I love iPads. I mean, what’s not to love? They are functional, super portable and thanks to iPad OS, the whole tablet experience is seamless as ever. So that is why whenever Apple releases a new iPad, I will get super excited about it. And the new M1 iPad Pros are no exception. But now the question is, should you get the 11″ or the 12.9″ iPad Pro?
I’ve been using the 10.9” iPad Air for about a year now and I’ve been looking for an upgrade. At first, I thought the 11” M1 iPad Pro would be perfect, because I’ve always liked that size. But, then again the 12.9” M1 iPad Pro now comes with a brand new mini-LED Liquid Retina XDR display, so I thought: hey maybe I SHOULD get the bigger one instead?
Okay so let’s start off the video by comparing the physical size and the weight difference between the two iPads. The 11” model is actually really light, almost similar to the iPad Air I used previously — while the 12.9” iPad Pro is probably 50 percent heavier than the 11” one. When you actually hold these iPads in your hand, the 11 ” one feels so much more natural and overall it has a more comfortable grip.
If you like playing games on the iPad or if you own Apple Arcade, you will definitely appreciate the smaller footprint of the 11” version, since you can reach the controls easier with them. I don’t like using the 12.9” iPad Pro in hand, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no benefits to a bigger screen size. I like drawing… a lot. And personally I prefer to draw on a larger surface because there’s plenty of space for you to rest your hand on it.
Most of the time though, I use the iPad with the Magic Keyboard on. And honestly, I definitely prefer watching Netflix and browsing through the internet with the 12.9” iPad Pro. It gives it more of a laptop-like feel compared to the 11” version because of the bigger screen. The Magic keyboard is also bigger on the 12.9” so it feels more natural to type on as well.
But size differences aside, the design of the iPad Pros are actually very similar to their predecessors. There’s the same thin black bezels and rounded edges on the sleek aluminium chassis which is simple, and it is also one of the reasons why I love iPads so much.
But, if we’re talking about features, one of the biggest differences between the 11” and the 12.9” M1 iPads are their displays. The 12.9” comes with a brand new mini-LED Liquid Retina XDR display, while the 11” features a regular Liquid Retina display instead. What this means is that the 11” iPad Pro only packs 72 LEDs in its display for backlighting while the 12.9” model features over 10,000 mini LEDs.
Because there are so many mini LEDs packed in the screen, it is able to target light across the display more evenly and accurately than before. There are also 2,500 local dimming zones in the new 12.9” iPad Pro. With the help of these local dimming zones, the LED screen will be able to dim in certain areas to give truer blacks.
So basically it is able to get much brighter than before. It can reach 1,000 nits of full screen brightness compared to the 11” version which can only reach 600 nits of max brightness. If you put them side by side, you will notice that the blacks are noticeably deeper on the 12.9” iPad. Those black bars on the top and bottom kind of just blend into the bezels. The black bars on the 11” model however are still pretty visible.
But I am actually already pretty happy with the display on the 11” iPad. The colours are still good, they are vibrant and sharp. Yes, it might not be quite as good as the 12.9” version, but it’s still a very good screen. Besides, screens are typically not the top of my priority when it comes to purchasing an iPad.
What I care about the most is functionality.
The M1 processors in the new iPad Pros are fast and in benchmarks they’re actually faster than the previous-gen A12Z Bionic.That means these iPads have no issues keeping up with basically everything I do. Both of them handled all my usual tasks with ease, whether it was web browsing or even drawing on the iPad Pros.I can even type scripts on my Google Docs while multitasking with other apps like YouTube and chrome, which by the way there are like over 10-15 tabs open.
And most of the time I have 2 apps running in split screen and it has no problem whatsoever in keeping with my constant app-switching.
I think most people like me aren’t going to make full use of what the M1 chip has to offer. After all, most iPad OS apps are optimised to run well across the entire range of iPads.But of course, there’s also people who will appreciate the extra power especially if you are someone who got this device solely for the purpose of intense video editing or graphic design. If you are, then you’ll definitely be happy with the power it holds.
Oh and before I forget, the new iPad Pros also comes with a Thunderbolt port. It still offers the same USB-C connectivity as before, but now you can actually have faster data transfer speeds if you were to connect it with Thunderbolt supported external drives. And if you need a bigger screen to work with, you can always hook the iPad Pro up and pair it with an external monitor.
In terms of battery life, the 12.9” version can last me for around 9 hours of continuous use while I get around 10 hours of screen on time on the 11” version. But that also really depends on what you are doing with it. For my case, I use iPads mainly for watching Netflix and using ProCreate to draw. So I think that’s pretty decent considering the things I do on the iPad Pros.
The speakers of the iPad Pros are also exceptional. Then again, this isn’t surprising when it comes to Apple’s speakers—it doesn’t matter if it’s iPhones, MacBooks or iPads. Every time I get one of these devices from Apple, I know the speakers are going to be the best. And they deliver!
There are four speakers with a tweeter and woofer at each corner which automatically adjust to the orientation you’re holding the device. And they sound great, the volume’s rich and full without being distorted at higher volumes.
So now we’ve talked about its speakers, let’s move onto the iPad Pro’s camera. And they’ve actually made some improvements to it.
At the back, nothing has changed from last year. You are still getting a 12MP main camera and also a 10MP ultra wide sensor along with a LiDAR scanner for accurate depth sensing. That’s for those who want to take portrait photos, but I think iPad Pro users are more likely to use it for AR apps than photography. I’ve personally tried the LiDAR scanner on the iPad Pro and I am actually shocked at how fun it actually is.
For example, I’ve tried apps like Measure, which you can download for free on Apple’s App Store. So, Measure is like an alternative to a physical ruler and also a tape measure. With this app and also LiDAR, you can measure the distance between two points, determine the dimensions of an object and you can also find out if a surface is straight. I think this app can be pretty useful especially if you are out of your house and don’t have a proper measuring tool with you.
Another fun app that I’ve discovered is called Playground AR: Physics Sandbox. On this app, you can place virtual blocks in a real environment to see how they interact with each other. You can choose various blocks from cubes to model triangles and you can just randomly place it on your floor or even your table. The best part for me is that you can stack the blocks to see how high you can go until it falls. I think this is also a very interesting app to keep your kids occupied.
But that’s not even the best part. What’s interesting about the new iPad Pros are their front cameras. The 7MP camera has been replaced with a 12MP sensor for both the iPads now. There’s also the option to keep yourself in frame if you are planning to move around while you are on a video call. I think that’s pretty cool actually.
There’s also an ultra-wide option on the selfie camera which gives you a 120° field of view. I think that’s pretty useful especially if you have all of your family members gathering around for a video call with your relatives or friends.
Okay all of that sounds good, but you might be wondering, what about the price?
The 11” iPad Pro has a starting price of RM3,499 for the base model and it can go as high as RM8,449. The base model 12.9” iPad Pro has a starting price of RM4,799 and it goes all the way up to RM9,749.
So the question is, if you are planning to get an M1 iPad Pro should you fork out the extra money to get the 12.9” version or if the 11” version is already good enough.
Personally I will go for the 11” version. I just feel like it’s a more convenient tablet to bring around compared to the 12.9” iPad. The only main difference that you are going to miss out is definitely the larger display and also the mini LED display. But other than that, you are basically getting the same experience on the 11”.
You will still be getting the powerful M1 chip, the same accessory support and good speakers. Plus you also get to save almost RM1,000 if you are getting the 11” iPad.
So what about the 12.9” iPad? Who is it for? Well I think if you really wanted the extra screen size or if you are really particular about the quality of the screen, then definitely, the 12.9” is a better option.
Plus it is also definitely a better device for media consumption, drawing and also editing videos, cause I know that if I were to edit videos intensively on the iPad, I would definitely want the extra screen.
But I wouldn’t fork out the extra money RM1,000+ just for the display. But what about you? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.