iPad optimal size

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Kostas3000, Sep 28, 2016.


Most convenient iPad for reading PDFs on bed

  1. iPad mini

    14 vote(s)
  2. iPad 9.7

    34 vote(s)
  3. iPad 12.9

    8 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Kostas3000 macrumors regular

    Sep 28, 2016
    New York
    I have an iPad Pro 12.9 128GB, an iPhone 6s Plus and a 12rMb 512gb. I have given an older retina iPad 9.7 to my son.
    I have realized that I am not reaching for my 12.9 in iPad at all. I 'd rather open my rMB 12in instead. I like reading PDFs and browse the web on the bed or on the couch. The 12.9 iPad is too heavy and cumbersome for the role. I hold it in portrait mode lying on my chest and basically I can only read if something is on the top third of the screen. So most of the screen serves as a support instead of viewing stuff. I have rarely done some drawing where the big screen does look great for that purpose, but this represents 0.05% of my iPad use. So 12.9 in iPad is 1) not comfortable for studying on bed
    I have also noticed that the big screen emits too much light at night that makes my eyes feel tired fast. I have tried various screen illumination adjustments but withou success. So 2) not good for studying at night
    3) typing on the onscreen keyboard while holding it is impossible
    4) it is less portable for traveling or commuting. Although I can do most of my stuff on an iPad, I take the 12in rMB in my bag because it is more portable (smaller, lighter, feels more compact c/w iPad and the flimsy covers and smart covers).

    As you can understand I am considering downsizing. I am still figuring out how much I need the pencil, the true tone and the higher specs of iPad Pro 9.7, but I want to ask the friends here about the optimal form factor of iPad. Main uses: reading PDFs on bed, typing short texts. I used to believe that the bigger screen the better, but I recently tried the iPad mini on Best Buy. Few thoughts about the mini:
    Thumb typing in portrait mode is the best typing experience I have had on any iOS device. The keys are big enough to easily hit them without mistakes (better than iPhone plus in that perspective) but close enough to avoid any stretches of the thumbs to hit a key (like the 9.7 in iPad). The device is amazingly light that you can hold it easily with one hand and even use your thumb for screen panning. If you use in the portrait orientation, you can very easily pull up the split screen mode and rapidly alternate between apps because everything is within your thumbs reach (vs the 9.7 iPad).
    I will wit a few more weeks in Oct to see if they come up with a new mini, otherwise I will go for the mini4.
    Are the above impressions I got from my short interaction with the mini correct?
    Do you think it will be too small for reading pdfs (scientific articles)?
    Is the thumb typing as good in the long term as it felt?
    What is more comfortable for reading on bed, mini or 9.7?
    Thanks guys
  2. Jasmynp macrumors 6502


    May 15, 2011
    East Coast, USA
    If you plan to annotate and don't want to spend a lot of time zooming, go with the 9.7. That seems to be the sweet spot for many.
  3. Loge macrumors 68030


    Jun 24, 2004
    I have found that the mini is a bit too small for many PDFs which are often designed for print at sizes slightly greater size than the 9.7. On the mini, I would read these in landscape mode and scroll down the page.

    Goodreader allows you to crop the margins out, and remembers these settings for each document which goes some way to help, but unless you have very sharp eyes, I'd say the 9.7 is preferable for PDFs.
  4. s2mikey macrumors 68020


    Sep 23, 2013
    Upstate, NY
    Ive always felt that the 9.7" size is perfect for a tablet. the 12.9 iPad is cool and all but is simply too cumbersome IMO. The mini is just too small. 9.7" is like Goldilocks and the baby bear food = "just right" :)
  5. Xeyad macrumors 6502

    Nov 19, 2012
    Your mistake is owning both the iPad Pro 12.9" and the Retina Macbook. I owned both for a brief period of time, and it's honestly not possible. They're way too similar in size, weight, and usage type to own both. I then decided to sell the Macbook and keep the iPad Pro. Why? For my usage, I enjoyed the iPad Pro with more selection of apps, games, entertainment, and I felt iPad is eaiser to use in bed compared to the Macbook. The iPad can also do some of the productivity stuff using the keyboard, so I didn't miss the Macbook too much.

    Each one has a preference, but you have to select your devices carefully. The iPad Pro and the Macbook can't live in the same space. If you want to keep the Macbook and have a more entertainment device, go down to the 9.7" Pro. But don't go down to the Mini, because the 6 Plus is too close to the Mini as well.
  6. Traverse macrumors 604


    Mar 11, 2013
  7. rui no onna macrumors 603

    rui no onna

    Oct 25, 2013
    For scientific and technical PDFs, I would recommend going for at least 9.7. I find 7.9 is doable thanks to the high resolution but it's really not what I'd consider comfortable. You might need to do quite a bit of zooming and panning. Personally, I'd rather deal with the extra weight of the Pro 9.7 if that means I can avoid constant zoom and pan. For me, it's really a happy medium.

    That said, have you tried just propping the Pro 12.9 with pillows or something? I find the 9.7 models also cause me wrist fatigue after holding it for a while so I always have it propped against pillows.

    That said, I rarely put any of my iPads on my chest anymore. Too many occasions of it falling down on my nose. It already hurts quite a bit with the Air and Pro 9.7. Can't imagine how worse the 12.9 will be. :p
  8. pika2000 macrumors 601

    Jun 22, 2007
    Depends on usage.
    For me, my ideal size is the iPad mini. I take mine for everything, from note taking, traveling, and work. Anything larger (thus heavier) is duplicating my laptop (which I have to have anyway).
    And yes, I have used it when I am lying on my bed. Anything larger I feel will be too cumbersome/heavy.
    I am still on my mini 2, and will only upgrade when Apple put pencil support on a new mini.
  9. The Game 161 macrumors P6

    The Game 161

    Dec 15, 2010
    I see why you would want to downsize and myself having just ordered the 9.7 pro even though I have the 12.9 I have been tempted to sell my 12.9 pro. Either that or keep it like a laptop replacement and use it for certain times. Havn’t quite decided yet but the 9.7 I imagine would get used more when I get it. I have a macbook pro and I never use that anymore so maybe selling the 12.9 will make me use it more.
  10. HarryWild macrumors 65816


    Oct 27, 2012
    Mini is the right size for me since I enjoy doing a lot of reading, movie watching lying down in bed. The 9.7" is hard to hold one handed for a couple of hours while the Mini just right and has better resolution too! 264 ppi just not high enough for near sided sharp eye people like me while the Mini 326 ppi is adequate. I can see the poor font characters and the poor video quality in the 9.7" and 12.9" iPad models.
  11. mrex macrumors 68040


    Jul 16, 2014
    12,9" is awkward to hold with one hand.
  12. CEmajr macrumors 601

    Dec 18, 2012
    Charlotte, NC
    iPad Mini size for reading. 9.7 is better for videos.
  13. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    iPad mini for reading in bed and in waiting rooms. iPad Pro for everything else.
  14. Commy1 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 25, 2013
    If I were an illustrator I'd have the iPad Pro 12.9" for drawing, screen restate would be huge and important.
    However, with the traveling I'm doing the 9.7" is perfect. I can put it in my bag so it's not obvious I'm carrying an expensive product, the screen is amazing and of course still works perfectly with the pencil for drawing. I'm very happy I didn't pick up the 12" when I had the choice.
  15. Kostas3000 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 28, 2016
    New York
    has anyone tried to work with split screen function in iPad mini? it gave me the impression that the smaller screen makes much easier the use of split screen functionality, because everything was within thumbs' reach.

    As I mentioned, a significant part of why iPad use is to read scientific pdfs. 12.9in iPad pro has the same size as an A4 paper page, so no need for zooming or panning in the pdfs. On the contrary this is needed with iPad mini.
    9.7 iPad seems to still need a lot of pdf zooming and panning.

    So my thought is that I should go for the iPad mini.
    • given the better portability (both in terms of carrying it around but also of holding it) of the iPad mini
    • given the better use of split screen function and the better thumb typing experience of iPad mini vs 9.7 iPad
    • given that both 9.7 in and iPad mini need zooming and panning of pdf

    Do you agree with the above? My iPad mini impressions are based on a few minutes of playing with it at the best buy, so I am not 100% sure I am right with my assumptions.

    I appreciate all comments written, they give me valuable insight, but it seems there is still controversy about which one is the best.
  16. masotime macrumors 68020


    Jun 24, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    It seems you've already made your decision, but are trying to seek more concrete validation.

    Generally if your primary concern is ergonomics and portability over screen size, your decision is really quite clear - the iPad Mini 4. It remains to be seen if there's a refresh coming up in October, although admittedly that seems rather unlikely given the lack of rumors.
  17. Pakaku macrumors 68020


    Aug 29, 2009
    I try to use my iPad 3 in bed, but it's a bit too big if I use it while on my side. When I'm sitting on the couch, it's either okay or too small, and I'd rather be using my MBP.
  18. Kostas3000 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 28, 2016
    New York
    when are you reaching for the iPad pro or the air or the mini? (I see you have all 3 of them)

    I remember that I was reaching for my 9.7in iPad much more c/w the 12.9in iPad.
    I now make a conscious effort to use the 12.9in instead of my macbook. It shouldn't be that way. iPad is supposedly to be more fun to use c/w macbook.
  19. masotime macrumors 68020


    Jun 24, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    • The 12.9" is mainly when I want a really big screen, almost never for portable usage, it generally stays at home, or sometimes used only when I reach office.
    • The 9.7" is the jack of all trades, reasonably large screen and portability - I bring it out when portability is not the main priority and I'd like an iPad along with me.
    • The 7.9" is when I'm doing a lot of heavy commuting (public transportation and/or GPS duty while driving), and a smartphone simply does not have a large enough display to do some planning.
    These are my use cases, but other people may think differently. I get significantly more mileage out of an iPad than an iPhone - I always have. Mentioned to death, but even the iPad mini is more than twice the screen area than an iPhone Plus.
  20. Mr_Killjoy Suspended


    Sep 19, 2016
    As someone who's had all of the above, for your needs the 9.7" pro is likely the best option.

    I loved mine when I had it, but went back to a 12.9" because the screen is just too good to pass up, and I found myself wanting the additional RAM.

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