I have owned and used the 12.9″ version of the iPad Pro since the Summer of 2016, when I first purchased a used first-gen model. Despite trying out the 10.5″ version that came in the Summer of 2017 and then the 11″ version that arrived the following Fall, I have continued to use the larger device over the next two generations.
While I have reasons why the 12.9″ size works best for me in practical, everyday use, I can’t help but prefer the 11″ version from a perspective of pure hardware build. It’s just a great balance of size, weight and capability.
The 12.9″ iPad Pro is big, in the same way that a laptop is. It may be thinner and lighter than most clamshells, but that isn’t a trivial size to carry around all the time. Like I said before, there are reasons that I need the 12.9″ version, such as the larger work surface that makes things like blueprints easier to work with and the ability to run full iPad versions of apps side-by-side.
These are important in my job and also preferable in my writing on this site and my home use. And I’ll be honest. At 45, my eyes just aren’t what they used to be, either. The 12.9 also isn’t much trouble for me to carry because I use a laptop backpack for work and have it with me at all times during the day. That makes keeping a larger device with me along with a laptop less of a challenge.
All that said, I haven’t used an 11″ Pro since 2018, so I forgot just how good it feels in the hand until getting the 2020 version a few days ago. 1.9 inches may not seem like a big difference, but combined with the light weight and overall portability, it really does feel like a very different device. From a purely physical perspective, I actually do like it better than the 12.9″.
As far as looks go, I also like the silver color. I decided to order the 11″ model in a different finish this year for some variety and I like what I see. It’s been a while since I’ve gotten a Silver Apple device, so maybe absence has made me fonder.
Anyway, I think the back looks clean and the color contrasts nicely with the camera module. In reality, what I really miss are the gold finishes, especially the original gold that rolled out with the iPhone 5S, but that is not available with the iPad Pro. I’ve grown tired of Space Gray, so without the Gold option, Silver will do.
Looks and feel of a device only go so far, but they do matter. This 2020 11″ iPad Pro in Silver finish wins hands-down in both departments, in my opinion. As for how it works, it isn’t that much different than it’s larger sibling. However, those difference do have an impact on how I use the Pro, so this device isn’t going to replace my 12.9. However, it is making a case to hang around longer than I initially expected.
Maybe this is just me trying to talk myself into keeping the 2020 11″ iPad Pro. If so, I think it’s working, at least so far. We’ll see if that changes over the next few days.