I have tested a lot of tablets for any type of musical purpose.
I've used them for recording, using guitar effects, using it for VSTs, using it for keyboard controllers, and using it for DJ controllers.
These days, you don't really need a laptop anymore to do these functions.
With the invention of these mobile devices with powerful processors, music and creativity are on a whole new level.
There are tons of uses for a tablet as a musician and music producer.
You get to use a tablet from storing your sheet music to even producing music.
With the use of a tablet, you can create high-quality music, play live sets with the use of a MIDI or DJ controller.
No matter what the purpose is, I will show you some of the best tablets for musicians in this article.
Also, as a bonus, I added a useful buyer’s guide at the end of the article.
The guide will help you choose the right tablet based on your preferences and purpose, so make sure you keep on reading.
After going through many tablets, I'd say that the best one is the iPad Pro.
It has a powerful chip, a large screen, and a fast processor that can be used for almost any type of application, especially for music.
If you want something more portable, the Apple iPad Mini 7.9″, it is not as fast as the iPad Pro, but it still has its uses.
A more affordable option would be the Fire Tablet 7.
It is not as fast as the first two choices, but you can still use it for storing sheet music, listening to music, and a lot more.
The Benefits of Having a Tablet for Musicians
Having a tablet can make your life a lot easier – especially if all you have is a desktop PC or a heavy laptop.
The two mentioned may have a powerful CPU and plenty of RAM, but they surely lack portability and flexibility of a tablet.
Now, let's look at all the benefits a tablet can bring a musician:
Some tablets have enough power to use as a great music production tool that you can use on-the-go.
Of course, you will need to download a DAW for your tablet first.
Use a tablet to store all your music files, such as sheets and lyrics.
You can also use it to store your songs and any other songs you listen to.
As a musician, you can use a tablet for streaming songs on the internet.
You can use it for social media advertising for your band or you as an artist.
You can use a tablet for playing live music with a MIDI controller or DJ controller.
There are a lot of apps you can download that would work with a MIDI keyboard, so you can play songs with any synth or instrument sound you can download.
You can also download DJ apps that you can use with specific DJ controllers.
Since there are tons of music apps on the Google Play Store and the Apple Store, you download them and use them for creative purposes, and use the apps for learning new instruments as well.
There are so many more reasons, so make sure you explore.
The 7 Best Tablets for Musicians of 2020
In a rush? Here is a quick rundown for you:
Alright, now it's now time to get to the list!
iPad Pro 12.9″
First off on the list is Apple’s iPad Pro 12.9-inch.
This powerful device is one of Apple’s most powerful mobile devices.
It can do almost anything that a computer can, and it might make computers obsolete one day.
We all know that Apple has been making the best innovative devices, and this iPad is one of them.
The iPad Pro's look is unique, sleek, and simple, which is one of the things that make people drawn to Apple products.
For them, simplicity is everything. It is easy to use and easy to learn how to use it.
It is a sophisticated device that costs a lot, but it is somehow worth the price.
For a device this massive, it surprisingly weighs only 1.49 lbs.
This device is great for any music application such as recording music, using it as an instrument, and use it to power your MIDI devices.
It has a fast chip that hardly ever crashes, even with a lot of active apps.
The Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch is the best tablet out there for creatives as well as musicians.
- Huge Screen
- Bright Display
- Fast Processor
- Slim design
- Excellent Audio
- 10 hours of battery life
- May be too large
The Apple iPad Pro is indeed a unique device.
It does cost more than most tablets, but with all of its uses, it is worth the price.
If you decide to get one, make sure you take good care of it and get Apple Care.
If it is too large for your liking, you can always try the Apple iPad Mini.
iPad Mini 7.9″
The iPad Mini is one of Apple's more compact devices.
It does not share the same specs as the iPad Pro, but it is still an excellent device for musicians.
You can use it to take pictures of sheet music, take photos of gigs, and use it for streaming live on social media platforms.
Its processor is also powerful enough to handle apps for music-making and live shows.
If you buy certain accessories like the iRig PRO HD, you can use t to record instruments like guitar and vocals in high quality.
All Apple devices, including the iPhone and iPad all, have this similar look.
They all share the distinctive simple but elegant look. It is slim, lightweight, and easy to carry around.
The 7.9-inch screen is still big enough to do tasks you need to do related to music.
The battery life is decent and could last the whole day without charging.
With a tablet this small, you can carry it around quickly to any gig or event because it does not take a whole lot of space.
Although it might be a little too small for some people, others prefer portability.
- Good battery life
- Small and portable
- Can be used with a sim card
- Powerful processing
- Fast and responsive touch screen
- Slim design
- May be too small for some applications
- Expensive than other brands
If you prefer Apple products but find the iPad Pro to be too large, the Apple iPad Mini might be just the device for you.
You can use it for a lot of musical applications.
The chip is fast enough to handle most applications without failing, and it is just a great portable choice.
Amazon Fire Tablet 7
Now I know that most of us don't want to spend a thousand bucks for an iPad Pro, so if you don't need that many applications, you can stick to a more affordable option.
The Fire Tablet 7-inch is probably one of the most affordable tablets you can get.
It works great for streaming on social media, taking pictures, listening to music, and storing your music files all in one place.
If you don't need a mobile device for your MIDI controller and recording, you can settle with a more affordable option, such as the Fire Tablet.
The storage is decent, and you can choose between a 16GB and 32GB storage.
It is more than enough to store photos and download the apps that you need.
You can also extend the memory by adding a memory card.
The Fire Tablet comes in four different colorways.
It may be cheap, but it does not look cheap.
The design is simple, and the build quality is durable.
You can use it to learn music sheets, and it does come in a portable size the same as the iPad Mini.
It is very light as well and comes with a 90-day warranty.
- Very portable
- Affordable price
- Long battery life
- Can extend memory
- May be too slow for other musical applications
This super affordable and ultra-portable tablet is a good deal considering its specs.
Fire Tablet 7 is also one of the most durable tablets in the market.
With fewer specs, it tends to withstand daily use better than other competitors.
Galaxy Tab S6
If Apple can make a high-end tablet, Samsung can make one too.
Being Apple’s number one competitor over the years, they came up with the Galaxy Tab S6.
This tablet is an excellent option for almost any application.
It comes with an 8GB ram and a 256GB memory.
You can store tons of files, music, videos, and pictures all in one device.
This 2 in 1 device can be used as a tablet and as a PC Desktop.
By adding a Bluetooth keyboard with a trackpad, you can have the ultimate desktop experience.
With its speed, you can multitask and rapidly switch between apps at lightning speed.
This tablet might be lightweight, but it is heavy on entertainment.
You can use this tablet for any PC-caliber applications and more.
It has an impressive display and high-quality speakers for listening to music.
The all-new design is sleek and straightforward, it comes with the S pen that lets you quickly take notes and write songs whenever and wherever you are.
You can tell that the designers did not spare any details because every corner well-designed.
- The ultimate desktop experiences
- Includes S pen
- Great battery life
- Amazing display
- High-quality audio
- Excellent camera
- Latency with MIDI devices
If you prefer Android devices, the Galaxy Tab S6 is one of the best options for Android users.
It may be a little bit expensive, but if money is not an issue, this tablet is an excellent choice for musicians.
Apple iPad Air 2
The Apple iPad Air 2 has a larger screen than the iPad Mini, but it is still smaller than the iPad Pro.
As for the specs, it can still work the way most Apple devices can.
You can use it for powering MIDI devices and DJ controllers, use it for music production, storing your files, and many more.
The large screen makes it a little bit easier for you to multitask.
The smart controls and gestures allow you to navigate through the touchscreen quicker.
This device still stays true to the Apple design, which is sleek and straightforward.
Hey, if it's not broken, don't fix it, right?
You can also connect a smart keyboard to use the Apple iPad Air 2 as a PC for writing music or creating docs.
You can also use it with the Apple pencil for creating graphics and album art.
- Responsive touchscreen
- Widescreen for multitasking
- HD camera
- High-resolution display
- No external ports
- Storage cannot be expanded
The Apple iPad Air is another Apple option that will attract iPhone and iOS users.
If you are used to using Apple products, it is better to stick with it considering you have the budget.
Microsoft Surface Pro 6
Microsoft is known for making some of the best computers since it began, so it is not surprising that they have created a tablet as well.
To stay in the game with its main competitor Apple, Microsoft has created the Surface Pro 6.
This device is for artists and musicians that also happen to be tech-savvy.
If you want a tablet that is not common like the iPad or Galaxy Tab, the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 might be the tablet you are looking for.
This tablet gravitates more toward the specs of a great PC.
It is built with an Intel Core i5 processor with 8GB of RAM.
It is truly a fast and powerful device that can be used for most applications that a laptop can do.
The large 12.3-inch screen gives users a superb view of the bright quality display.
This device is ideal for reading, watching, videos, and looking at photos.
It may be large, but this tablet weighs less than 2 lbs.
- Large display
- Fast and responsive
- Superb battery life
- Excellent Audio
- Needs to be updated regularly
If you want the ultimate PC experience, why not get a PC in the form of a tablet.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 works and feels like a real Windows PC.
If you are a fan of Windows, this is the tablet for you.
Sony Xperia Z4
The Xperia Z4 is one of the most durable choices.
It can withstand any weather condition because of its extremely durable anti-splash and dust design.
IT has decent audio and superb 2k video resolution that is perfect for entertainment purposes.
You can use the Xperia Z4 for streaming music and streaming your live performances online.
You can also bring it to shows to use it as a cheat sheet for music pieces and lyrics or use it for capturing videos and photos.
Aside from musical applications, this Sony device is integrated with your PS4, so you can play your games using this device away from your console.
The Sony Xperia Z4 boasts a simple and minimalist design that is easy to carry.
It is lightweight, and as I said before, this device is extremely durable.
- Extremely durable
- Fast processor
- PS4 integration
- The battery can last up to 2 days
- Good screen size
- A little expensive
- Color is slightly dull
- Overheats sometimes
If you have the money, go for it!
It may not be as “hype” as an iPad, but this Sony tablet for musicians packs a powerful punch, trust me!
- Can you use a mobile phone or smartphone instead of a tablet for musical applications? Yes, you can definitely use a smartphone for the same applications. The screen may be a little smaller, but some smartphones have enough power to produce music. I personally had fun using an iPhone for mobile music production and use it as an instrument for live playing. Sometimes some apps are exclusively for iPads, but that is not always the case.
As for Android users, using the phone for musical purposes such as recording and live music playing would have a little latency. I'm not sure about higher-end Android phones, but with my experience, there is latency when I use them with a MIDI controller.
- How do you connect a MIDI controller to your iPad? The easiest way to connect a MIDI controller to an iPad is to purchase one with Bluetooth connectivity. However, you can still connect a wired MIDI controller to an iPad if you buy the Camera Connection Kit. This adapter converts the USB connection into a lighting male connection you can use to connect to your iPad or iPhone. In some cases, you will need a powered USB hub to supply enough power to the device you are attempting to connect to your mobile device.
How to Choose the Best Tablet
For Musical Applications?
When selecting the right tablet for your musical tasks, you will have to consider some factors depending on your needs.
Here are the factors to consider when choosing the right tablet:
Make sure the screen size is big enough for what you need.
However, a bigger screen means a bigger tablet. This factor will affect portability.
If you will be using the tablet for creating beats, it is better to have a bigger screen.
A larger screen is easier for more straightforward navigation, especially if you have big hands.
If you are using it as a host for MIDI controllers, then a much portable option would probably do the job.
The processor is another essential factor to consider.
Make sure that the tablet you select is fast enough to handle the apps and what you will use it for.
For music production and live gigs, it is better to pick something like the iPad Pro or iPad Mini.
These products are proven to handle data-heavy apps.
The build quality is also something you need to consider.
If you are using the tablet a lot, you need something sturdy enough to handle daily use and abuse, especially if you are a touring musician.
Well, since most tablets are built with a touchscreen, it might inevitably shatter or crack at one point.
Make sure you buy the necessary accessories like cases and screen protectors to make the tablet last longer.
If you are going to be carrying the tablet around a lot, you want something lightweight so that you won't strain your hands.
However, you can always buy a stand or something to place it on.
Size and Storage Size
Make sure you choose a tablet with the right size that you can fit in your backpack or your rig case, especially if you will be using it on the go.
Make sure you get the right-sized tablet that wouldn't affect your ability to use it.
iOS or Android? That is the question.
Some people prefer one over the other, and I can't say which one is better because that is kind of a sensitive matter.
I have always been an iOS guy all my life, but I have tried android tablets. Still, the iOS processor is so much better for data-heavy applications.
Buying an Apple iPad Pro is not cheap.
Make sure you have the budget to get the best tablet if you want something you can use for all-around purposes.
However, there are more budget-friendly options.
If you just need something for storage, music sheets, and listening to music, you can always go for a more affordable tablet.
It will do the job.
As musicians, we should take advantage of new technology as it can make our lives much more comfortable.
Instead of having tons of music books, you can conveniently store everything on a tablet.
You can quickly organize your files and more.
You can also use it for live gigs and a lot of other applications as well.
The best tablet for musicians depends on what you need.
For me, the iPad Pro is the best because of all the cool things I can do with it.
I hope you find the right one for you, and thanks for reading until the end!
Last update on 2020-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API