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iPad Pro 11 vs. 12.9: Full Comparison

The iPad Pro is Apple‘s premium tablet, renowned for its powerful performance, gorgeous display, and top-tier creative capabilities. The latest 6th generation iPad Pro lineup, released in October 2022, comes in two sizes – 11 inches and 12.9 inches.

Both models pack the same bleeding-edge M2 chip, offer a similar suite of features like 5G connectivity and Center Stage front camera, and work seamlessly with accessories like the Apple Pencil 2 and Magic Keyboard. However, there are some key differences between the two that are worth examining in detail before deciding which one to buy.

In this comprehensive comparison guide, we‘ll dive into all the nitty-gritty details, from design and display to performance and price. Here‘s everything you need to know about how the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models stack up.

Display

The most obvious difference between the two iPad Pro variants is the display size. Here‘s a closer look at the screens on each model:

11-inch iPad Pro

  • 11-inch Liquid Retina display
  • 2388 x 1668 resolution at 264 pixels per inch
  • 600 nits max brightness, P3 wide color gamut
  • ProMotion adaptive refresh rate up to 120Hz
  • True Tone and anti-reflective coating

12.9-inch iPad Pro

  • 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
  • 2732 x 2048 resolution at 264 pixels per inch
  • 600 nits max brightness (SDR), 1000 nits peak brightness (HDR), P3 wide color gamut
  • ProMotion adaptive refresh rate up to 120Hz
  • True Tone and anti-reflective coating

The 12.9-inch model has a noticeably larger display, but both screens share many specs like 264ppi density and ProMotion technology.

The key differentiator is that the 12.9-inch screen uses Mini LED backlighting that delivers true High Dynamic Range (HDR) with incredible contrast and richer colors. It hits an eye-searing 1000 nits peak brightness when viewing HDR content.

So if you‘ll be watching HDR videos or editing HDR photos and video, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro‘s stunning XDR display is a major advantage. But for everyday tasks, the 11-inch screen is extremely color accurate and smooth thanks to ProMotion.

Design

Beyond the screen size, the overall design and footprint of both iPad Pro models is quite similar:

11-inch iPad Pro

  • 9.74 x 7.02 x 0.23 inches
  • 1.03 pounds (Wi-Fi), 1.04 pounds (Cellular)

12.9-inch iPad Pro

  • 11.04 x 8.46 x 0.25 inches
  • 1.5 pounds (Wi-Fi), 1.51 pounds (Cellular)

The 11-inch iPad Pro shaves off a bit of width, height, depth and weight compared to the 12.9-inch. This makes it noticeably more portable and comfortable to use handheld for longer periods.

But the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is still impressively slim and light for its screen size. And both models have the same premium design with flat edges, slim bezels, no Home button, and durable aluminum construction.

They each come in Silver and Space Gray. Overall, the design boils down to your personal preference on screen size vs portability.

Performance

The latest iPad Pro models share the same insanely fast M2 chipset, which is based on a 5nm process and packs:

  • 8-core CPU with 20% faster performance than M1
  • Up to 10-core GPU delivers up to 35% faster graphics
  • 16-core Neural Engine for advanced machine learning

Both also come equipped with:

  • 8GB or 16GB of unified memory (depending on storage capacity)
  • Wi-Fi 6E and 5G cellular connectivity
  • Thunderbolt port for connecting external displays and high-speed accessories

In terms of benchmark performance numbers, the 11-inch and 12.9-inch are exactly on par. That super fast and efficient M2 chip demolishes just about any task you throw at it.

The only potential difference is that the 12.9-inch model‘s larger screen and resolution may require a bit more graphical horsepower when editing 4K or 8K video, for example.

But both iPad Pro models deliver incredible speed whether you‘re editing multiple tracks of video in LumaFusion or juggling dozens of Safari tabs and apps.

Cameras

Both iPad Pro models pack the same triple lens rear camera system:

  • 12MP wide camera
  • 10MP ultrawide camera
  • LiDAR depth sensor

They also have the same 12MP ultra wide TrueDepth front camera that supports:

  • Portrait mode
  • Portrait Lighting
  • Center Stage (keeps you in frame on video calls)
  • Animoji and Memoji

So you‘ll get equally great photo and video quality no matter which iPad Pro you choose. The TrueDepth camera also enables advanced features like Face ID facial recognition.

Battery Life

Thanks to the efficiency of the M2 chip, the latest iPad Pro models deliver all-day battery life:

  • 11-inch iPad Pro: Up to 10 hours of web browsing or watching video (Wi-Fi), 9 hours (Cellular)
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro: Up to 10 hours of web browsing or watching video (Wi-Fi), 9 hours (Cellular)

Both models can be charged via the Thunderbolt port or wirelessly charged using Qi-certified chargers. Battery life is very comparable, but the 12.9-inch model does have a slightly higher capacity 40.88Wh battery vs the 11-inch‘s 28.65Wh battery.

10 hours of use per charge is solid, though not best-in-class compared to some competing tablets. But the iPad Pro models charge quickly, so you can easily top up as needed.

Storage and Price

Storage capacities available on both iPad Pro models include:

  • 128GB
  • 256GB
  • 512GB
  • 1TB
  • 2TB

The entry-level 128GB model gets 8GB of RAM, while all other storage tiers get 16GB RAM. More storage means you can save more apps, games, media files, documents and creative projects directly on your iPad Pro without needing cloud or external storage.

Here‘s how pricing breaks down for the Wi-Fi model iPad Pros:

11-inch iPad Pro

  • 128GB – $799
  • 256GB – $899
  • 512GB – $1,099
  • 1TB – $1,499
  • 2TB – $1,899

12.9-inch iPad Pro

  • 128GB – $1,099
  • 256GB – $1,199
  • 512GB – $1,399
  • 1TB – $1,799
  • 2TB – $2,199

Add $200 to each configuration for cellular models. Across the board, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro demands about a $300 premium over the equivalent 11-inch model.

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro can get extremely pricey at the high storage tiers. But you are getting that stunning XDR display.

Overall, the 11-inch iPad Pro starts more affordable for 128GB, while still offering stellar performance. But some creative pros may want the 12.9-inch iPad Pro‘s combo of screen and storage.

Accessories

Both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models work with:

  • Apple Pencil 2 – $129
  • Magic Keyboard – $299 (11-inch), $349 (12.9-inch)
  • Smart Keyboard Folio – $179 (11-inch), $199 (12.9-inch)

The Apple Pencil 2 magnetically snaps onto the side of both iPad Pros for wireless charging and pairing. It‘s equally lag-free and responsive on both tablet sizes.

The Magic Keyboard perfectly matches each iPad Pro‘s dimensions, offering a great typing experience, adjustable viewing angles, and pass-through port for charging.

And the Smart Keyboard Folio provides a more basic keyboard case solution. So you have flexibility in choosing accessories.

Head to Head Comparison

11-inch iPad Pro 12.9-inch iPad Pro
Display 11-inch Liquid Retina 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR
Resolution 2388 x 1668 2732 x 2048
PPI 264 ppi 264 ppi
Peak Brightness 600 nits 600 nits (SDR)
1000 nits (HDR)
Dimensions 9.74 x 7.02 x 0.23 inches 11.04 x 8.46 x 0.25 inches
Weight 1.03 lb (Wi-Fi)
1.04 lb (Cellular)
1.5 lb (Wi-Fi)
1.51 lb (Cellular)
Chip Apple M2 Apple M2
Rear Camera 12MP wide
10MP ultrawide
LiDAR Scanner
12MP wide
10MP ultrawide
LiDAR Scanner
Front Camera 12MP TrueDepth
Battery Life Up to 10 hours (Wi-Fi)
Up to 9 hours (Cellular)
Up to 10 hours (Wi-Fi)
Up to 9 hours (Cellular)
Starting Price $799 (Wi-Fi)
$999 (Cellular)
$1,099 (Wi-Fi)
$1,299 (Cellular)

As you can see, they share many key specs but the 12.9-inch model offers a larger, brighter XDR display. The 11-inch iPad Pro has a more portable form factor and lower starting price, but still packs the same performance.

iPad Pro 11 vs 12.9: Which Should You Buy?

So which iPad Pro reigns supreme? Here are some recommendations based on different usage scenarios:

For creators, designers, photographers, and videographers – The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the best choice. That expansive XDR display offers desktop-class resolution, HDR support, incredible contrast and colors. This makes it ideally suited for editing 4K/8K video, retouching photos, graphic design, illustration, and more. The 12.9-inch screen gives you enough room to use creative apps comfortably with toolbars and controls.

For note-taking, drawing, sketching – The 12.9-inch iPad Pro also excels here thanks to the larger canvas size. Whether you‘re an artist doodling in Procreate or a student taking handwritten notes with Apple Pencil, the 12.9-inch screen provides ample drawing and writing space.

For working on the go – With a lighter, more compact design that still packs full iPad Pro power, the 11-inch model is ideal for use on the go. It‘s easy to slip into bags and comfortable to use on airplanes, on your commute, or away from your desk. The smaller form factor also makes it better suited for handheld gaming.

For casual browsing, email, reading – The 11-inch iPad Pro offers more than enough screen real estate for tasks like web browsing, checking email, reading ebooks, and running basic apps. Unless you need the expansive XDR display for creative work or note-taking, the 11-inch gives you the full iPad Pro experience for less.

For students on a budget – The 11-inch iPad Pro starts $300 cheaper than the 12.9-inch model. Students looking for an affordable pro tablet for note-taking, homework, media consumption and gaming get great value from the 11-inch iPad Pro. Add Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard for a productivity powerhouse.

For ultimate portability – Weighing just over 1 pound, the 11-inch iPad Pro is extremely lightweight and portable. It can be used comfortably on-the-go or as an ultra-thin laptop replacement with a Magic Keyboard attached. If you want a Pro tablet that won‘t weigh you down, the 11-inch has the edge.

For the best laptop replacement – With its huge screen and desktop-class software support, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro comes closest to replacing a laptop. Pair it with a Magic Keyboard and you have a powerful productivity machine that also works amazingly as a tablet. The 12.9‘s extra screen space makes it ideal as a versatile 2-in-1 device.

So in summary:

  • The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is ideal for creatives, artists, note-takers and anyone wanting a real laptop replacement. It offers the best desktop-class experience.
  • The 11-inch iPad Pro is more portable, more affordable and packs the same power into a more compact form factor. It‘s great for students, productivity, and on-the-go use cases where the XDR display isn‘t critical.

At the end of the day, it comes down to balancing your budget with your screen size and performance needs. If you can afford it, creative pros will appreciate the 12.9-inch iPad Pro‘s expansive canvas and stunning XDR display. But the 11-inch iPad Pro still fires on all cylinders for $300 less, offering tremendous value in a more portable design.