iPad for reading programming books?

I love my Kindle Oasis for reading, but unfortunately it’s not great for technical books as you often need to click on a link or do a quick web search, so I’m thinking about getting an iPad.

Anyone use one for reading programming books? Which one have you got and how do you find it?

I am currently considering the iPad mini, iPad Air, and the 11" iPad Pro (the 12" is too bulky/heavy for reading for long periods from what I’ve heard from youtubers).

Anyone have any thoughts?

Pinging @herminiotorres and @jamiedumont as I know you both have iPads :003:


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I have the 11” pro, not the newest one but the one before that. Reading programming books, docs etc is the thing i use it for most though I do use it for other things as well. I find it to be really good for this task since it can render the graphics and diagrams nicely, support any format, easily open links, bring up docs/book side by side in split view, weighs less than most of the books I have in dead tree format…

In general unless you have a really good reason, I would be inclined to go for the Air rather than the Pro. For this kind of use case (and realistically most use cases) the pro doesn’t add enough to justify the extra cost. I would however recommend picking up the (2nd gen) pencil, it is great for notes, highlighting stuff or quickly sketching and it feels really nice to use. For me the mini is a bit on the small side for this kind of content, it is purely subjective where the size trade off is right for any person though. I like the size being similar to that of a normal printed page.

If you also want to do some heavier image editing (affinity photo and designer are great), video editing or get into some of the audio tools then you might start to see the benefits of the Pro, it is a pretty awesome bit of kit but it is also fairly hard to use to its fullest other than with these kinds of apps.

Those are my thoughts. If you can go into a store and play around with them for a little bit that might help a lot. You spend a lot of time holding the device so getting a feel for the sizes and weights directly is a good idea.


Thanks Toby!

That’s pretty much exactly my use case :lol:

The main benefits of the 11" Pro seem to be:

  • 120Hz screen (promotion)
  • M1 chip
  • 128GB base model
  • Better camera (12MP Wide and 10MP Ultra Wide vs 12MP Wide)
  • Better front facing camera (TrueDepth Ultra Wide 12MP vs 7MP)
  • USB-C Thunderbolt / USB 4 (vs std USB-C)
  • Slightly bigger screen (11" vs 10.9")
  • Slightly thinner (5.9mm vs 6.1mm)
  • (Slightly heavier tho, at 466g vs 458g)

The Air base model is 64GB and if you go to 256GB then it’s not far off the Pro’s price. I think 64GB may be too small. 120Hz screen is meant to be a little nicer with the pencil too.

Air: 64GB - £579
Air: 256GB - £729
Pro: 128GB - £749

So currently I am leaning more towards the Pro as I think 64GB on the Air is just a bit too small - what size is yours?


That makes reasonable sense. The 120 screen is a nice improvement and if you are looking at slightly more space anyway then it brings things much closer in price and you might as well go for the pro. Mine is 256, though if I was to buy another one is probably go with 128 as I have 218 free space right now, I don’t keep tons of media on there most of the time


Just updated my post with more plus points:

…and …have just ordered the Pro :lol:

Thanks for your help Toby - I will let you know how I get on! :003:


Was about to reply but saw you already ordered one. I think you made a great choice with the bigger screen. Diagrams and tables will be nicer on the big screen but you also get the benefit of being able to split screen with a notes app to take reading notes.


Which one have you got Hallski?

I was tempted by the 12" just for the mini-led screen, but I think it will be too bulky for reading. Wish the 11" had a mini-led screen as that would make it close to perfect : /

Btw they’ve dispatched it already and it’s arriving tomorrow :048:

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I’ve got an 11” iPad Pro (not latest though). The larger looks gorgeous but is too large for carrying around (for me).

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Hey AstonJ,

The 11" iPad Pro, it will feed your needs for most occasions.

In another side, the 12.9" iPad Pro when you like to split the display in a half, and for one side pick something to watch or read, and for another half put it on an app to take notes, the 12.9" iPad fits a bit better, or even writing something, and just quickly use the virtual keyboard a big and fat screen always gone help.

Also, for traveling or take it to be on your side wherever you go, the 11" it was the best. Besides, active the sidecar when you are traveling, the 12.9" seems a good second display for your MacBook.

I chose the 11" it is lighter you said. And I use it so much to taken my notes and read books and articles as well.


Thanks both!

The display is one of the things making me want to try the 12.9" :lol:

While the one on the 11" is great (and certainly black levels aren’t an issue at all) the two things I am not so keen on is:

  • Viewing angle. If you’re not looking at it straight on (so eg when it’s flat on a desk) the furthest part of the display is darker/greyer
  • Brightness. I’m finding it needs to be at least 75% brightness to be useable, but that could be because my LG 5K monitor is very bright and I may just need my eyes to adjust/dim that a bit.

From what I’ve heard from youtubers both of these might be less of an issue with the mini-led display.

This is another reason why I am thinking about the 12.9" - I found sidecar quite useful with the 11" but it’s a tad small for anything other than YouTube vids. The 12.9" would be much more useful imo. I won’t be taking the iPad anywhere I wouldn’t be taking my laptop, so I’m not too bothered by the 11" being more portable.

I do like the 11"… but I might wait a week then order the 12.9" just to see which one I prefer… or maybe even wait until next year as the 11" will probably have a mini-led screen and apparently they are getting MagSafe chargers with a glass back which would be nice to have…

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Some technical books are really hard to read on a Kindle, so I just read the PDF on my PC.