Which to get -- iPad Pro 10.5" vs. 12.7"

Crunch

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 26, 2008
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Crazy L.A.
I've narrowed it down to these two. Mainly because I love high-end high-res displays and everyone seems to be amazed at both the 120Hz ProMotion tech but also the TrueTone adaptive display tech.

So, those of you with 12.9" iPads, is it just enormous and hard to handle? I do a lot of stuff on my iPad (an Air 2) in bed mostly, so my own gut tells me I'd be better off with the 10.5" iPad Pro. What do you think?

I don't mind spending the extra money on the bigger screen if there is a compelling benefit. Is the 12.9" too big for watching movies in bed with the iPad kind of propped up on or leaned against a pillow? Or will I need a specific accessory to accomplish this with the bigger screen iPad?

Many thanks for your excellent pieces of advice...
 

rui no onna

macrumors G3
Oct 25, 2013
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I'm 5'2" with short stubby fingers. Gotta admit, navigation/typing on the 12.9 while lazing in bed isn't quite as easy as it is on the 10" iPads. It's doable but not what I'd consider comfy. Big screen's nice for watching though.
 

fatalogic

macrumors 6502
Aug 16, 2016
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The 12.5 is shockingly large. I think unless you are drawing on it a lot it makes more sense to go with the 10.5. It's basically like ripping the display off a 13 inch macbook.
 
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Crunch

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 26, 2008
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I often use my iPad to look at videos and movies, and also to read a lot of articles. I typically have it on my lower chest on a thin pillow. Is that something that's comfy for use in that way? hmm.......
 

walkthruwalls

macrumors member
Apr 30, 2014
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waters of Thailand
The 12.5 has the best screen if you're not lifting it much. Propped on a bed sounds like a plan. But even my 10.5 could be cumbersome (in comparison to my 9.7 and my Mini) when lifted: reading while standing in the subway, or playing Real Racing on the sofa.

Watching movies, if the device is too close to your face on the bed, the 12.5 might be too big. But at an arm's length distance, it should be perfect. Also it's the best size for drawing or reading magazines/viewing photos bearing in mind you're not lifting it much.
 

Starfia

macrumors 6502a
Apr 11, 2011
688
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I was an early adopter of the original iPad Pro (12.5"). I seldom took it with me, but I often used it around my dwelling as a drawing tablet and nightstand thing – but not really as a mobile device for outings or as a handheld reader. (I think the iPad mini 4 is still best at those things.) It seemed large to me compared to any other iPad, and two split-view apps always felt nice with each almost the size of an original iPad.

I was always intrigued by the 10.5" – closer to the size and weight of an original iPad but with effort made to maximize the display space. Either that will be my next one or I'll wait to see whether or when the iPhone X's precedent is adopted by iPads in June or in the fall.
 

PhoneMe1

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Mar 23, 2018
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I had a 10.5 and gave it too my wife and have had the 12.9 for the last 6 months, just swapped it for a new 10.5. It’s good to be back, much easier to use and handle, the 12.9 is great on a desk but I found I didn’t move it much because of the size even around the house.
 
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Chupa Chupa

macrumors G5
Jul 16, 2002
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I bought the 12.9" last year rather than my usual 9.7" (now 10.5") model. I'm the rare bird that upgrades every year. It was not an easy decision, like you I use my iPad everywhere, even browsing online before going to sleep. And, of course, the 12.9" I was looking at with cellular was over $1K, so that took some mind bending too.

In the nearly year I've had my 12.9" I've completely enjoyed it and will buy another when the time comes. It's easier to write notes on, compose short docs, watch shows, browse - esp., side-by-side pages, multitask two apps. Bottomline: love, love the bigger screen. I have no prob at all traveling with it, using it on a plane because of it's size. It's really great.

It can get heavy, yes, but I found my 9.7"ers did the same too. Neither are the mini's weight. The 12.9" makes a lousy book reader, for sure. And it's best to hold it horizontal only. It's top heavy if you hold it in portrait. But it's not like the 10.5" doesn't come with it's own set of downsides. Really you just have to figure out which is best for you.

That said, I would not buy any iPad right now unless you get it steeply discounted -- maybe by $150 or more w/o any kind of contract. Potentially we might see a revision at WWDC, but if not then, then in Sep. Then you'll have your choice of a reduced priced 2017 or the latest/greatest 2018. Honestly, if rumors are true Apple is adding FaceID the 2017 might be the one to have.
 

sracer

macrumors G3
Apr 9, 2010
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Prescott Valley, AZ
I had a 10.5 and gave it too my wife and have had the 12.9 for the last 6 months, just swapped it for a new 10.5. It’s good to be back, much easier to use and handle, the 12.9 is great on a desk but I found I didn’t move it much because of the size even around the house.
Good points.

After 2+ years with a 12.9 Pro, I'm back at the 9.7 form-factor. I won't consider going back to anything larger unless Apple does some things to really exploit the larger form-factor. (They've actually taken a step back in some respects... iOS 11 changed the widget page to a single column when in landscape mode. In iOS 10, there were 2 and made that screen very useful.)

Early rumors say that iOS 13 will introduce iPad-specific enhancements, so I'm looking forward to that.
 
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Big Bad D

macrumors regular
Jan 3, 2007
178
87
France
Very happy with 12.9 iPad Pro and would not change. Love the larger screen. Good sized for multitask working, as well as watching movies and reading digital magazines etc. Regularly travel and fly with it (and without laptop) without any difficulty. Not so heavy, easy to prop up.
 

muzzy996

macrumors 6502a
Feb 16, 2018
770
687
As has been said, you just need to decide for yourself but in all likelihood just by nature of you asking I wouldn’t be surprised if you end up finding the 12.9” IPP too large.

I’ve seen a handful of threads about deciding between the two and I have to admit that I find the degree at which some find the 12.9” to be unwieldy foreign to me. I mean I do get it, it’s undoubtedly larger and heavier but the way some people make it out to be you’d think they’re comparing a ping pong ball to a ball and chain. That’s the nature of the internet though, sometimes we embellish to make a point (I just did so in the previous sentence).

For me there was no question what I wanted, which was a larger device to provide maximum screen real estate for a number of reasons. First for more space for split screen use. Second for a more naturally sized page size when taking notes. Third to make typing on the Smart Keyboard more natural and enjoyable since the keyboard is larger. Lastly to use as a second screen (via Duet) for my 15” rMBP.

I carry my 12.9” around with me daily, it comes with me to/from work along with my 15” rMBP and then accompanies me to all meetings. My IPP serves to supplement my laptop and I love it for that. Are there times when I strongly consider whether or not to take it? Surely, but we’re all different and in those instances I don’t think the number of times that the 10.5” form factor would have made a difference to me is enough to offset the benefits I am getting from the larger screen.
 

baypharm

macrumors 68000
Nov 15, 2007
1,705
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Eeeny meeny miney moe, catch a monkey by its toe, if he hollers let him go, eeeny meeny miney moe.

There you go....that will make your decision for you.
 

sracer

macrumors G3
Apr 9, 2010
8,708
9,477
Prescott Valley, AZ
As has been said, you just need to decide for yourself but in all likelihood just by nature of you asking I wouldn’t be surprised if you end up finding the 12.9” IPP too large.

I’ve seen a handful of threads about deciding between the two and I have to admit that I find the degree at which some find the 12.9” to be unwieldy foreign to me. I mean I do get it, it’s undoubtedly larger and heavier but the way some people make it out to be you’d think they’re comparing a ping pong ball to a ball and chain. That’s the nature of the internet though, sometimes we embellish to make a point (I just did so in the previous sentence).

For me there was no question what I wanted, which was a larger device to provide maximum screen real estate for a number of reasons. First for more space for split screen use. Second for a more naturally sized page size when taking notes. Third to make typing on the Smart Keyboard more natural and enjoyable since the keyboard is larger. Lastly to use as a second screen (via Duet) for my 15” rMBP.

I carry my 12.9” around with me daily, it comes with me to/from work along with my 15” rMBP and then accompanies me to all meetings. My IPP serves to supplement my laptop and I love it for that. Are there times when I strongly consider whether or not to take it? Surely, but we’re all different and in those instances I don’t think the number of times that the 10.5” form factor would have made a difference to me is enough to offset the benefits I am getting from the larger screen.
Perhaps one reason why the opinion that the 12.9 may be too unwieldy is foreign to you could be based on how YOU use the 12.9. Based on what you've written, it sounds like you are primarily using the 12.9 Pro as a 2nd monitor for 15" MBP. That is not a mobile scenario. That's a desktop scenario that has a transportability component to it.

For those who are using the iPad as a mobile device, in mobile situations, there are times when the 12.9 Pro is too large. When one is standing in the checkout line in a store, using the iPad Mini is absolutely fine, the 9.7 iPad is manageable, but the 12.9 is unwieldy.

The 12.9 is only a "more naturally sized page size for taking notes" if one is accustomed to using Letter or A4 sized notepads. For those of us who use padfolio sized notebook/notepads (1/2 letter size), the 12.9 Pro is gigantic. For us, the Mini is closer to a "naturally sized page".

All that to say, whether one finds the 12.9 Pro too large, just right, or even too small (yes, there are some who want a larger one), all depends upon how one is using it.
 

muzzy996

macrumors 6502a
Feb 16, 2018
770
687
Perhaps one reason why the opinion that the 12.9 may be too unwieldy is foreign to you could be based on how YOU use the 12.9. Based on what you've written, it sounds like you are primarily using the 12.9 Pro as a 2nd monitor for 15" MBP. That is not a mobile scenario. That's a desktop scenario that has a transportability component to it.

For those who are using the iPad as a mobile device, in mobile situations, there are times when the 12.9 Pro is too large. When one is standing in the checkout line in a store, using the iPad Mini is absolutely fine, the 9.7 iPad is manageable, but the 12.9 is unwieldy.

The 12.9 is only a "more naturally sized page size for taking notes" if one is accustomed to using Letter or A4 sized notepads. For those of us who use padfolio sized notebook/notepads (1/2 letter size), the 12.9 Pro is gigantic. For us, the Mini is closer to a "naturally sized page".

All that to say, whether one finds the 12.9 Pro too large, just right, or even too small (yes, there are some who want a larger one), all depends upon how one is using it.
Spot on - well almost.

The point of my post was to provide the perspective of someone who prefers the larger size and to point out that the use of embellishment on one side or the other is thought provoking to those on the other side of the fence.

The spot on parts of your post are that I do prefer the larger paper sizes for note taking and that we are all different.

The almost part - my primary use of my 12.9 isn’t for desktop, I probably use the 2nd monitor feature once every other month when traveling for business. My primary use for my 12.9 is media consumption, web/forum browsing and note taking. I probably should have made that clear but I was focusing on the main reasons why the larger screen were important to me. The size of the device isn’t hindering me from enjoying it in much the same way as the OP describes, though I do think lying down in bed with it on one’s lap isn’t something I’d do since the screen is too large for that based on distance from my eyes (more of a vision thing for me).
 

PhoneMe1

Suspended
Mar 23, 2018
420
214
Perhaps one reason why the opinion that the 12.9 may be too unwieldy is foreign to you could be based on how YOU use the 12.9. Based on what you've written, it sounds like you are primarily using the 12.9 Pro as a 2nd monitor for 15" MBP. That is not a mobile scenario. That's a desktop scenario that has a transportability component to it.
If you were replacing a laptop i could see the 12.9 better, i had mine sitting next to my 27" iMac all the time, so it was just another monitor.

When one is standing in the checkout line in a store, using the iPad Mini is absolutely fine, the 9.7 iPad is manageable, but the 12.9 is unwieldy.
Serious, i would like to see that ;)
 
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rosyapple

macrumors regular
Mar 25, 2018
133
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For those who are using the iPad as a mobile device, in mobile situations, there are times when the 12.9 Pro is too large. When one is standing in the checkout line in a store, using the iPad Mini is absolutely fine, the 9.7 iPad is manageable, but the 12.9 is unwieldy.
This is so me! I use my 9.7 iPad the way other people use their phones, standing in the checkout line, on the bus, walking to school (and fell... twice), during lunch and dinner outside etc. I still prefer using iPad than iPhone during those times because of the larger screen. It just feels uncomfortable to read / watch on such a tiny screen like on the iPhone.
 
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mofunk

macrumors 68020
Aug 26, 2009
2,415
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Americas
The 10.5 iPP is the same size as a Composition notebook. The screen looks like almost the size of a 15in MBP or back in the day a portable DVD player. I think those 12.9in iPad are for those who sketch and want more landscape so that they wouldn't have to move their work around when in those drawing apps.
 

Ipadlover29

macrumors 6502a
May 28, 2011
829
213
I’m very happy with my 12.9 (2017). The screen is bigger so its better for my eyes and multitasking. The speakers are louder and the battery life is also better than the 10.5 version. I did own the 10.5 for about a month after I upgraded to the 12.9, but I found it too small for my uses. My usage is about 90% with the Apple Smart Keyboard and 10% with the Smart Cover. It is big and harder to handle if your going to use mostly as tablet and especially if its in bed. I would personally wait until June as there maybe new iPads realeased then or you could get the current iPads at discount.
 
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AlexJoda

macrumors 6502a
Apr 8, 2015
767
587
It depends on the usage. If you use an iPad as a "big iPhone" for social media, games, media consumption etc. (as my daughter did) the 9.7 or 10.5 iPad is the perfect device but if you are using the iPad for work the 12.9 iPad is hard to beat. I am using it for remote access to my virtual machines and it replaces my MacBook completely. If you travel with a small bag for you personal belongings and papers it doesn't make a difference if you put a 10.5 or 12.9 iPad in that bag too. The size of the 12.9 iPad is not bigger than the standard paper or journal size but the iPad is much lighter than any notebook and I can work with it all day without charging.

I am waiting for the next 12.9 iPad to replace my first gen 12.9 (that I love so far) which will be even lighter and smaller if they remove the bezels like the 10.5 or even more if they get rid of the home button. Than there is really no argument to not take the 12.9....
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,940
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Boston
I found the 12.9 to be just too big. Yeah, it can be very tempting to have such a nice expansive display but holding it, carrying it and using it was a bit awkward. At least that was the case for me. The 10.5 is a nice balance of size, and mobility.
 

DNichter

macrumors G3
Apr 27, 2015
9,025
10,134
Philadelphia, PA
If you want to use exclusively at a desk, the 12.9 is the way to go. If you prefer to move around and want the best mobile tablet, the 10.5 is perfect.
 

AlexJoda

macrumors 6502a
Apr 8, 2015
767
587
If you want to use exclusively at a desk, the 12.9 is the way to go. If you prefer to move around and want the best mobile tablet, the 10.5 is perfect.
If you move around all the time with such a device and you need real mobility take the iPhone. if you travel with a tablet you need a bag. In this case it makes no difference if you take the 10.5 or the 12.9 with you.
 

DNichter

macrumors G3
Apr 27, 2015
9,025
10,134
Philadelphia, PA
If you move around all the time with such a device and you need real mobility take the iPhone. if you travel with a tablet you need a bag. In this case it makes no difference if you take the 10.5 or the 12.9 with you.
I don't agree, but that's okay. I manage a team of people at my office and my 10.5 was much more portable and easier to use when collaborating with others in the office. I tried the 12.9 but it was too big, heavy, and felt uncomfortable moving it around regularly. An iPhone can't be my computer replacement at this time, an iPad is better.
 

sracer

macrumors G3
Apr 9, 2010
8,708
9,477
Prescott Valley, AZ
If you move around all the time with such a device and you need real mobility take the iPhone. if you travel with a tablet you need a bag. In this case it makes no difference if you take the 10.5 or the 12.9 with you.
I guess it depends upon your definition of "travel". Going to and from the office, you don't need a bag... at least not because one is taking a tablet. If travel involves flying, then there is a HUGE difference between the 9.7/10.5 and the 12.9. I've never taken a flight where my 12.9 Pro was comfortably usable on the plane. Quite the opposite with my 10.1 Lenovo Yoga Book (Android)... which is virtually the same size as the 10.5 Pro.
 

rui no onna

macrumors G3
Oct 25, 2013
8,684
4,671
If you move around all the time with such a device and you need real mobility take the iPhone. if you travel with a tablet you need a bag. In this case it makes no difference if you take the 10.5 or the 12.9 with you.
I find the iPhone (even the Plus) is too cramped. Maybe when we have 7" phablets. For now, the 10" class iPads are sufficiently mobile for my use.
 
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