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How Apple's new iPad lines up against the tablet competition

The new 9.7-inch iPad is Apple's least expensive full-size tablet, but how does it stack up against other premium tablets, including Samsung's new Galaxy Tab S3?

Apple has replaced the iPad Air 2 with a very similar model, now simply called the iPad. Rather than adding new features, this new iPad instead gets a price cut, to $329 in the US, £339 in the UK and AU$469 in Australia. (There's a small processor jump as well, to Apple's proprietary A9 chip.)

fd-apple-ipad-air-2-add04.jpg

Apple's new 9.7-inch iPad is essentially a renamed iPad Air 2 (pictured here).

Sarah Tew/CNET

That means the more expensive iPad Pro is still the top end of the iPad line, and the most direct head-to-head competitor with other premium tablets, such as Samsung's new Galaxy Tab S3. But it also makes this renamed, updated iPad worth looking at if you want similar specs in many areas, and would rather save some money by dropping higher-end features, such as stylus support or a better camera.

While the iPad Pro has a wider color display and the Tab S3 supports HDR video, the new iPad at least has the same resolution and pixel density as those two more expensive tablets. Two other areas where you miss out are the built-in front- and rear-facing cameras, and in stylus support, which is a major selling point of both the iPad Pro and the Galaxy Tab S3.

Below, we compare the most important tech specs of the new iPad, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 and Google's similar Pixel C, which has a slightly larger display, but is considered a close competitor to the rest.

Apple iPad specs compared

Apple iPad 9.7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Apple iPad Pro 9.7-inch Google Pixel C
Starting price $329, £339, AU$469 $599, £600, AU$TBA $599, £549, AU$849 $599, £540, AU$TBA
Display 9.7-inch, 2,048x1,536 9.7-inch, 2,048x1,536 9.7-inch, 2,048x1,536 10.2-inch, 2,560x1,800
Pixel density 264 264 264 308
Dimensions (inches) 9.4x6.6x0.29 in 9.3x6.6x0.24 in 9.4x6.6x0.24 in 9.5x7x.27 in
Dimensions (millimeters) 240x169.5x7.5 mm 237.3x169x6 mm 240x169.5x6.1 mm 242x179x7 mm
Weight Wi-Fi: 1.03 pounds (469g); LTE: 1.05 pounds (478g) Wi-Fi: 0.95 pounds (429g); LTE: 0.96 pounds (434g) Wi-Fi: 0.96 pounds (437g); LTE: 0.98 (444g) 1.1 pounds (498g)
Operating system iOS 10 Android 7.0 iOS 10 Android 7.0
Processors A9 2.15GHz+1.6GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 A9X NvidiaTegra X1
Storage 32GB/128GB 32GB 32GB/128GB/256GB 64GB
Battery life Up to 10 hours Up to 12 hours Up to 10 hours Up to 10 hours
Networking 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1
Ports Lightning 1x USB-C, microSD expandable up to 256 Lightning USB-C
Cameras Rear 8-megapixel, Front 1.2-megapixel Rear 13-megapixel, Front 5-megapixel Rear 12-megapixel, Front 5-megapixel Rear 8-megapixel, Front 2-megapixel