Video

Comparing the 11-inch versus 12.9-inch 2020 iPad Pro

article thumbnail

The new 2020 iPad Pros are powerful, stunning, and better than ever. We take a closer look at both sizes of the 2020 iPad Pro to see what the differences are in specs as well as what it is really like to use the larger or smaller versions.

Specs and features

One of the most common questions we receive ask if there is any difference in specs or performance between, say, the entry-level 11-inch iPad Pro and the maxed-out 12.9-inch iPad Pro. We are happy to say that no, there is absolutely no difference and you won't be losing out on any performance by going for the smaller 11-inch iPad Pro over the 12.9.

Between the two, the processors, internals, and other specifications are exactly the same, with the only difference being the larger display. The 11-inch has a 2388-by-1668 display at 264 pixels per inch while the 12.9-inch comes in at 2732-by-2048 at the same pixel density.

That means you don't get a better display either, just a larger one, by going with the 12.9-inch.

Both devices run the same software and have the same accessories. They both work with the second-generation Apple Pencil and can be connected to the Smart Keyboard Folio or upcoming Magic Keyboard.

Keyboards

Speaking of keyboards, if you do a significant amount of typing on your iPad Pro, the 12.9-inch is a far better option for two distinct reasons.

On-screen keyboard displayed on the 11-inch (left) and 12.9-inch (right) iPad Pros
On-screen keyboard displayed on the 11-inch (left) and 12.9-inch (right) iPad Pros

The first is the on-screen keyboard. Going from the 11-inch to the 12.9, the keyboard covers up far less of the display. Depending on the app, you can get far less usable space on the 11-inch model. The 12.9-inch takes up less than half the screen while the 11-inch is more than half the screen.

Then there's the physical Smart Keyboard Folio.

Comparing the Mac's Magic Keyboard to the iPad Pro's 12.9-inch Smart Keyboard Folio
Comparing the Mac's Magic Keyboard to the iPad Pro's 12.9-inch Smart Keyboard Folio

With this, the 12.9-inch has a full-sized keyboard. Comparing it to our Mac's keyboard, they are the same size. This makes a world of difference when you move between a desktop or laptop and your iPad Pro. Your fingers gain a sense of muscle memory and when the keyboard keeps changing sizes, your fingers trip up and you make more mistakes.

The 11-inch iPad Pro has a compressed keyboard and doesn't align with how your fingers were trained. It is still a solid keyboard, but requires your fingers to "relearn" the key placement each time.

Multitasking

An 11-inch (left) and 12.9-inch (right) iPad Pro with two apps in split view, one app in slider over, and a movie playing in PiP
An 11-inch (left) and 12.9-inch (right) iPad Pro with two apps in split view, one app in slider over, and a movie playing in PiP

Another significant differentiator is multitasking, as a lot of users don't take full advantage of the multitasking abilities iPad Pro has. At the same time, you can open two apps side-by-side in split view, bring in another via slide over, and watch a movie in picture-in-picture.

If you do that on both displays, there is a stark contrast regarding what you can see. The 11-inch iPad Pro has very little usable space — even less if you tried to open up the keyboard to type.

The 12.9-inch, on the other hand, has plenty of space and is easy to write on while looking at a source, while monitoring your Twitter feed, while the news is playing in the background, or whatever your second task happens to be. It is a lot going on, but is manageable on the larger display.

Portability

A larger screen may inherently lend itself to more productivity, but it is hard to beat the compact size of the 11-inch. The 11-inch is a true workhorse in a small body and if you tote it around frequently, the 11-inch size may be the way to go.

We've been steadfast users of the 12.9-inch due to multitasking capabilities and the necessary space for video editing, but spending a few days again using the 11-inch has made us love that more compact size. Icons are a bit smaller — which is good if you like fitting more onto a smaller display but bad if you have problems with your eyes.

The 11-inch iPad Pro is not only the most powerful iPad, but it is the physically smallest other than the iPad mini. That is a great tradeoff if you want both power and portability.

We also prefer the 11-inch when it comes to media consumption. It is lighter and more comfortable to hold for long bouts of time while reading, playing games, or kicking back to watch a video.

Reading on the iPad Pro
Reading on the iPad Pro

In the end, it is hard for us to with any degree of certainty recommend one over the other. We are fond of the 12.9-inch for its display and production values but love how easy the 11-inch is to carry around.

If you fall into one camp over another, hopefully the decision is easy for you when picking up your new tablet.

Lowest prices on Apple's 2020 iPad Pro

Instant discounts on Apple's new 2020 iPad Pro are already in effect, with the latest deals at your fingertips in the AppleInsider 2020 11-inch iPad Pro Price Guide and 2020 12.9-inch iPad Pro Price Guide.

2020 11" iPad Pro deals

2020 12.9" iPad Pro savings

AppleInsider has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content.

 

Latest News