health/fitness tool. The tablet offers excellent multitasking capabilities along with a nice collection of security and privacy features. Whether you need powerful processing for advanced video or photo editing or gaming, or you plan to use your tablet for word processing, email, web surfing, as an e-reader or to stream TV shows and movies, iPad Pro’s up to 10 hour battery life will serve you well in virtually every aspect of your life. In fact, with the right collection of apps and accessories, many users are able to replace their laptop with an iPad Pro.

For more help deciding which iPad model is best for you, check out our comprehensive iPad buyer’s guide.

iPad Pro: Configuration options and prices

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a starting price of $1,099. It’s available in your choice of a space gray or silver casing. All configurations of the iPad Pro come with the tablet, a USB Type-C charging cable and a 20W USB Type-C power adapter. Here are the hardware configurations currently offered:

Wi-Fi 6E only configurations

  • 128GB, Wi-Fi only: $1,099
  • 256GB, Wi-Fi only: $1,199
  • 512GB, Wi-Fi only: $1,399
  • 1TB, Wi-Fi only: $1,799
  • 2TB, Wi-Fi only: $2,199

Wi-Fi 6E + 5G cellular configurations

  • 128GB, Wi-Fi  + cellular: $1,299 (plus monthly cellular service plan)
  • 256GB, Wi-Fi + cellular: $1,399 (plus monthly cellular service plan)
  • 512GB, Wi-Fi + cellular: $1,599 (plus monthly cellular service plan)
  • 1TB, Wi-Fi + cellular: $1,999 (plus monthly cellular service plan)
  • 2TB, Wi-Fi + cellular: $2,399 (plus monthly cellular service plan)

Recommended optional accessories

14.6″ Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra: At a glance

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra


Display Size: 14.6-inch touchscreen | Display Resolution: 2,960 x 1,848 pixels | Display Type: Dynamic AMOLED 2x | Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 | Storage: 256GB, 512GB or 1TB | Average Battery Life: Up to 16 hours | Operating System: Android 13 | Dimensions: 12.85 x 8.21 x 0.21 inches | Weight: 1.61 pounds | Port: USB Type-C | Stylus Included: Yes, Samsung S Pen | Keyboard/Cover Included: Optional 

The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is Samsung’s premium tablet and also a flagship Android tablet. The Tab S9 Ultra is equipped with the fast and powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor. It also takes full advantage of a gorgeous and high-resolution 14.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2x touchscreen display with a lightning quick 120Hz refresh rate. And it’s also one of the very few tablets rated IP68 for water and dust resistance. This feature alone makes this tablet stand out from the competition.

Battery life per charge is up to 16 hours, which is considerably longer than what the iPad Pro offers. The tablet’s quad speaker sound system supports Dolby Atmos surround sound. On the front of the tablet, there’s a 12MP wide and 12MP ultra-wide camera, while on the back, you’ll discover an 13MP wide and 8MP ultra-wide camera. Another useful feature that all Apple iPads lack is a microSD memory card slot. If you need to expand the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra’s storage, you can simply insert a card with up to a 1TB capacity.

While the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is packed with some advanced and impressive hardware, it’s the latest version of Android 13 that makes this tablets shine. The operating system now supports the circle and search feature. Using the S Pen, you can circle just about anything written or displayed on the tablet’s screen and then learn about it via a Google search without leaving whatever app you’re using. 

And this is the first tablet to incorporate Samsung’s Galaxy AI, which makes this model smarter in all kinds of interesting ways. With the new Transcript Assist feature, note taking is easier than ever. You can record meetings, classes or conversations and have the tablet create detailed transcriptions and a text-based summary almost instantly. The photo editing tools integrated into the tablet have also been enhanced with Android 13. And that’s only the beginning of what the latest version of this OS can do.

Like all Android tablets, the Galaxy Tab S9 is Google-centric. It comes with all of the popular Google apps and services preinstalled. Plus, you can access optional apps from either the Google Play Store or the Galaxy App Store.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra: Configuration options and prices

The top-of-the-line Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra has a starting price of $1,400, but all configurations of this tablet frequently go on sale. Plus, Samsung’s website offers a generous trade-in program that gets you up to $800 in instant credit toward your purchase when you trade in an eligible device. And the savings doesn’t stop there. Through the Samsung Offer Program, students, educators, government employees, military personnel, veterans, military families and first responders are all eligible for an additional discount when buying the tablet from Samsung’s website.

All configurations of the tablet are available in your choice of a graphite or beige casing color. Unlike the Apple iPad Pro, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 is only available with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. There’s no cellular connectivity option. On the plus side, the Samsung S Pen stylus is included with the tablet. Also included is a USB Type-C cable (but no power adapter), a two month trial subscription to Adobe Lightroom and a six month trial subscription to Microsoft 365.

Wi-Fi 6E configurations

  • 256GB SSD storage, 12GB RAM: $1,070
  • 512GB SSD storage, 12GB RAM: $1,170
  • 1TB SSD storage, 16GB RAM: $1,400

Recommended accessories

Which is better, the iPad Pro or the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra?

Between the Apple iPad Pro and Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra, which tablet is best comes down to the other equipment you’re already using. If you’re heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem, stick with an Apple iPad Pro. But if you already use an Android smartphone and smartwatch, or a Windows computer, and you consider yourself to be a power user, go with the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra. Both tablets offer large and vibrant touchscreens, nicely handle multitasking, give you easy access to the internet and provide the computing power to handle the most advanced tasks.

When it comes to keeping up with the latest technologies, our team of consumer tech experts has you covered with comprehensive product roundups, in-depth product reviews and details about where and how to find the best deals. We cover everything from laptops and action cameras, to the best TVssmart grillstabletssmartwatches and noise canceling earbuds and headphones.

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