Apple’s 2021 iPad Pro lineup packs its powerful M1 chip, bringing a major bump in performance. If you are looking to buy a new M1 iPad Pro but are confused if you should go with the 12.9-inch model or the 11-inch iPad Pro, read our comparison below to find out.
Unlike the last few years, there’s quite a bit of difference between the M1 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the 11-inch iPad Pro. Depending on your usage and requirements, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro might just be the right pick for you. Follow our guide below to know.
12.9-inch M1 iPad Pro vs. 11-inch M1 iPad Pro: Which One Should You Buy?
Design and Display
- M1 iPad Pro 11-inch – 247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9mm, 466/470gms (Wi-Fi/LTE), Face ID, quad speakers
- M1 iPad Pro 12.9-inch – 280.6 x 214.9 x 6.4mm, 682/685gms (Wi-Fi/LTE), Face ID, quad speakers
This a big difference and an obvious one. The 11-inch M1 iPad Pro is notably smaller, lighter, and more compact than the 12.9-inch M1 iPad Pro. However, the bigger iPad Pro makes up for it with a bigger 12.9-inch display. If you don’t really care about the display size too much and carry your iPad everywhere with you, the 11-inch iPad Pro will be a better choice due to its lighter and compact design.
Both tablets also feature Face ID for biometric authentication along with a quad-speaker setup.
However, if you want the biggest display possible and don’t mind an iPad that’s nearly the size of a laptop, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is for you. The 12.9-inch M1 iPad Pro becomes even more of an obvious choice if you are a creator who plans on using their iPad for content creation, and the display quality is of utmost importance to you.
- M1 iPad Pro 11-inch – 11-inch Liquid Retina display with LED-backlit, 2388 x 1668 resolution, 264ppi, ProMotion, Wide color display, True Tone, 600 nits brightness
- M1 iPad Pro 12.9-inch – 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display with mini-LED backlit, local dimming zones, 2732 x 2048 resolution, 264 ppi, ProMotion, Wide color display, True Tone, 600 nits max brightness, 1000 nits full-screen brightness, 1,600 nits peak HDR brightness, 1 million-to-1 contrast
The mini-LED backlit display of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro gives it a major edge over the 11-inch iPad Pro. It has a higher brightness level, better contrast ratio, and is better suited for content creators with an HDR workflow who plan to use the iPad Pro for productivity work.
- M1 iPad Pro – M1 chip, 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 16-core Neural engine
The 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro is powered by Apple’s M1 chip featuring an 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, and a 16-core Neural engine. Apple claims the M1 chip brings about a 50% boost in CPU performance and a 40% boost in GPU performance than the A12Z Bionic chip of the 2020 iPad Pro.
Since both 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro use the same M1 chip, there is no performance difference between them. So, you don’t really need to choose between them based on performance.
RAM and Storage
- M1 iPad Pro – 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB; 8GB and 16GB unified memory
This is another area where both 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro variants are the same. They ship with a base storage of 128GB and can be configured with up to 2TB of storage. The variants with up to 512GB storage feature 8GB RAM, while the 1TB and 2TB storage variants feature 16GB RAM.
If you use a lot of memory-intensive applications or need oodles of storage, both the 11-inch and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro will fulfill your requirements.
- M1 iPad Pro – 12MP f/1.8 wide-angle, 10MP f/2.4 ultra wide-angle, Brighter True Tone flash, Smart HDR 3, 12MP TrueDepth camera, LiDAR scanner
In the camera aspect, both 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro are the same. They feature an ultra-wide 12MP shooter at the front with Center Stage support and a dual-camera setup at the rear with a LiDAR scanner.
- M1 iPad Pro – Wi-Fi 6, Speeds up to 1.2Gbps, Supports up to 30 bands, 5G, mmWave 5G in the US, Thunderbolt/USB 4
Irrespective of whether you go for the 11-inch or 12.9-inch iPad Pro, you get the same connectivity features. Both feature a USB-C port with Thunderbolt 4 connectivity and support 5G with download speeds of up to 1.2Gbps. The Thunderbolt 4 port means you can connect high-speed external storage devices and other high bandwidth accessories to your iPad Pro.
- 11-inch M1 iPad Pro – 28.65-watt-hour battery, Up to 10 hours of internet browsing
- 12.9-inch M1 iPad Pro – 40.88-watt-hour battery, Up to 10 hours of internet browsing
Apple claims the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro offers the same battery life despite the former featuring a smaller battery. Contrary to Apple’s claims, though, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is unlikely to last as long as the 11-inch iPad Pro due to its more power-hungry Liquid Retina XDR display. This does not mean the 12..9-inch iPad Pro will offer poor battery life; it’s just that it won’t be as good as the 11-inch model.
If battery life is of utmost priority for you, the 11-inch iPad Pro is the one you should go for.
- 11-inch M1 iPad Pro – Compatible with Smart Keyboard Folio, Magic Keyboard, Apple Pencil (2nd gen.)
- 12.9-inch M1 iPad Pro – Compatible with Smart Keyboard Folio, Magic Keyboard, Apple Pencil (2nd gen.)
At first glance, the 11-inch and 12.9-inch M1 iPad Pro might seem to be compatible with the same set of accessories. However, since the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is thicker than the 2020 model, it has one major issue. It does not fit properly with the first-generation Magic Keyboard with trackpad. Apple itself acknowledges the issue and says the fit problem will be further exacerbated if you use a tempered screen protector.
If you already own a Magic Keyboard, this is definitely going to be a bummer as this would mean you will again have to spend an additional $349 on a new generation of the keyboard.
- 11-inch M1 iPad Pro – Starts from $799
- 12.9-inch M1 iPad Pro – Starts from $1,099
With the addition of the Liquid Retina XDR display to the 2021 M1 12.9-inch iPad Pro, Apple has bumped its price by $100 compared to the 2020 model. This further increases the price gap between the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro to $300. That’s definitely a lot of money as by paying an additional $300, you are only getting a slightly bigger and better display. In every other aspect, the 12.9-inch and 11-inch iPad Pro are very similar to each other.
With the $300 gap, you can get the 11-inch iPad Pro with more storage and even 5G connectivity. Adding all these features to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro will bump the final bill even higher.
11-inch iPad Pro vs. 12.9-inch iPad Pro: Which One to Buy?
Going through the differences between the 11-inch and 12.9-inch M1 iPad Pro, it is clear that the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is ideally suited for people who plan on using the tablet for content creation purposes and want the best possible display for it. The Liquid Retina XDR display on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro makes it ideal for use by professional scenarios.
The 11-inch iPad Pro is very similar to its bigger brother; it offers the same level of performance, packs the same camera setup, etc. Where it falls short is in the display department. It is not that the 11-inch iPad Pro has a sub-par display. It’s just that the Liquid Retina XDR display on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is better.
Which M1 iPad Pro would you buy — the 11-inch model or the 12.9-inch one? What’s your use case which makes the 12.9-inch iPad Pro ideal for you? Drop a comment and let us know!