After spending years squinting at my smartphone screen, trying to read what chord comes next in Wonderwall while finding my laptop awkwardly bulky and outdated, I decided to dive into the technological marvel that is, the tablet. After a thorough search, I feel I’ve found the best tablet for musicians!
Why Choose A Tablet?
Tablets have been around for years now. Combining some of the performance perks of your laptop, with the user friendliness and portability of your smartphone. But, we’re not just interested in browsing Facebook or Netflix on a swanky slab of tech.
Tablets offer musicians a portable device that delivers on microphone quality, for those moments of inspiration. A great camera to show off those skills, a screen big enough to read sheet music (or tabs) from. Of course, we require the ability to record and edit demo’s of our latest symphonies wherever we are. All this as well as fitting snugly into an instrument case.
Since the release of the first generation iPad in 2010, tablets have become immensely popular. Partly due to how easy they are to use! No need to download heaps of applications and fumble about with settings.
They’re usually ready to go straight out of the box! As we have a specific use in mind for our ‘musical tablets’, there are applications we will need to download. Compared to having to buy extra hardware for a laptop, or having to delete a load of photos on our phones to free up enough storage space. This is hardly a burden.
SIDE NOTE: If you’re after a portable device to plug a whole bunch of recording studio tech into, then a laptop is about as portable as you’re going to get. Tablets are built for capturing spur of the moment ideas, browsing any form of media musicians need. Not for producing professional quality records!
Quick Glance: 5 Best Tablets For Musicians:
Apple, Android, Or Windows!?
The age old question that has been bugging us for… well, only a few years, but which is going to be more effective for musicians?
Apple is definitely made with musicians (and all creative types for that matter) in mind. An impressive library of high quality apps designed for any music enthusiast. From the bedroom guitarist to the professional studio musician. The ipad comes with an impressive microphone and camera quality, which all comes at a cost.
Android on the other hand offers a wider range of tablets with far more screen size and customization options. Let’s not forget being able to easily swap out batteries! Android tablets also have an impressive amount of apps specifically for musicians. The guts of these devices pack all the necessary punches to run them efficiently.
Windows tablets are essentially laptops, with more portability, running on Windows 10. This allows for seamless multitasking, with little to no performance issues. Apple binds you to one app store! With Windows tablets, you can download software just like you would on your laptop or computer, and many devices have USB ports built in.
10 Advantages Of Using A Tablet For Music
- Light and portable, just slip it in your guitar bag
- More affordable than a laptop
- More and more places have WiFi these days, so jump on
- Lots of apps support the needs of the musician
- Record your live gig and post it straight after on social media
- The perfect traveling musician’s friend. Read, write, call home, watch a movie
- Mix your bands tracks whilst on the move
- Record and listen back. Get the band to perfect that song in rehearsals before the show
- Write ideas and produce on the spot with sheet music apps
- Tablets are generally becoming as powerful and useful as your laptop. Endless possibilities
Getting The Best Out Of Your Tablet: 3 Essential Tips For Musicians
- Can you remember the days of writing down lyrics on paper? Or scribbling out the notes for your bass player? Well, not anymore. Apps now possess the power, discard all that time wasting looking for a pen and paper. Sheet music apps are now available, you can compose as you go, or simply email your rhythm guitarist the chord charts. Lyrics are just a ‘copy and paste’ away. I’ve seen live singers using the automatic scroll technique on a tablet to look at the lyrics coming up. Save trees, buy a tablet, get some apps.
- Make use of the recording functions on today’s apps. Multi tracking, mixing, using a synthesizer on a song (even though you don’t have a keyboard player). Use a metronome to quickly throw in a guitar solo. You can even use a 2k tweed fender amp tone from the 50s, simply by using an app amp modeler.
- As you know, to be the best you can be on your instrument, you need to rehearse every day. Quickly, stick on the song you’re learning via a music app, and study your parts. One push of a button and you’re on Youtube. You need to finish that Slash solo before Saturday’s show, let’s get that lesson up, (good luck with that btw!)
Best Tablet For Musicians: Review
Outrageously Inexpensive Android/Best Budget Tablet For Music
- Pros: Hugely Popular, Low Price, Suitably Adequate, Rugged (Child Proof), One Of The Cheapest On The Market, Old But Gold
- Cons: Spec Is Older
Now, you may look at the price of this and think…err what’s the catch? but wait. We are reviewing tablets that are suitable for musicians, at various budgets.
Although the specifications are old, if you’re working on a tight budget, then this is suitable for us musicians to get out of it what we need. You can access the app store and find your way to guitar chord apps. Jam along and learn your scales or access tons of complete beginner apps. If you’re looking to record live band footage for your website or take professional pics for your album cover, then this isn’t for you. The Fire 7 does the basics very well at a price which is unimaginable in today’s market.
Comes in 16GB and 32GB and four subtle colors. It’s built like a tank and is compact enough to be carried around and survive the bumps of a guitar case. We’re really impressed with the Fire 7. If you’re looking to catch those songwriting ideas and use various apps to assist playing, then the Fire 7 is a perfect match for you.
Here a really thorough video of the Fire 7
- Pros: Superb Budget Deal, Accessories Can Be Added, Most Frequent Updated Tablet, Large Screen, Major Player in the Tablet World
- Cons: 2GB Ram Pretty Low, Not Ideal For Multitasking
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A is a great alternative to the iPad (and cheaper). As its an android, you’ll be spoilt for choice for apps that are very helpful for music. The processing efficiency is rather good considering the price, easily good enough for what musicians will need it for.
The camera supports 5 Mpx front-facing and 8 Mpx rear. A Full HD resolution 1920×1200 pixel screen. 32GB storage may not be enough over time, maybe consider an SD card. The 2GB of ram is fine for what musicians require, not so good if you’re looking to multitask between 3 or so different apps. This is standard around these priced tablets.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A, can take on the competition around this price and hold its own. The Major plus points are the 10.1″ screen, the ability to access 100s of useful apps on Google Play, and of course, the very friendly price. I’ve had Samsung phones for the last 5 years. I love them. They just make so much more (common) sense than Apple.
Here’s an in depth video of the Samsung Galaxy Tab A
Fire HD 10 Tablet (32 GB, Black, With Special Offers) + Amazon Standing Case (Charcoal Black) + Nupro Screen Protector (2-pack) + 15W USB-C Charger
Best Mid Price Android
- Pros: Family Friendly, Robust, Value For Money, Faster Charging, Frequent Updates,
- Cons: 2GB Ram Pretty Low, Not Ideal For Multitasking
Another Fire Tablet i hear you say. Well, they are huge sellers at such good prices. They need to be considered for what we can do with our musical needs. With 10.1″ 1080p full HD display and 30% quicker due to the new 2.0 GHz octa-core processor update. This alone will see you through most activities. Slim design with built-in stand for hands-free viewing in landscape or portrait orientation, handy for reading chords or recording a video. Fast and smooth, image and sound quality updated from the older spec. Amazon updates are more frequent on the mid range tablets than any other brand (fact). This keeps the apps up to date and the system running to full potential. A large clear screen, dependable battery life, and practical design. This particular review is the tablet with accessories, i thought having a proper stand is essential for the musician. You can take the accessories off and it’s even cheaper. Without a doubt the best tablet for music in the mid-price range. A colossal seller for a reason!
Check out this clip to see what you’re getting with the Fire HD
- Pros: Wifi & Cellular Options, Touch ID Fingerprint Sensor, Adequate Starter Tablet for Cubasis Type Mixing Apps, Able To Multitask At Speed, Affordable, Stereo
- Cons: Slightly Older Model Accessories Won’t Work With It
The first Apple product on my list. As they sit on the more expensive side of tablets, i haven’t put many in. I think in today’s world, a musician needs a tablet simply for when they’re out and about or recording in your bedroom/studio. In this case, i wouldn’t suggest an all-conquering top of the range iPad. I personally don’t think you need to spend a fortune on an iPad, although a lot of the cost is down to the brand name.
This Apple ipad (128GB) on the contrary, is more suited to the songwriting/mixing/producing musician. If you’re looking to record an album for a management company etc, you wouldn’t do it on a tablet. If you’re looking to use the tablet for songwriting, mixing your ideas with a Cubasis type app, then you would definitely require an iPad like this. Superb facetime (cellular function required) and camera capabilities, if you’re away from home. It’s definitely a step up from the previous tablets but only as it covers more requirements. If you like the idea of adding the smart keyboard, i would definitely recommend it. It’s slick and really useful. A professional tool in all areas. If you have a higher starter budget, and you require a tablet for mixing music, then look no further than the iPad.
Get a better look at the iPad with this helpful video
High End Android/Best Samsung Tablet
- Pros: Brutally Efficient, HDR Resolution, Stand Is Far More Usable Than Ipad, Most Powerful Tab On The Market
- Cons: Keyboard On The Small Side
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 sits at the very top of the tablet league. Its efficient way to multitask is outstanding; Thanks to the speed of the fast mobile processor, rapidly switch between apps and tasks or immerse yourself in mixing your band’s music on some pretty high powered music apps. A 6GB of ram and 128GB internal memory makes this a tool that can easily store music videos, album pictures, and demo mixing.
The S6 is also available with 256GB/8GB of Ram, just in case you want to record the next 25 years of touring! I’ve added the keyboard version of the S6, as it’s handy if you’re going to be mixing down tracks. The keyboard is easily attached or detached. Click the link attached below to remove the keyboard off/change the color or add more internal memory etc etc.
All in all, this is the crème de la crème tablet. And in my opinion, is better than the Ipad Air. If you are looking for a tablet that can do everything, this is it.
Check this review out of the Samsung S6
I’ve based my decision on ‘the best value for money’ vs ‘the requirements of a musician’. Obviously, everybody’s situation is different, so i hope you can now choose the best tablet that suits your musical requirements and budget.
My clear winner for the Best Tablet For Musicians Is:
(32 GB, Black, With Special Offers) + Amazon Standing Case (Charcoal Black) + Nupro Screen Protector (2-pack) + 15W USB-C Charger
It’s not the most expensive, nor does it work as efficiently in all areas as the competition. Yet, it’s perfect for what a musician needs it for: YouTube, Chord Apps, Video Recording, Audio, Pictures, Performance, Storage, Mixing, Sheet Music Apps, and Songwriting. A major plus is the huge range of Google Play apps.
All at an affordable price.
Author: Jimmy Embleton-Smith