The 2020 generation of the Apple iPad Pro are the best pure tablets you can buy right now. Sure, quite expensive, but the screen, performance, and accessories are fantastic. But which size should you get? You can choose between an 11-inch and a 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Well, that’s what we’ll discuss in this comparison.
11” vs 12.9”: What’s The Same?
Let’s get something important out of the way first: The 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro are basically the same tablets. Both feature the same Apple A12Z processor, both have 6GB of RAM and you can choose between 128GB up to 1TB of storage for each. I ran the same benchmarks on both tablets and the performance is identical. And that goes for real-life performance too. No matter whether you’re playing Fortnite or are rendering 4K videos in apps like Adobe Premiere Rush, the performance is pretty much identical.
We get the same four speakers on each and the same cameras including the LiDAR sensor. The version of iPadOS is identical, of course, and both support and can charge the second-generation Apple Pencil. Both feature a USB C port and you can connect tons of accessories to both. I think you get the point. Besides their screen size, they are the same tablet.
All Their Differences
Now, let’s get to their screens. Even though 12.9 inches don’t sound like that much more than 11 inches on paper, you can see a huge difference in person. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2020 is much bigger and offers much more screen real estate. While both have a pixel density of 264ppi and that means both are equally sharp, that also means that the 12.9-inch one has a higher resolution overall. It’s Retina Display has 2732 x 2048 pixels compared to 2388 x 1668 pixels on the 11-incher.
All other aspects of the screen like Apple’s ProMotion and True Tone technologies are the same. And that goes for their 600 nits brightness too.
Now, with a bigger screen, we also get a bigger body and a bigger battery and that means it gets physically heavier. The 12.9-inch one is noticeably heavier with 641g compared to the 471g of the 11-incher.
Speaking of the bigger battery: I did run two battery tests on each tablet and each time the battery life was a bit shorter on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. I’m guessing that the bigger screen just needs more energy than the bigger battery can provide.
When watching HD YouTube videos at maximum brightness on the 11-inch iPad Pro, the battery lasted 6 hours. The 12.9-incher got 5 hours of runtime in the same test. Now, when looping an HD video locally at medium brightness, the 11-inch lasts 14 hours and the 12.9-inch 13 hours. Those differences are minor percentage-wise and in real life, I didn’t notice any difference.
Since their bodies have different sizes, it also means that the Smart Folio Keyboards for the iPad Pros are different in their size too. While they work the same, the keyboard for the 12.9-inch one is bigger. It’s a full size one and the 11-inch keyboard is a bit smaller. I’ve been typing on the 11-inch keyboard for over a year and have gotten used to it quite well. But you certainly have to get used to the tighter space which is not an issue on the bigger one.
Which Screen Size Is Better For Who?
So, now that we talked about the few differences, which iPad Pro 2020 should you get? Well, it just comes down to the screen size you prefer. And since everyone has different needs, everybody has to decide for themselves.
Generally speaking, I think the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the better choice if you’re using it mostly at home. It’s nice to have more screen real estate. Not just for watching movies, but also for editing photos in Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop, for instance. When drawing with the Apple Pencil 2, it’s also more convenient to have more room.
And in case you want to replace a laptop with the iPad Pro and it’ll be your only computer, then, of course, it’s nice to have a bigger screen. If you connect it to a keyboard and mouse, it can almost behave like a normal computer now. Certainly not for everybody, but if you mostly use the tablet for entertainment, maybe to edit some photos with or to video chat with your family, and your standard computing tasks are simple, then it can be great for that.
On the other hand, I think the 11-inch iPad Pro is the better choice if you’re going to carry it around a lot. It’s as powerful with the same features but in a smaller and lighter package. Sure, you can use it to watch Netflix at home, and you can connect it to keyboards and a mouse too. But it also is small enough to comfortably use on a train or plane – even in a tight economy class.
That’s how I’ve been using the previous 11-inch iPad Pro and that’s why I’m choosing the 11-inch one for myself this time too. I can do a lot with the iPad but I can’t fully replace my notebook with it yet. So, for me, it makes no sense to get the 12.9-inch one which is almost as big as my laptop.
Instead, I think the 11-inch iPad Pro is the perfect second device. A great tablet to take with you. I’m traveling a lot and I also like to work outside in cafes. Not at the moment, of course, it’s all closed, but usually. And for that, the 11-incher is perfect.
About a year ago I’ve bought a bag that fits the iPad Pro and a camera and one or two lenses. As I said, I travel a lot and usually I also take a lot of photos in between. The 11-inch iPad Pro has been perfect for that. It’s very light and small so that I don’t mind carrying it around all day. And great for editing photos with and also good enough to get some standard office work done. But again, I wouldn’t use it as my main computer. For that and if you’re mostly using it at home, I would prefer the 12.9-inch.
- Super-fast A12Z SoC
- Very pretty screen
- Great cameras
- Modern design
- Face ID
- Good speakers
- Up-to-date iPadOS
- Fantastic accessories
- Very pricey
- Few changes compared to predecessor
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