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Best Tablets For Musicians: How To Pick The Right One

Why Does a Musician Need a Tablet?

Mobile gadgets like the tablet have transformed traditional music-making methods for musicians, enabling artists to create whenever inspiration may strike, with a few taps of their fingertips. Musicians can leave the studio and work on their projects at home without missing a beat, or even stream live performances to global audiences with ease.

The downside of the mobile revolution is that choosing the right tablet can be a confusing and often frustrating process. I’ve put together this guide to help you quickly find the best tablet for your needs and budget.

best tablets for music

Factors to Consider When Buying a Tablet

To get the most out of your investment you’ll want to make sure your new tablet meets all of your needs. For example, are you planning to keep sheet music, recordings, and business files on your tablet?

You’ll want one that offers adequate storage capacity. Will you be recording on the road, with portable equipment like an audio interface and an external mic? You’ll save yourself headaches later on by making sure the tablet has the ports you need.

Are you going to be traveling extensively? Choose a tablet with great battery life.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Tablet

If you use a digital audio workstation (DAW) on your primary computer, compatibility might be something to keep in mind. Musicians using a Mac, for instance, will benefit hugely by sticking with the Apple ecosystem since the GarageBand audio app on the iPad integrates seamlessly with Logic Pro, Some DAWs, like Cubasis and FL Studio, offer mobile versions for both iOS and Android tablets.

However, AVID ProTools and Ableton Live don’t currently offer a mobile equivalent, so a tablet/laptop hybrid that runs Windows could be your best option.

5 Best Tablets for Musicians

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS 
iPad Pro (12.9″ model)
  • Phenomenal power from the M1 processor
  • Stunning Liquid Retina XDR display
  • Center Stage, which follows your face on video calls, is nice to have
  • Solid battery life
  • Multitasking capability
iPad Air 4
  • Fast A14 Bionic processor
  • Vivid, colorful display
  • 2nd Gen Apple Pencil support
  • Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio support
  • More color options
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (128GB)
  • S Pen included with the tablet
  • Bright, colorful display
  • Sleek, stylish design
  • Good battery life
  • Impressive sound
  • Headphone jack
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5
  • Fantastic processing performance
  • Versatile 2-in-1 laptop and tablet
  • Lenovo Active Pen included
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Webcam privacy shutter
  • More connectivity than most tablets
Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus
  • Headphone jack
  • Decent screen
  • Soft-touch finish
  • Wireless charging

Best of the Best: iPad Pro (12.9″ model)

Great for: anyone who wants the best tablet on the market, regardless of cost, or is looking for a tablet that can serve as your primary computer.

Features at a Glance

  • Display: 12.9* Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED display with IPS
  • ProMotion
  • True Tone Chip: Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU
  • 8-core graphics, next-generation
  • Neural Engine Storage: 128GB to 2TB
  • Camera (Rear): 12MP Wide, 10MP Ultra Wide. Smart HDR3, 4K video recording at up to 60fps
  • Camera (Front): 12MP TrueDepth, Ultra Wide, Center Stage, Retina Flash, Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control, cinematic video stabilization, 1080p HD video recording at up to 60 fps, Animoji and Memoji
  • Audio: Four speaker audio
  • Battery: Up to 10 hours
  • Connectivity: Thunderbolt/USB 4 port. Smart Connector

Can a tablet be too good? That may sound absurd, but it’s a question the new top-of-the-line iPad Pro raises. In terms of technology and features, the iPad Pro is the best money can buy. The 12.9″ model is Apple’s first mobile device with its new M1 processor, the same chip found in its desktop and laptop computers.

The 12-megapixel main camera and 10-megapixel wide-angle camera with a LiDAR depth sensor to enhance augmented reality and 3D image capture, and 4K video recording at up to 60 frames per second, is as good as any tablet camera can get.

If you read the above paragraph and thought. “Cool story, but how does this help me as a musician?” then you can guess why although the iPad Pro might be the best tablet available, it’s not necessarily your best overall choice.

There’s no question that the iPad Pro is a premium device. Its aluminum chassis, with flat rounded edges, is a pleasure to hold and feels sturdy in your hands. The (almost) all-screen, edge-to-edge design makes the most of the gorgeous Liquid Retina XDR display, brand new to this model.

The mini-LED display (a relatively new technology comparable to OLED) offers vivid, true-to-life colors. It includes technologies like True Tone and ProMotion — exclusive to the iPad Pro –that adjust the screen to match your viewing environment and provide smooth motion in videos and games, as well as fluid, responsive scrolling.

The iPad Pro is compatible with the fantastic 2nd generation Apple Pencil stylus, as well as the Smart Keyboard Folio, which essentially turns the Pro into a replacement for your laptop. Unfortunately, neither comes included and must be purchased separately, adding to your overall costs.

Expert Tip: Apple offers several storage options for the high-end iPad Pro, from 128GB to a whopping 2TB flash drive.

While opting for 128GB lowers the price considerably, I don’t recommend it as you’ll quickly fill up your drive with apps and files, and unlike most Android tablets, iPads don’t offer expandable storage with MicroSD cards. At this premium price point, you’ll get more long-term value from 512GB or higher.

Battery life is very good, with the 12.9″ iPad Pro lasting up to 10 hours while web browsing or playing videos, which beats most of its competitors. Charging, however, is a little on the slow side, taking about 3 hours to get to 100% using the included 20W USB-C charger (You can use a 30W charger, but it won’t charge any faster).

The iPad Pro sports a new Thunderbolt 3 port, which most users won’t benefit from at the moment, but is compatible with USB-C and may be more useful down the line.

Without a doubt, this is a remarkable tablet. For many music-making applications, though, it’s probably more machine than you need. The mighty M1 chip can handle anything you throw at it.

Still, the apps musicians use most often, like music production and recording apps. synth and drum emulators, metronomes, and the like, probably won’t need that extra power. And the iPad Pro is pretty big, even by tablet standards.

That big, gorgeous display also makes the pad bulky, and unwieldy when taking photos. If you’re a frequent traveler, you might want to consider a more portable tablet

If your budget allows it though, the iPad Pro can open up some tempting possibilities for creative expression. Artists who film and edit their own music videos will love the ability to shoot and edit in 4K resolution.

If you’re in the market for a desktop or laptop computer in addition to a tablet, the Pro could save you money by fulfilling your everyday computing needs – it can even be hooked up to an external monitor as well as an Apple Magic Keyboard or Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

And if you’re looking for the most future-proof device that will be usable for at least a few years, this is a great choice.

Pros

  • Phenomenal power from the M1 processor
  • Stunning Liquid Retina XDR display
  • Center Stage, which follows your face on video calls, is nice to have
  • Solid battery life
  • Multitasking capability

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Large size and hefty weight limit portability

Best Value Apple Tablet: iPad Air 4

Great for: musicians who want a powerful tablet that can easily handle audio recording and editing tasks and already use a Mac or iPhone.

Features at a Glance

  • Display: 10.9″ Liquid Retina LED display with IPS. True Tone Chip: Apple A14 Bionic chip with Neural Engine Storage: 64GB or 256GB
  • Camera (Rear): 12MP Wide with Smart HDR 3 for photos, 4K video recording up to 60 fps
  • Camera (Front): 7MP with Smart HDR 3, Retina Flash, 1080p HD video recording with cinematic video stabilization
  • Audio: Two speaker audio
  • Battery: Up to 10 hours
  • Connectivity: USB-C. Smart Connector

Apple’s iPad Air 4 is a mid-range option that hits the sweet spot between features and affordability. It isn’t one of the new models Apple introduced this year (the iPad Pros and iPad 9), but it’s my iPad of choice, more than capable of everything I use a tablet for as a musician – composing, recording, and editing music, writing, web browsing, and of course playing games – for nearly half the price of the latest and greatest iPads.

The lightning-fast A14 Bionic chip, USB-C port, and support for the latest accessories, like the 2nd Gen Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard Folio, make this iPad an excellent investment.

The iPad Air 4 has the same aluminum chassis and squared-edge design as the iPad Pro. with the (nearly) edge-to-edge front. Unlike the iPad Pro, the Air comes in more colors: in addition to Silver and Space Gray, there’s Rose Gold. Green, and Sky Blue.

Apple refreshed its iPad designs with this generation, and the new look and feel are a welcome step up from the previous design, which had grown pretty stale.

As with the iPad Pro, the Air has a premium, solid feel with good grip, and since it’s smaller, thinner, and lighter, it’s more comfortable to hold. The Air is also wonderful to look at with a vibrant, bright and crisp Liquid Retina display. The 10.9″ screen is just right for a tablet – not too small, but not so huge that you feel like you’re holding a monitor in your hands.

Expert Tip: If you’re upgrading from an older iPad, be aware that the 4th generation iPad Air ditched the venerable Lightning port for USB-C. That’s inconvenient for those of us with bins full of Lightning cables and accessories but opens up a whole new world of connectivity.

With USB-C, you can connect your tablet to lots of devices, such as displays, printers, external storage, and so on. For musicians, it means much-improved compatibility with external mics. sound mixers, headphones, and the like.

Some of iPad’s competitors, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Microsoft Surface, include accessories like a stylus or keyboard. Unfortunately, that’s an area where the iPad falls short.

The Apple Pencil and the Magic Keyboard are fantastic accessories for the creative professional, but you will need to purchase these accessories separately, so consider that extra cost when planning your budget.

The iPad Air 4 comes with two choices for storage: 64GB and 256GB. For the average musician. 64GB is simply a non-starter. You’ll find yourself frustrated very quickly as your tablet fills to capacity.

256GB will give most users plenty of space, augmented by the ability to use external drives, as well as cloud storage via iCIoud. In terms of battery life, the Air 4 slightly edges out the iPad Pro at about 10.5 hours and is comparable to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite’s 10 hours.

While it lacks some of the shiny new features of the latest iPad Pro. like ProMotion and the M1 chip, the 4thgeneration iPad Air comes close enough for the needs of most music makers at a far lower price.

Pros

  • Fast A14 Bionic processor
  • Vivid, colorful display
  • 2nd Gen Apple Pencil support
  • Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio support
  • More color options

Cons

  • No Face ID
  • No headphone jack
  • Pencil and keyboard not included

Best Value Android Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (128GB)

Great for: musicians who want an affordable, full-featured tablet for audio recording and editing tasks and already use an Android phone.

Features at a Glance

  • Display: 10.4″ LCD display with IPS. True Tone
  • Chip: Exynos 9611 Quad core 2.3GHz + Quad core 1.7GHz
  • Storage: 64GB or 128GB internal storage. MicroSD slot (up to 1TB)
  • Camera (Rear): 8MP. HDR. 1080p HD video recording Camera (Front): 5MP. HDR. 1080p HD video recording
  • Camera (Front): 5MP, HDR, 1080p HD video recording
  • Audio: Two AKG-tuned speakers with Dolby Atmos support
  • Battery: Up to 10 hours
  • Connectivity: USB-C

As a mid-range model in Samsung’s Galaxy Tab lineup, this is a tablet that offers a solid package of features and performance for the mobile musician, with superior portability and excellent battery life, at a very attractive price.

There are Galaxy Tab models that are more powerful, feature superior AMOLED displays, and better cameras, and the S6 Lite falls behind Apple’s iPads in performance. But if you’re comfortable in the Android ecosystem and want the best bang for your buck, the S6 Lite is hard to beat.

One of the S6 Lite’s most appealing features is its design. At only 7mm thick and weighing about a pound, this slim, eminently portable tablet will slip easily into your backpack or purse. The aluminum back makes the tablet more durable than glass-backed tablets, and the premium feel belies its affordable price.

This is a stylish looking tablet, and comes in two attractive colors. Angora Blue and Oxford Grey. The 10.4″ LCD display isn’t as impressive as Samsung’s higher-end offerings, but is large enough for watching videos, offers vibrant, crisp colors, and is bright enough for clear viewing even on sunny days.

The S6 Lite’s speakers are quite impressive, custom-tuned by AKG, the high-end speaker manufacturer, and support Dolby Atmos, which makes this tablet a very appealing choice for musicians and music lovers alike.

The audio is full and loud for a tablet this size, and although there is the option to connect to external Bluetooth speakers, the built-in speakers are perfectly good on their own. One advantage of the S6 Lite that’s particularly relevant to musicians is the fact that, unlike Apple’s tablets, it still comes with a headphone jack.

Another significant advantage of the Tab S6 Lite over the iPad is the included S Pen. Samsung’s version of the Apple Pencil. A stylus is typically an extra purchase when buying a tablet, so having it bundled with the S6 Lite is a nice bonus.

The S Pen is adequate for most needs, but falls short of the Apple Pencil or even Samsung’s other styluses in its lack of Bluetooth or other wireless connectivity and palm-rejection technology. Still, it doesn’t need to be charged and is perfectly usable for sketching.

Battery life is strong, lasting about 10 hours of continuous use. Most people will find that it will last at least a couple of days without needing to be charged. The 1 5W fast charger will fill up the battery in about 3 hours, which isn’t bad at all considering the size of the battery.

Storage options are limited, starting at 64GB and rocketing all the way up to… 128GB. Not great, but the included microSD slot means you can expand storage way up to 1TB.

Perhaps the most significant drawback of the Tab S6 Lite is its responsiveness when scrolling or opening apps. Sluggish performance is an issue with many Android devices, and the S6 Lite is no exception.

This isn’t a high-end tablet, and it shows in the slow, sometimes jerky navigation and occasional crashes when running demanding apps. like games. While I don’t find this a deal-breaker, some may find this tablet a little frustrating to use.

Pros

  • S Pen included with tablet
  • Bright, colorful display
  • Sleek, stylish design
  • Good battery life
  • Impressive sound
  • Headphone jack

Cons

  • No AMOLED display
  • Slightly sluggish performance

Most Versatile Tablet: Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5

Great for: anyone who wants a tablet that doubles as a laptop, or musicians who rely on Windows apps.

Features at a Glance

  • Display: 14” FHD with IPS touchscreen
  • Chip: AMD Ryzen 5 4500U with Radeon graphics
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Camera: 720p HD
  • Audio: Two 2W speakers, Dolby Audio
  • Battery: Up to 10 hours
  • Connectivity: USB-C. USB 3.2 (Gen 1), HDMI, 4-in-1 card reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC)

If you want the portability of a tablet but still need the capabilities of a laptop computer, or need to run Windows apps. a convertible 2-in-1 might be your optimal solution. While the Microsoft Surface Pro is one of the most popular examples of this hybrid.

I actually think the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 offers a superior value. Compared to the Surface Pro 7, for instance, the Flex 5’s Ryzen 5 processor is significantly faster than the Surface Pro’s Intel I7. The Flex 5 comes with twice the memory and a larger screen. And all for a significantly lower price.

The Flex 5 turns from a laptop to a tablet by means of its 360-degree hinge. This design makes the device remarkably flexible, enabling you to fold it flat for use as a tablet or prop it up without the need for a stand.

The overall look and feel isn’t going to win any design awards but is not bad at all. with a metallic Graphite Gray or Platinum Gray finish and a somewhat blocky but sturdy chassis. The sides of the notebook are coated with soft, grippy plastic, and while it’s fairly heavy, even for a convertible laptop, it still feels good and secure in my hands.

For storage, you get a 256GB SSD, expandable with a 4-in-1 card slot. The Flex 5 promises all-day battery life, up to 10 hours, with a quick charge that will get the battery to 80% in about an hour. In real-world testing though, owners have reported up to 15 hours of continuous use which is fantastic for an ultraportable laptop.

Where the Flex 5 disappoints is its mediocre display and camera. The 14* 1080p screen is adequate, with bright and vivid colors in most indoor settings, but is difficult to see outdoors in sunlight. If display quality is a top priority for you, then one of the Microsoft options might be a better choice.

Compared to standard tablets, though, the Flex 5 can’t be beaten in terms of versatility. With a regular tablet, you’re limited to one port, usually USB-C. With the Flex 5, though, you have options: USB, USB-C, and even HDMI to hook up an external monitor.

Not much need here to fiddle around with adapters or special cables. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you can use headphones and mics as you normally would with a laptop.

While in some ways the idea of a 2-in-1 laptop and tablet hybrid goes against the spirit of mobile technology, it can be a great compromise for anyone who wants maximum flexibility.

For instance, if you use an audio workstation app like ProTools that is only available on Mac or Windows, the Flex 5 is a great solution. Or if you don’t want the expense or hassle of moving between a tablet and a computer, a 2-in-1 might be just the thing you’re looking for.

Pros

  • Fantastic processing performance
  • Versatile 2-in-1 laptop and tablet
  • Lenovo Active Pen included
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Webcam privacy shutter
  • More connectivity than most tablets

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Mediocre camera compared to most tablets
  • Lackluster display

Best Entry Level Tablet: Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus

Great for: anyone new to tablets looking for an inexpensive, basic solution.

Features at a Glance

  • Display: 10.1″
  • Chip: Octa-core 2.0GHz Storage: 256GB
  • Camera 5MP (Rear). 2MP (Front). 720p video recording Audio: Two speakers Battery: Up to 12 hours
  • Connectivity: USB-C

If you’re new to mobile computing and want to dip your toes in the water before investing in something more expensive, or if you really just want a basic tablet. I think Amazon’s Fire HD 10 Plus is the best of the lower-priced budget offerings.

For a very affordable price, you get a tablet that has very solid build quality, decent if not spectacular power, and features like Bluetooth connectivity and USB-C ports that bring this tablet in line with its higher-end brethren.

Despite being more of an entry-level product compared to other tablets, the Fire HD 10 Plus has a lot going for it The soft-touch rubbery finish feels great in your hand, and although it only comes in one color.

Slate (the lower-priced HD 10 offers Black, Denim, Lavender, and Olive), it looks great. I recommend the HD 10 Plus over the less-expensive HD 10. because for a modest bump in price, you get more RAM and wireless charging, which make a big difference.

The Fire HD 10 Plus isn’t something musicians are going to use for any heavy-duty music editing, but for most tasks, like audio recording, basic editing, and less-intensive music-related apps. it’s perfectly usable.

Pros

  • Headphone jack
  • Decent screen
  • Soft-touch finish
  • Wireless charging

Cons

  • Poor speaker
  • Lack of features and performance compared to most tablets

Overall Winner

iPad Air 4

While it’s not the equal of Apple’s flagship iPad Pro, the Air 4 is good enough to qualify as essentially a budget version of the Pro.

Its combination of processing power and generous feature set gives creative artists the freedom to work without worrying about hardware limitations. For the maximum bang for your buck, there’s no better option than the iPad Air 4.

How Musicians Use Table for Music

Music has definitely been a big part of our lives. Music provides a lot of benefits not just for the physical but also for our mental health. It sets a bright mood and provides motivation for life.

Music makes us happier, strengthens our learning and memory, reduces stress and anxiety, helps us sleep better, and many more. We can play music through our phones, tablets, laptops and speakers.

Musicians are the ones who play musical instruments for enjoyment of many people. Though, how do musicians use tablets for music?

A musician makes music with a tablet and portable piano keys.
A musician makes music with a tablet and portable piano keys.

For many musicians, tablets have become an indispensable piece of gear. Musicians can use them to show lyrics and sheet music, play video lessons, or even as a portable mixer, backing track player, or MIdi controller.

Technology has improved the life of musicians nowadays. With the use of tables, the learning, practicing and mastering of musicians have become easier at a more efficient pace than before.

The Tablet Best for Playing Music

Music has the magical power to make people at peace. Playing music is a calming thing to do. Listening to music has so much benefits in life. It reduces stress and anxiety. Playing music also boost up your mood and provides you motivation for life.

Most people play their favourite musics through their cellphones, music box, speakers, tablets, laptops, and many more. Though, which tablet is best for playing music?

A man falls asleep while listening to music.
A man falls asleep while listening to music.

The tablet best for playing music would probably the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7. Its performance is the best when it comes to playing music.

It is the best quality tablet if ever budget is not an issue, Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 has Snapdragon 865, 6GB RAM, and a long-lasting battery that can last up to 15 hours. It has a storage of 128 Gb. Speaker’s features are Quad Speakers and Dolby ATMOS.

Playing music really does help a person physically and mentally. Choosing the best tablet to play music might also help.

Conclusion

It’s a great time to be a musician. We’ve never had more choices and more flexibility in how and where we can express our creativity. And one of the most powerful new tools in our arsenal is the tablet.

As mobile technology advances and grows increasingly affordable, our smartphones and tablets have become essential gear to enhance every part of our lives. For creatives, the freedom to leave the office or studio and live the artistic life on the go has revolutionized every artistic field.

About Jayden Buckley

Hi, my name is Jayden and I am author/editor for PlayTheTunes. I remember the first time I hopped on the drums, I was hooked. Music has played an enormous part of my life, and I'm honored I get to share my experiences with you!