Should you use Paperlike on the M1 12.9-inch iPad Pro?

Apple released the first-of-its-kind iPad Pro with M1 chips at its Spring Loaded event some time ago. Now that the new iPad Pros are beginning to ship, customers worldwide are now asking themselves, should I use Paperlike or any other screen protector for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with M1?

I’m here to help you make that decision.

Think twice before getting a screen protector for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro M1

In case you don’t know it already, the first thing I should mention is that my advice will change dramatically based on which iPad Pro you have.

The iPad Pro 11-inch 2021 version with the Apple M1 chip has the same display as the previous one released in 2020. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a brilliant display, but it’s not nearly as good as the Liquid Retina XDR display that iPad Pro 12.9-inch comes with.

Both displays are amazing, but if you put them side-by-side, the HDR quality will look drastically different. The 1000-nit brightness (with a staggering 1600-nit peak brightness) is a monster compared to the mere 600-nit brightness in the iPad Pro 11-inch.

Again, I used the word ‘mere’ only in comparison to the iPad Pro 12.9-inch. On its own, the 11-inch iPad Pro’s display quality is nothing short of stunning. But if you want the absolute best in a compact tablet, there’s nothing else that beats the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

So the question is, if you’re spending the extra money to enjoy all that glorious display goodness, why put a screen protector that degrades the look?

Does Paperlike ruin screen quality?

People’s opinions are divided, but the fact of the matter is, your screen quality will certainly take a hit. The brightness will be lowered. The text clarity and the vibrancy of other imagery on the screen will be noticeably worse with a matte screen protector like Paperlike than without.

I should mention that I’m talking about Paperlike only because it’s arguably the most popular for giving you an actual paper-esque feeling on your iPad Pro with Apple Pencil. Everything I say about Paperlike here will apply to any screen protector — cheaper or more expensive — with a matte or textured surface.

Screen protectors or tampered glasses with a glossy surface don’t necessarily ruin the screen quality in the same way a textured screen protector does. Only protectors with a matte texture will ruin the screen quality in terms of color vibrancy and text clarity for you.

You may think that it’s worth the tradeoff for the extra niceness you get with a Paperlike-like screen protector. After all, if you’re a designer or a sketch artist, or if you need to do a lot of handwriting, that experience is more important to you than raw screen quality.

But if you get the 12.9-inch iPad Pro especially for its beautiful display, then it’s worth a second thought whether you want to put a protector on top of the display to reduce the quality of the display that you paid for.

When should you use Paperlike on your iPad Pro 12.9-inch M1?

The only time when your use of a Paperlike or similar screen protector would be justified is if your primary use of the iPad Pro is sketching, handwriting, and designing a lot of content. That, of course, means you will use the Apple Pencil a lot.

The main selling point of screen protectors like Paperlike is that they give you a paper-like experience. When you use your Apple Pencil on the glass surface, it’s a bit slippery, so you may not like it as much.

In my experience, it doesn’t take long before you get used to it. But if you draw a lot and your preference is strict, you may want that textured feeling when drawing something with the Apple Pencil. Screen protectors like Paperlike give you that experience.

If you’ll be drawing or sketching a lot on your iPad Pro, I would actually suggest getting the 11-inch iPad Pro if you can live with the smaller footprint. You’ll save a ton of money. By opting for the 12.9-inch M1 iPad Pro, you’re paying higher for the better screen technologies. But if you’re going to be slapping a matte screen protector on its face, there’s not really much point in paying extra.

Alternatively, if you must have the extra real estate of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, consider getting the 2020 iPad Pro without the M1 chip. While M1 is a great leap forward for the iPad Pro, many people don’t necessarily need that kind of power. Never mind the fact that the iPad Pro is still bottlenecked by its software.

With that in mind, my suggestion is to get the 2020 model of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro if you need the larger display. And if you can live with a little smaller display, get the 11-inch iPad Pro.

But if you are getting an iPad Pro M1 with 12.9-inch display that packs a gorgeous Liquid Retina XDR display, you might want to skip that Paperlike or similar screen protectors.

Paperlike alternatives: Magnetic removable screen protectors for the iPad Pro M1

It’s always a matter of compromise when it comes to using a screen protector on an iPad. On one side, a screen protector will give you extra security. On the other side, you will not get to experience the screen quality at its 100% as soon as you put something on top of it.

But if you must have a paper-like feeling when drawing or handwriting something on your iPad Pro, there are some cheaper alternatives that you can use without having to semi-permanently attach a screen protector on your iPad Pro.

Enter the world of magnetic and removable screen protectors.

magnetic removable ipad pro screen protector

As the name suggests, there are screen protectors for iPad Pro out there that will magnetically attach to the iPad Pro display. This gives you the best of both worlds. When you need to use the Apple Pencil, you can attach the magnetic screen protector on top of the iPad Pro.

And when you’re done drawing and back to browsing or watching videos, you just take it off.

There are a few companies that make this type of magnetic and removable iPad Pro screen protectors that give you a textured feeling when writing with the Apple Pencil. Some of the common features of these magnetic screen protectors are:

  • Anti-glare and anti-fingerprint: So they will reduce glare and will not become a fingerprint magnet.
  • Magnetic and reusable: Unlike traditional Paperlike and similar screen protectors, you can remove these magnetic screen protectors when you don’t need them.
  • Smooth, textured feeling: They all promise the same thing Paperlike and the likes offer. Yet, they come with the added benefit of removability.

I haven’t personally used any of them yet, but I’m going to order one soon. I’ll write a detailed review when I’ve used one of them, but for now, here are some magnetic screen protectors for your M1 iPad Pro 12.9-inch. Why specifically the M1 iPad Pro 12.9-inch? Because you should be able to remove the protector and enjoy the screen in all its glory.

Magnetic and Removable iPad Pro Screen Protectors for you to check out

Does a textured screen protector ruin Apple Pencil?

There’s a debate out there about the long-term impact of using textured screen protectors like Paperlike with Apple Pencil. There’s good reason to believe that the Apple Pencil’s tip will be ruined over time if you use it with a textured screen protector. While Apple Pencil tips aren’t that expensive to replace, it’s still something to consider.

In the next post, I’ll discuss why using a textured screen protector is bad for your Apple Pencil and why you may or may not care about that.

Is Paperlike Worth it?

My goal with this post is not to swerve Paperlike customers away and sell them something else. I have an 11-inch iPad Pro and I have slapped a Paperlike on it. I like the textured feeling I get when writing with the Apple Pencil.

I didn’t enjoy using the Pencil on iPad’s glass surface. Although I got used to it after some time, nothing compares to the feeling of striking the Apple Pencil on a non-slippery surface.

But if I end up getting the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with M1, which I might do only for the Liquid Retina XDR display, I will not be getting a Paperlike or anything similar for it.

I might keep the 11-inch around for handwriting, but I might sell it too. If I do that, I would end up getting one of those magnetic and removable screen protectors instead of Paperlike or something similar.

That’s the idea I’m sharing with you. By all means, go for Paperlike if the experience is worth it to you. I don’t have any complaints specifically about Paperlike or similar screen protectors, but if you get that one iPad Pro with an incredible display technology and then slap a textured, blurry surface on top of it, my heart will die a little.

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