Benchmarking iPad Pro 12.9-inch: 2015 vs 2017

2 minute read
| Analysis

In benchmarking iPad Pro 12.9-inch, I put together some interesting highlights and differences between the old 2015 model and the 2017 model. This includes benchmarks from Geekbench 4 and PerformanceTest Mobile, as well as my experiments with Apple Pencil.

iPad Pro 12.9-inch Benchmarks

iPad Pro 12.9-inch Benchmarks

2017 iPad Pro 12.9-inch Is Snappier

Overall the new iPad feels snappier when you use it, and those differences become more noticeable the more you stress it.  Also, while it’s a nice increase in single core performance (27% speed bump according to Geekbench 4, as shown below), it’s almost double the throughput with multicore performance (79% bump) and Metal/video performance (82% bump). These speed bumps will become much more relevant with iOS 11’s expanded multitasking and windowing.

2017 iPad Pro 12.9-inch Storage Speed

There was a good bit of improvement in SSD speed with the new iPad.  The new iPad has 40% faster reads and a whopping 324% faster writes. The 2015 iPad Pro has respectable 701MB/sec read and ‘meh’ 89.7MB/sec write speed, as shown in the screenshots below. That pales a fair bit to the 2017 iPad Pro’s 980MB/sec read and 380MB/sec write speeds.

This has not been terribly relevant thus far, but with 512GB of storage and the ability to sync all your desktop data onto the iPad to do more ‘real’ work with iOS 11, disk throughput will become more relevant.

Apple Pencil Tracking

Lastly, there was an improvement in Apple Pencil tracking, though at somewhat of an extreme case.  The video below shows when you’re really moving the pencil at high velocity, the older iPad stutters a little bit more, and leaves a bit more of a gap as it fills the line in after the pencil compared to the new iPad.

I don’t know how much this will affect the average artist, but one artist told me they hand shade their art, and that it’s a realistic activity.  Also, I can subjectively say it feels more fluid when sketching with the newer iPad Pro. I half expect the new iPad’s screen to feel wet because the drawing experience feels so liquid-light. How much that’s worth if you already have the old iPad is highly subjective.

Here’s a video comparison I put together:

Quick Look Final Thoughts on iPad Pro 12.9-inch

The best thing to do is go to an Apple Store and test out to see if you like the feel.  If I had the old iPad, it would not be enough of a delta for me to upgrade, but then again, I’m not a graphic artist.

Benchmarks for iPad Pro 12.9-inch 2015

PerformanceTest Mobile by PassMark Software Inc for iPad Pro 12.9-inch 2015

PerformanceTest Mobile by PassMark Software Inc for iPad Pro 12.9-inch 2015

Geekbench 4 CPU benchmark for the 2015

Geekbench 4 CPU benchmark for the 2015

Geekbench 4 metal/video benchmark for iPad Pro 12.9-inch 2017

Geekbench 4 metal/video benchmark for iPad Pro 12.9-inch 2015

Benchmarks for iPad Pro 12.9-inch 2017

PerformanceTest Mobile by PassMark Software Inc for iPad Pro 12.9-inch 2017

PerformanceTest Mobile by PassMark Software Inc for iPad Pro 12.9-inch 2017

Geekbench 4 CPU benchmark for the 2017

Geekbench 4 CPU benchmark for the 2017

Geekbench 4 metal/video benchmark for iPad Pro 12.9-inch 2017

Geekbench 4 metal/video benchmark for iPad Pro 12.9-inch 2017

3 Comments Add a comment

  1. The iFixit teardown I read yesterday suggests the 10.5 iPad is essentially the 12.9, just in a smaller package. This suggests to me the performance should be the same.

    On the other hand, compared to my iPad Air, it should be like going from a Piper Cherokee to an F-15.

  2. John Kheit

    The screens are better on the newer iPad. The new iPad has True Tone, are brighter, and better anti glare. Im not a graphic artist, so, frankly, the delta between the screens was not something I noticed or cared about. Personally, I dislike the colors that come about from True Tone, as well as night shift. Everything looks sepia to me, and I’m not a fan. Graphic artists and your mileage may vary!

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