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Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra vs Apple iPad Pro: Which should you buy?

It's a battle of the big, bad tablets.
By

Published onMarch 21, 2024

Galaxy Tab S9 series with device detail screen
Damien Wilde / Android Authority

You might not be eyeing the 10th-generation iPad or Galaxy Tab S9 to replace your laptop, but what about their pro-level siblings? Both Apple and Samsung offer expansive, high-octane tablets that are meant to handle everything from gaming to photo and video editing, but it’s not easy to choose between the best tablets on the market. If you’re weighing up a premium tablet but unsure where to start, we have your back. Let’s compare the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra vs Apple iPad Pro to see which is right for you.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra vs Apple iPad Pro: At a glance

  • Apple's iPad Pro models (11-inch and 12.9-inch) are cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra.
  • The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra charges faster than the iPad Pro, thanks to 45W wired speeds.
  • Apple's iPad Pro offers more onboard storage (up to 2TB), but the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra has a microSD slot to expand your storage by up to 1TB.
  • Both tablets offer flagship chipsets, with the iPad Pro carrying Apple's M2 silicon and the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra packing the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy.
  • The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra has a larger display at 14.6 inches compared to Apple's 11-inch and 12.9-inch options.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra vs Apple iPad Pro: Specs

Galaxy Tab S9 UltraApple iPad Pro (M2, 12.9-inch)Apple iPad Pro (M2, 11-inch)
Display
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
14.6-inch Dynamic
2,960 x 1,848
AMOLED 2K
120Hz refresh rate
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 12.9-inch)
12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR LCD
2,732 x 2,048
120Hz refresh rate
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 11-inch)
11-inch Liquid Retina IPS LCD
2,338 x 1,688
120Hz refresh rate
Processor
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 12.9-inch)
Apple M2
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 11-inch)
Apple M2
RAM
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
12GB/16GB
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 12.9-inch)
8GB/16GB
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 11-inch)
8GB/16GB
Storage
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
256GB/512GB/1TB
microSD up to 1TB
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 12.9-inch)
128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 11-inch)
128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB
Connectivity
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
5G/LTE
Wi-Fi 6E
Wi-Fi Direct
Bluetooth 5.3
USB-C
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 12.9-inch)
5G/LTE
Wi-Fi 6E
Wi-Fi Direct
Bluetooth 5.3
USB-C
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 11-inch)
5G/LTE
Wi-Fi 6E
Wi-Fi Direct
Bluetooth 5.3
USB-C
Audio
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
Quad Stereo Speakers with Sound by AKG
Dolby Atmos
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 12.9-inch)
Stereo speakers
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 11-inch)
Stereo speakers
Cameras
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
Rear:
13MP AF + 8MP UW

Front:
12MP + 12MP UW
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 12.9-inch)
Rear:
12MP AF + 10MP UW

Front:
12MP
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 11-inch)
Rear:
12MP AF + 10MP UW

Front:
12MP
Power
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
11,200mAh
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 12.9-inch)
10,758mAh
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 11-inch)
7,538mAh
Stylus Support
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
S Pen included
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 12.9-inch)
Apple Pencil optional
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 11-inch)
Apple Pencil optional
Durability
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
IP68 rating
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 12.9-inch)
None
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 11-inch)
None
Authentication
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
In-display Fingerprint Sensor
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 12.9-inch)
Face ID
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 11-inch)
Face ID
Software
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
Android 13
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 12.9-inch)
iPadOS 16.5
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 11-inch)
iPadOS 16.5
Dimensions / weight
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
208.6 x 326.4 x 5.5mm
732g
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 12.9-inch)
280.6 x 214.9 x 6.4mm
682g (Wi-Fi)
685g (5G)
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 11-inch)
247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9mm
466g (Wi-Fi)
470g (5G)
Colors
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
Beige, Graphite
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 12.9-inch)
Silver, Space Gray
Apple iPad Pro (M2, 11-inch)
Silver, Space Gray

Comparing the top specs of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra and those of the Apple iPad Pro is like comparing the Galaxy S23 Ultra and the iPhone 14 Pro — just, you know, bigger. Apple still prefers to keep everything in-house for processing, using the desktop-grade M2 chipset (which is powering the MacBook Air used to write this comparison) on both iPad Pro models. Samsung, on the other hand, packed its premium slate with the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy that sits in its Galaxy S23 series.

Of course, the components backing the powerful chipsets are often just as important. Samsung offers more base RAM in its Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra with 12GB to Apple’s 8GB, though both tablets top out at 16GB. Apple will give you more storage at up to 2TB, though Samsung’s microSD slot offers up to 1TB of space you can swap in and out as needed.

The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is the battery king, offering the largest cell (11,200mAh) and fastest wired charging (45W). This is partly down to Samsung’s slate also having the largest display to power at a whopping 14.6 inches. Apple, as usual, makes the most out of its smaller cells, though the iPad Pro isn’t too far behind. If you grab the 12.9-inch model, you’ll get a 10,758mAh battery, while the smaller 11-inch iPad Pro carries a 7,358mAh battery.

While the iPad Pro series and Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra lay it on with premium materials, it’s easy to give Samsung the edge. Its premium tablet is made from Gorilla Glass Victus and Armor Aluminum and comes with a full IP68 rating against water and dust. The Apple iPad Pro, on the other hand, features an aluminum body with scratch-resistant glass but makes no claims for water resistance.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra vs Apple iPad Pro: Camera

Apple iPad Pro M2 2022 camera
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

We skipped talking about the cameras in the section above because they warrant their own section in the battle of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra vs Apple iPad Pro. We’re not recommending that you use either of these gargantuan tablets as your primary camera on a family vacation or at your kids’ dance recital, but they offer solid setups.

The iPad Pro and the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra have two cameras on the back, pairing wide and ultrawide lenses. Samsung houses its 13MP wide and 8MP ultrawide sensors in individual rings, much like you’d find on the Galaxy S23 smartphones, while Apple is rocking with its classic square camera bump. The iPad Pro has a slight advantage in terms of raw megapixels in its 12MP wide and 10MP ultrawide sensors, but we all know that only means so much.

We're in an age where two rear cameras on a tablet aren't so foreign anymore.

Apple’s true edge lies in its larger sensor, as well as its wider maximum aperture. The iPad Pro packs a 1/3-inch primary sensor with an aperture of f/1.8 to the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra’s 1/3.4-inch sensor and f/2.0 maximum aperture. This means that the iPad Pro can capture more light in its larger megapixels and should perform slightly better in low-light scenarios… like a dance recital.

If you’re worried about selfie camera setups, Samsung probably has the advantage this time. Some might say it’s pulled an Apple, carrying over the notch to house its dual selfie snappers. The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra has a pair of 12MP sensors — one wide and one ultrawide at 120 degrees — to cover a full range of angles. On the other hand, Apple has a single 12MP selfie camera on both iPad Pro models, complete with an ultrawide 122-degree field of view.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra vs Apple iPad Pro: Battery and charging

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 port and speakers
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

As mentioned in the specs comparison above, Samsung has an edge in terms of raw battery capacity as well as wired charging speeds. Its 11,200mAh is about 500mAh larger than the cell on Apple’s largest iPad Pro and almost 5,000mAh larger than that of the smaller iPad Pro. While that might make it seem like Samsung should achieve the best battery life, it’s also powering a larger 14.6-inch display to Apple’s maximum size of 12.9 inches.

Apple also has the benefit of complete ecosystem control over its iPad Pro. By keeping the processor and software in-house, the Cupertino company can optimize in a way that Samsung can’t quite match. Sound familiar? This has long been the case with Apple’s iPhones offering much smaller batteries than their Android rivals yet managing to achieve excellent battery life.

Do you want Samsung's sheer size or Apple's next-level optimization?

However, no matter how large or small the cell, all batteries eventually run dry. When that happens, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is faster to get back up and running with 45W wired charging. We’ll have to wait to test how long it takes to reach a full charge once we have the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra in hand, but it should beat Apple’s iPad Pro to the punch. The iPad Pro tops out at 30W speeds with a compatible charger, which you’ll have to buy separately. Not because there isn’t a charger in the box, but because the 20W charger Apple includes doesn’t sniff those top speeds.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra vs Apple iPad Pro: Price

Apple iPad Pro M2 2022 in Magic Keyboard
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra: Starts at $1,199

Apple iPad Pro (11-inch): Starts at $799

Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch): $1,099

Samsung announced its Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra as part of its Galaxy Unpacked 2023 event, making now the best time to pick one up. It arrived for pre-order following the July 26 keynote, with open sales beginning on August 11. Unfortunately, Samsung’s excellent pre-order deals have long-since passed, but you can still save some money by trading in your current tablet.

You may want to give those incentives a look, too, as the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is the most expensive tablet otherwise. It kicks off a full $100 higher than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and a whopping $400 more than the 11-inch slate. However, if you decide to upgrade your storage, the larger iPad Pro soars into the lead. It tops out at an eye-watering $2,399 with cellular connectivity and 2TB of storage. The most expensive Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra will set you back $1,619, though we’re still waiting on the 5G-connected pricing.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra vs Apple iPad Pro: Which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra gaming 2
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Choosing the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra vs Apple iPad Pro probably comes down to which ecosystem you’re already in. If you already have an iPhone or a MacBook, you’ll probably want to lean toward the iPad Pro for seamless notifications and familiar apps — not to mention that it means you probably have some of the accessories you’ll need. Likewise, Samsung Galaxy fans will almost certainly lean toward the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra. It makes more sense for those who want to take advantage of features like DeX or are used to the Android way of life.

If you’re coming from another Android ecosystem like Google or Motorola, your options open up. You won’t get as tight of integration either way, though the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra will offer more of the Google Play Store experience you’re used to. You’ll be able to carry apps over; they just might not be optimized for the tablet lifestyle. However, you might decide that your non-Galaxy freedom is the perfect excuse to test the Apple waters. The iPad Pro has a slightly more comfortable aspect ratio when adding a keyboard, and the smaller size might be a bit more comfortable for travel.

Both the iPad Pro and Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra represent the best of their ecosystems — it just depends on whether you prefer iPadOS or Android.

No matter which way you go, you’re getting a premium tablet with refined software and high-end hardware. Both options represent the best of their respective ecosystems — even if that means steep asking prices. Ultimately, you’ll probably want to stick with whichever tablet better integrates into your lifestyle.

Which premium tablet would you buy? Apple’s iPad Pro or Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra? Let us know in the poll below, and then check out the widgets at the bottom for the best offers.

Would you rather buy the iPad Pro or the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra?

177 votes
See price at Samsung
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
Massive display
Wi-Fi 6E
IP68 rating
See price at Amazon
Apple iPad Pro (2022)
1%off
Apple iPad Pro (2022)
Powerful M2 processor
iPadOS 16
Apple Pencil hover support

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