Why the Big 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the Best

Bigger is almost always better

Key Takeaways

  • The iPad Pro 12.9-inch can do everything the smaller iPads do, and more.
  • Reading, writing, photo-editing, watching movies—it’s all better with 13 inches.
  • The bigger iPad is heavier and easier to bend, but the sacrifice is more than worth it.
woman drawing on iPad
Helena Lopes / Unsplash

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the best iPad ever made, and the best one you can buy. Unless you need the portability of a smaller 11-inch model, this is the one. In fact, even if you think you want a smaller iPad, you probably don’t.

Why is it so good? Because the biggest iPad not only excels in everything that makes smaller iPads great, it also has a surprising number of other capabilities only possible with the bigger screen.

I love my big iPad, and while I sometimes get jealous of the cute 11-incher, the 12.9 is the best all the way.

Love At First Sight

The first iPad launched in the US back in 2010, and I had a friend buy one and ship it to me in Europe because I couldn’t wait four months to get my hands on it. Since then, it’s been a long love affair, but the current iPad is just an incredible computer, even compared to laptops and desktops.

It’s Bigger

This is the obvious one. The 12.9-inch iPad is a bit bigger than the 11-inch iPad Air and iPad Pro, making it great for watching movies. In fact, my iPad is my TV; I never watch anything on a bigger screen. It’s fine for two people, but a bit of a stretch for three. This screen is better for reading, too. You can make text a little bigger, and still have more of it on screen.

"I love my big iPad, and while I sometimes get jealous of the cute 11-incher, the 12.9 is the best all the way."

It’s also better for reading comics and magazines, reading photo books, drawing and painting with the Apple Pencil, and playing games. If you have a Bluetooth game controller, you can prop the iPad up and play, and it’ll be a pretty great experience. Or, if you’re a musician, it’s a lot easier to see your musical score on a bigger screen.

More Apps

You can run two apps side-by-side on all iPads, but on smaller devices, you get the iPhone-sized version of each app. On the big iPad, both apps use the full iPad layout (shrinking to iPhone-layout when you use a 70:30 split). If you use the iPad for work, this is a big difference. You can have a full Safari window next to a full notes/text editor window, for example. 

And when used like this, with the Magic Keyboard (the expensive one with the trackpad), the 12-9-inch iPad can become a legit MacBook replacement for many people.

Keyboards

The bigger screen also means the on-screen keyboard takes up proportionally much less space. Even with its extra number row, and the keyboard’s own toolbar, the 12.9-inch iPad’s keyboard leaves more than half the screen available to see what you’re doing. Smaller iPads have a much less useful screen-content-to-keyboard ratio.

This bigger keyboard also is a lot easier to type on than the smaller iPad’s version. And once you get used to it, it’s hard to go back.

iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard
Apple

Downsides

As we’ve seen, the bigger iPad does everything the smaller iPad does, only better, and it also does more. But there are a few advantages to the smaller iPads. First, the bigger iPad is, of course, bigger and heavier. But it’s not that much heavier. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro weighs 1.41 pounds (641 grams), vs 1.04 pounds (471 grams) for the 11-inch Pro. The 11-inch iPad Air is barely lighter. In other words, the smaller iPad carries 73% of the weight of the larger one. 

"You can run two apps side-by-side on all iPads, but on smaller devices, you get the iPhone-sized version of each app."

If you’ve only ever hefted the first-gen 12.9-inch Pro (1.59 pounds, or 723 grams), then you might be surprised how light the current model is. Still, both will hurt your nose if you fall asleep in bed while reading. 

Finally, the big iPad is bendy. Mine bent either in a bag or when I sat on it. It wasn’t enough to damage it, but I’ve been paranoid ever since. The good news is, the Magic Keyboard case is super rigid and offers protection. The bad news is, you should never squeeze the big iPad into a bag solo. 

So, next time you’re shopping for an iPad, think about the best iPad of all, the 12.9-inch Pro. Once you’ve tried it, it’s hard to go back.

Was this page helpful?