For me, the 11-inch size is a better iPad. What I mean by that is that it’s a better tablet. For things like watching a movie, reading articles or a book, or anything else you might normally do on a tablet, the smaller size is better. It’s easier to hold for longer periods of time, and using it handheld is easier because you don’t have to stretch your fingers trying to reach things in the middle of the screen.
The 12.9-inch, on the other hand, is a better device for doing a lot of the things you might otherwise do on a laptop. Because of the larger size, it feels more capable, even if it isn’t.
You get more real estate when using two different windows side-by-side. It’s a lot easier to type when using it with either the Smart Folio Keyboard, or the Magic Keyboard, since both are closer to what you’d expect on a 13-inch laptop.
Then again, with the Magic Keyboard on the 12.9-inch model, the whole thing feels hefty, even more so than my 13-inch MacBook Air. It’s certainly still portable, but you’re going to know it’s in your backpack.
In the case of the 2021 version, there’s also the difference in the display, which I mentioned above. I still stand by the argument that the display itself isn’t enough reason to opt for the larger model if everything else about how you use an iPad would lean towards the 11-inch.
Also, I’m not much of a gamer, but I did test out Call of Duty: Mobile for the purpose of experiencing what it was like using the display to play games. My take is that a 12.9-inch screen is way to large for touch input on a video game.
That said, I’ve really enjoyed using the 12.9-inch version for the last week. I used it for just about all of the things I do every day, save a couple of times when I wanted to read a book on the Kindle app—for which I grabbed the old 11-inch.