When I ordered my 12.9-inch iPad Pro, I placed my order for the Smart Folio case separately, in the hope that it might arrive earlier – and give me a sneak preview of the size. That paid off, as I took delivery a few minutes ago.

Let’s start with the bad news …

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I was suspicious when the folio case listing on Apple’s website said nothing about the material. I have the leather Smart Cover for my 10.5-inch iPad, but the Smart Folio for the new ones is, as I feared, silicone/plastic.

It doesn’t feel terrible – it’s a pleasant-feeling smooth material – but it doesn’t have anything like the same premium feel as leather. But still, I tend to remove the Smart Cover when using my existing iPad, using it only for protection in a bag or carrying it around the apartment, and I’ll do the same with the Smart Folio when the new one arrives. No point in having that lovely thin device if you’re going to have it feel thicker while using it.

But much more importantly, the good news: it doesn’t feel big.

I loved, loved, loved the screen size of the original 12.9-inch model. I really wanted to keep it. But the device was just too big. It required a larger bag than I wanted to carry casually around town, and felt enormous when reading ebooks in bed. Much as I would like to have kept the large one for sofa use and the smaller one for mobile and bedtime reading, I couldn’t justify the cost of two iPads. I reluctantly returned the 12.9-inch one.

But this one feels much smaller. I’d already mocked it up with cardboard, but the case gives a much better feel for the size.

I will need to get a bigger shoulder bag for it, but not one that’s going to feel over-sized. And I just did the ‘laying on my side in bed with it’ test for ebook reading, and it felt perfectly comfortable to hold.

Size is, of course, only half the equation. There’s also weight. My 10.5-inch iPad weighs 1.05 pounds, and the new 11-inch one 1.03 pounds. The 12.9-inch model, though, weighs 1.4 pounds – almost 40% heavier.

So it’s entirely possible that while the size feels completely fine, the weight may not. I may decide it’s too heavy to carry around routinely, or too heavy to hold in bed.

I’m really hoping not. Having now got a very good sense of the size of the new device, I’m already in love with it, a week before it arrives. Remembering the screen size and looking at the size of the Smart Folio, I really can’t wait to take delivery.


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