Here at iMore, we live and breathe iPads as complementary second devices to our Macs, and some of us even use them as computer replacements to do most of our work in. So we know a thing or two about which iPad works for everyone and their budget.
iPad Pro 11-inch
- A good portable size that is still relatively lightweight
- Will fit easily in more bags
- Best for reading and watching with less fatigue
- Size matches previous 10.5-inch iPad Pro, just more screen
- Same specs as 12.9-inch but cheaper
- Less screen estate to work with
- Typing can be uncomfortable since it’s a smaller, more cramped keyboard
The 11-inch iPad Pro comes in at the same size as the previous 10.5-inch version, but you get more screen since there is no more Home button. This version also has all of the same specs as the 12.9-inch version, but slightly smaller and $200 less. It’s easier to carry around the 11-inch iPad Pro, as it will fit easier in most bags, and you can hold it up for reading and watching without getting fatigue in your wrists. However, you get less screen estate to work with, and keyboard accessories like the Smart Keyboard are not full size, so it can be harder to type.
iPad Pro 12.9-inch
- The most screen estate to work with
- Keyboard accessories are full size
- More space for multitasking and side-by-side apps
- Easier to draw on and take handwritten notes with Apple Pencil
- Works best with a stand or keyboard case on a desk
- Large size and weight makes it harder to travel with
- Very expensive
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro gives you the biggest possible screen for an iPad. That means more space to draw on, write handwritten notes on with Apple Pencil, and more space to have side-by-side apps and even picture-in-picture videos. The 12.9-inch also has more full-size keyboard options available, making it a great iPad for doing a lot of typing with. However, due to the large size and heavy weight compared to other models, it may cause fatigue when holding it up for extended amounts of time. Plus, it’s not exactly cheap.
Since the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros have the same internals, it really all comes down to whether or not you need the most screen estate possible.
Let’s break it down
If you care about the specs, both the iPad Pro 11-inch and 12.9-inch are the same. They both have the A12X Bionic chip with Neural Engine and M12 coprocessor, Liquid Retina displays with 264PPI, ProMotion technology, wide color and True Tone, laminated displays, 12MP/4K rear-cameras, 7MP TrueDepth cameras with Portrait Mode, four speakers, Face ID, and come in 64GB/256GB/512GB/1TB storage capacity. Really, the only difference between them is the fact that one is 11-inches (2388×1668) and the other is 12.9-inches (2732×2048).
|iPad Pro 11-inch||iPad Pro 12.9-inch|
|Cost||From $799 and up||From $999 and up|
|Weight||1.03 pounds (Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cellular)||1.39 pounds (Wi-Fi) and 1.4 pounds (Wi-Fi + Cellular)|
|Chip||A12X Bionic||A12X Bionic|
|Display||Liquid Retina||Liquid Retina|
|Front camera||7MP True Depth||7MP True Depth|
|Full size keyboard accessories||No||Yes|
Overall, we think the 11-inch iPad Pro is the better pick, as it’s much more versatile while still providing a ton of of power. The 11-inch iPad Pro would work great as a second display in tandem with your current Mac, and it’s much easier to fit into your existing bags for travel purposes. It’s essentially the same size as the previous 10.5-inch iPad Pro, just with more screen as it did away with the bezel and Home button. We also prefer the 11-inch for doing things like reading and watching videos, as it’s easier to hold without wrist fatigue.
The only reason to go for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is if you plan on doing a lot of typing with your iPad, since the 12.9-inch has more full-size keyboard accessories designed for it. Think of it as more of a laptop replacement in that sense. The 12.9-inch is also a must if you plan on drawing and sketching with an Apple Pencil, since there is more room on your canvas to work with. Plus, it’s much easier to do handwritten notes with an Apple Pencil on the 12.9-inch due to the larger screen.
If you can adjust to smaller, more compact keyboard accessories, and don’t plan on drawing or handwriting notes too much, then the 11-inch iPad Pro should be good enough for you. It’s also much easier to transport with you, and you won’t get tired of holding it. Plus, it’s $200 cheaper than the 12.9-inch, and it would be a great complement to your existing setup.
iPad Pro 11-inch
Portable and lightweight powerhouse
The 11-inch iPad Pro is the perfect size for those who want a powerful iPad, but nothing too big. Despite the smaller size, it still has the same internals as its bigger sibling, but it’s much easier to transport around, as long as you don’t mind making some small sacrifices. Plus it’s $200 cheaper.
iPad Pro 12.9-inch
When you need the best of the best
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is more like a computer replacement for those who want to do all (or most) of their work with iOS. It has much more screen estate to work with, making drawing, handwriting, and typing a breeze. However, the large size can be cumbersome to hold and it isn’t as portable as the smaller version.