The new 12.9-inch iPad Pro has only been on store shelves since Nov. 11, but it’s already being put to the test. Arstechnica has conducted a series of benchmark tests, comparing it to other iOS devices along with MacBooks and the Microsoft Surface Pro 4. Here’s what they’ve learned.
In the Geekbench tests, none of the other iPads come close to the results of the larger tablet. In the single-core tests, the iPad Pro scores 3233 versus the iPad Air 2’s 1831. The iPhone 6s comes in closer, though, with a single-core Geekbench score of 2537.
When it comes to multicore tests, the differences aren’t as stark. The iPad Pro gets an overall score of 5498, while the iPad Air 2 comes in at 4542. What’s important to remember, though, is that the iPad Pro is accomplishing this score with just two processor cores, compared to its smaller brother’s three cores.
Looking at the iPad Pro stacked up against the MacBook series and the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, though, things get interesting. In single-core tests, the iPad Pro outperforms the 2015 MacBook and MacBook Air, and comes close to matching scores with the 2015 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro and Microsoft Surface Pro.
The 12.9-inch tablet doesn’t fare so well in multicore tests, but it still holds its own. It is consistently better in memory testing against all of the devices, but falls short in the overall scores when compared to the 2015 MacBook Air, 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, and the Microsoft Surface Pro.
Ars Technica points out that while the iPad Pro may not be a fierce rival for newer laptops and the Microsoft Surface Pro, it is more than capable of acting as a replacement for older MacBooks.
The A9X can’t quite get up to the level of a modern U-series Core i5 based on Broadwell or Skylake (see the 2015 MacBook Air and Surface Pro 4 results), but it’s roughly on the same level as a Core i5 from 2013 or so and it’s well ahead of Core M. And despite the fact that it lacks a fan, the A9X shows little sign of throttling in the Geekbench thermal test, which bodes well for the iPad Pro’s ability to run professional-caliber apps for extended periods of time.
The iPad Pro certainly performs like a champion, coming so close to the results of even a MacBook Pro. It may not be a laptop or Surface killer just yet, but it should certainly perform comparably to these devices. The fact that it rarely throttles the CPU under heavy usage also works out great for the tablet, since it means you’ll be able to use high-end apps for quite a while without noticing a slowdown.