If your bag weight matters to you, we recommend choosing the smaller, 11-inch iPad Pro. While the weight difference may seem insignificant at first, it becomes crucial when factoring in an iPad case and additional items in your bag. Regardless of your iPad choice, even the 12.9-inch iPad Pro will feel significantly lighter when it replaces physical textbooks and notebooks. For example, for a subject, you could have two text books, a notebook, and handouts for each topic. All that can go into a single iPad, and you can leave all that junk behind. Text books are particularly huge and heavy for most science subjects. Law also has a lot of documents, for example. Imagine all that on a single device, as soft copies. However you look at it, a tablet is much lighter.
Will the iPad Pro be your only productivity tool, or do you also plan to use a laptop, another iPad, or physical books? If you use the iPad Pro for both reading and annotating PDFs, as well as taking notes, the 12.9-inch model is a better option. Its larger screen provides ample space to fully leverage the advantages of multitasking with split view and multiple instances. The size of your screen directly impacts the size of your split windows, making split view much more comfortable on a 12.9-inch display compared to an 11-inch one. Multitasking on an 11-inch screen is unpleasant, and it wastes a lot of time because you always have to resize screens to read what’s in your split windows.
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is also better if you primarily work from a desktop and only occasionally need to do some field work off your desk. It is too heavy to carry around all day for work like hospital rounds or inspections where you need to note down your findings. Any work that would require you to carry around a notepad will work better with the smaller iPad Pro. It is more portable and better suited for use while on the go, during commutes, or while relaxing on a park bench. No matter how much you love your iPad Pro, you will feel ridiculous studying or reading from a 12.9-inch screen on the subway!
I strictly use my iPad Pro indoors: at home, in class, or in the library. It looks ridiculous during hospital rounds, not to mention how heavy it is. It’s making me feel like I need an iPad Pro Mini. Seriously! It is tiring to carry it around the hospital wards.
If you have a laptop or are still using physical textbooks (because your university isn’t paperless yet), the 10.5 or 9.7-inch iPad Pros will work well for you. Their screens are big enough for note-taking without split view. Your workflow will probably be the main factor to really think about when choosing the size for your iPad Pro!
It would be impractical to ignore the budget, even though not much can be said about it. The larger iPad Pro carries a higher price tag compared to its smaller version. Unless you really need the big screen, the 10.5 and 9.7-inch iPad Pros will do just fine if you don’t have the extra dollars to spend on a bigger screen.
The capabilities of your iPad Pro remain the same, regardless of its size. Both sizes function the same. Split-viewing your apps is comfortable with the larger screen, but if the price is too high, the convenience may not be worth the strain on your budget.