After testing over 20 tablets, the winner is iPad Pro 12.9. Its powerful professor and large screen make it perfect for music production.
As technology gets involved in almost every aspect of our lives; the music field witnessed a breakthrough adding the digital ingredient to creative concepts, forming modern masterpieces. If you’re passionate about your music, you must have noticed the mesh of technology and musicians. Sure, traditional ways are timeless, but the upbeat approaches to composing, producing, and reading music on the spot led to creating more art with a wider exposure, a goal for every dedicated musician out there.
Also, think about those sheets of music, recordings, and business files you want to safely keep. Wouldn’t it be nice to have them all at your fingertips to read or work on whenever and wherever you want to? Additionally, tablets virtually connect you to the whole world. Consider how many artists had their big breaks using a device with internet access, no major studios or agencies involved, just talent and love.
This is why a tablet is a rather indispensable tool for every musician. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a pro, on a budget or packing some cash, I’m here to help you pick the best tablet for musicians that’ll fit your conditions perfectly.
Top 6 Tablets for Musicians
We’re first greeted by a very beautiful look; sleek and simple, giving a sophisticated feel. The iPad Pro brings a screen sized at 12.9 inches, which is the largest you’ll see on the list. Such a big screen allows comfortable viewing and reading, with liquid retina display for a crystal-clear immersive experience, topped off with anti-reflective and fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating.
Recording videos during a performance or taking pictures of certain sheets or gear is very enjoyable too, thanks to its smart HDR. A 12-megapixel camera, resulting in gorgeous photo quality. You can also quit worrying about if your tablet is going to slow you down or how heavy it packs as the iPad is quite slim and lightweight at only 1.49 pounds.
The sound quality is rather nice blasting through four speakers of wide stereo audio. The iPad Pro operates smoothly with high-speed processing as expected from its A12X Bionic chip, handling multitasking with ease. This tablet is compatible with the handy Apple pencil, Smart keyboard, and Bluetooth keyboards. It will also last you up to 10 hours on a single charge so you don’t need to charge it so often.
The iPad Pro will fit well onto music stands as long they’re wide enough to support it. Granted, the Apple tablet demands a high price but it’s worth the dime.
- The huge 12.9-inch screen is awesome for sheet music and chord charts
- Bright clear display
- Fast and reliable processing
- Slim design
- Apple warranty
- Expensive, breaking the bank for many users
- Maybe too large to carry for some musicians
- Apple pen sold separately
- Extra care with documents of purchase to avoid verification issues
The S3 tablet offers a screen of 9.7 inches, a pretty decent size enough to tend to your musical reading needs, along with a Super AMOLED display for sharp details and vivid colors. It’s also rather light weighing under one pound, which means you’ll barely feel carrying it around.
A 32-gigabyte hard drive and 4 gigabytes of RAM, the storage you get with the Galaxy S3 is neither too little nor too much. It’s a lot of space to save apps, recordings, and photos, however, you may need to back them up to a computer in order to free some room on your tablet later on. It’s not too bad though, you can always expand your storage up to extra 256 gigabytes!
This tablet ranks high speed-wise, owing to its blazing Snapdragon Quad Core processor, it can handle heavy usage and multitasking without breaking a sweat. You won’t be forced to sit and wait for apps to run or pages to load.
A seriously cool item you’ll see accompanying the S3 tablet is the glorious S Pen which enables you to write away all you want with high precision. It’ll work anytime on the spot as it doesn’t require any charging whatsoever, but you should note that the tablet doesn’t include a dedicated pouch for the S pen, so there’s a risk of misplacing it. If you get tired of using the pen or for some reason can’t use the touch, you get to simply switch to keyboard convenience with a detachable keyboard sold separately.
The powerful Quad speakers make for great audio quality and the battery lasts you up to a hefty 12 hours time. The fast charging fills it right back up in just 3 hours. At a reasonable price, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is definitely worth your while.
- Versatile use; business and pleasure
- Lightening-fast Snapdragon processor
- The Android operating system offers high adaptability
- Comes with S Pen
- Expandable storage space
- Long battery life
- The keyboard is sold separately
- Initial storage can be too little for some users
- No designated S Pen pocket unless you buy a keyboard cover
- May be considered too expensive for some users
The screen on the Xperia Z4 is sized at 10.1 inches, giving you a nice clear view of sheets and notes. There’s more to it though, owing to the oleophobic coating and scratch resistant glass, you don’t need to constantly worry about damaging your screen. Musicians often get lost in their creative bubble risking knocking over such unmounted gear.
Not only is it remarkably water-proof, but this tablet is also quite light, weighing less than 3 pounds, it’s the lightest of its class but may be a bit of a work out if you’re that delicate. The processing system sure won’t disappoint you either, with Snapdragon 815 octa-core, you’re guaranteed fast loading and quick responses. This tablet is also compatible with Bluetooth keyboards, so you can switch it up whenever you need it.
Taking it even further, the battery life on the Sony Xperia Z4 is truly outstanding. Pushing up to 2 full days of operation, this tablet is the ideal companion for lengthy gigs and concert road trips. It can save up all your files and recordings using the 32 gigabytes memory which you can expand to 200 gigabytes for bonus storage. The 3 gigabyte RAM is enough to deal with your multitasking without freezing.
As a multipurpose powerhouse, the Sony Xperia Z4 is undoubtedly capable of keeping up with musicians whether they’re creating ear-pounding melodies or soft angelic notes.
- 2 days of battery life
- Decent screen size
- Extra space memory slot
- Quick processing
- Screen colors are slightly dull
- Relatively heavy
- May overheat
Despite the low price, Amazon did its best to offer a variety of features to boost your experience. Starting with a 7-inch LCD touchscreen, the display is by no means the largest, but it does deliver decent coloring and depth. You can have your pick of 16 gigabytes or 32 gigabytes of internal storage, expandable by up to 512 gigabytes.
The Fire 7 tablet weighs close to half a pound, deeming it extremely portable. Such a quality could make all the difference to many musicians looking for a light ride. It also comes in a selection of 4 colors to appeal to different tastes.
The processor of this tablet is a 1.3 GHz Quad-Core CPU, taking on fair use with 1 gigabyte of RAM. Its battery lasts up to 7 hours of reading and browsing, more than needed by many musicians on the go. Additionally, since it’s powered by Amazon, you get to connect to Alexa, making life that much easier.
On the flip side, the Fire 7 tablet has only one speaker, no cellular connectivity, and can record videos at 720p HD quality at most. Other than that, this Fire 7 would be great for beginners who aren’t looking for something too complicated or as a backup tablet for technical emergencies.
- Super affordable
- Memory can be extended
- Long battery life
- Connects with Bluetooth speakers
- Lacks many advanced features
- Single speaker
- The camera is 2 megapixels
- The processor can be better
- Not very durable
- No SIM card slot
- Can’t play 1080p videos
It’s not even just a tablet, but more of a multi-functioning laptop to tend to a wide array of your professional requirements. With an Intel Core i5 and 8 gigabytes of RAM, you better be sure you’ll be more than pleased with the silky smooth performance, fast response, and uninterrupted rendering capabilities for the best possible musical creations.
The 12.3 inches of PixelSense display gives a superb view of crisp clarity, ideal for comfortable reading, watching videos, and looking at photos. At 1.96 pounds, the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is easy to hoist and take off, virtually able to work with it anywhere you wish.
Operated by the Windows 10 Home, the interface is as friendly as ever with the familiar features we all know and love. You also get to switch between 3 modes; laptop mode when you connect the Type Cover, standard tablet mode, and studio mode where a perfect 15-degree tilt allows for fluid writing. The battery life is decent and can be stretched quite a while, up to 13 hours, but some users did report it lasting way less.
- Sizeable 12.3-inch screen
- Highly responsive
- Butter smooth performance
- Great battery life
- Excellent audio quality
- Versatile functions
- Can get heavy
- Tricky to hold with one hand
- The battery may be disappointing
- Could use more connection ports
6. iPad Air 2
Landing with yet another product, Apple offers us a great tablet for those who want to receive the highly practical and reliable experience of owning a device with the bitten apple logo.
The iPad Air 2 has all that you need in terms of portability. Weighting at 0.96 pounds with a thin build and slim design, you can simply grab it and move on to the next gig. If you’re a musician who always has to be somewhere, you should totally consider this tablet.
Regarding its screen, you get a high-definition 9.7 inches of display, a wide enough view for your music and chord charts. The 2048×1536 resolution gives stunning imagery to top off the overall powerful performance.
This particular model comes offering a whopping 128 gigabytes of internal storage, capable to deal with all and any amount of file storage you throw in its way. The A8X chip grants the iPad Air huge multitasking power and processing speed so you won’t have to encounter “choking” moments.
It supports wireless, Bluetooth, and cellular connectivity, so you can always be in sync with the world. Moreover, the battery gives you up to 10 hours on the run so you can safely count on your tablet during live shows. The compact structure makes the iPad Air 2 a breeze to hold and fit on seemingly any type of stands.
- Compact design
- Powerful reliable performance
- Extremely high resolution
- Lightweight making it very portable
- On the pricey side for its size
- Storage can’t be expanded
- No external ports
Why should you use a tablet?
Before investing in a tablet, you may find yourself second-guessing or wondering if you even need a tablet in the first place, been there, done that! Chances are, like me, you want solid reasons to give you the extra nudge, so allow me to present you with a few!
Right off the bat, I’m thinking automatic page turners. Tablet page-turners are super consistent and reliable, they guarantee a smooth flow during live streams or concerts, surpassing human page-turners. Tablets are also fantastic practice partners who always show up.
You can take your tablet anywhere, the portability enabling you to carry your music across streets, states, and even continents! Being wireless also means you won’t have to fumble with cords or cables.
Moreover, you don’t need to physically change your location, as the internet access lets you transcend geographic boundaries sharing your passion with billions of people.
Additionally, you can find numerous apps for producing, composing, practicing, and writing music so you can unleash your creativity or polish your skills. You’ll be able, as well, to store your entire music library and organize your sheets into folders so you can keep track of everything.
What to look for in a tablet?
Now that you’re hooked, it’s time to know what features actually make the best tablet for musicians.
You’re going to be reading music off digital sheets, often in hectic settings, so obviously you don’t want to struggle to see those notes.
Your screen size should give you a comfortable and effortless display of musical sheets and chord charts. Something around 10 inches should be enough to keep you from squinting. Of course, the bigger the better, as long as you take into account the increase in weight.
Since we’re talking about the screen, a mention should go out for the resolution. The higher the resolution, the clearer the quality with sharp details and vivid colors.
No matter if you’re on a budget or not, you still want to get your money’s worth on a tablet that lasts as long as possible. Look for devices made using metallic frames and high-quality components. Saving a buck or two on cheap knock-offs or questionable materials will end up costing you more when your tablet suddenly gives out.
This is an important yet often overlooked detail when it comes to tablets. As you can imagine, carrying around already heavy instruments or tools, the last thing you need is the extra weight of a bulky tablet. Or if you’re always on the go, you want to be able to swiftly shove it in your bag and dash.
This is why you want to pay attention to the actual weight of the tablet if you consider it a problem. Though it may be a result of durable material, such as metal, there are some materials that are light but still extremely tough.
This feature is as crucial to a musician as it’s to any other tablet user out there. The storage room can truly either be a curse or a blessing for you depending on how you plan it. Consider how much space you’ll need to save all your career worth of music sheets, chord charts, contracts, recordings, and any extra jazz you can think of.
If you get a tablet with too little storage, say under 16 gigabytes, you’ll often run into trouble with not enough space and having to constantly transfer files onto another device to free some room. On the other hand, there’s no such thing as too much storage, unless you’re on a tight budget where you can’t dwell on more than 32 gigabytes of internal storage.
This one is all about what you like. As artists, we love to express ourselves in every way possible, and our tablets are no exception. You can definitely find various designs and colors, some sleek, others bold, where something is bound to entice you.
You may not plan on using your tablet for intense gaming or heavy browsing, but you still require adequate processing speed to run all your data quickly and efficiently, for a butter smooth experience.
Looking at how much money you’re willing to spend, you can get a better sense of what suits you best. There is no denying, hefty high-end tablets do deliver premium performance with a range of advanced features and tweaks, however, there are also some more affordable models capable of providing a pretty decent game to the table, doing their job perfectly fine.
In my list, I made sure to include multiple options of price tags, so that every musician gets their chance of owning a neat tablet.
Arriving at our final words, it should be obvious how owning a tablet has become a necessity for both aspiring artists and experienced musicians. Personally, I would go for the Microsoft Surface Pro 6, mainly due to its versatility. Not only do I get 3 modes functioning through any occasion of use, but I’m also a real sucker for the Windows operating system I’m already rather familiar with.
However, if you find yourself leaning towards the reliable iOS experience, the highly portable iPad Air 2 is definitely dependable, getting the job done just fine at a lower price than the iPad Pro 12.9.
If you’re on the hunt for an affordable tablet to keep your bank intact, you’ll very much like the Fire 7 tablet powered by Amazon. It delivers all the basic functions a musician would need, without all the extra features of higher-end tablets.
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