Best tablet for sheet music in 2022

03.01.2022 Ben Maloney Music tech

You’ve done it. You’ve made the leap and committed to buying a tablet. With it, you’ll haul yourself into the world of contemporary music-making. 

The title says it all – it’s 2022. Digital has brought an end to the era of clutter. Loose pages of sheet music and guitar tabs strewn about the floor is a messy scene of the past. 

In its place is a sleek tablet, which contains all your music material in one tidy virtual space that sits conveniently alongside all the other digital resources you use every day. 

This vision would be reality, if you could only settle on a device. That’s where this guide comes in. Presenting: the newest and best tablets for interacting with digital sheet music. You’ll know which one’s right for you in no time at all.
 

Best sheet music tablets for musicians
 

These are the tablets that are under the microscope today, among the best available. If you’re looking to purchase a tablet to use the best sheet music apps with, then every one of these will do the job very, very well. They’re fast, powerful, responsive and they all boast large high-resolution screens. 

But it’ll be the subtler differences between them that will persuade you to choose which. Is it the budget you’re worried about? Or perhaps storage space for all your music apps? Don’t worry – it’s all covered in this summary. Specs and all.

If you’re not yet sure how digital sheet music works, then perhaps it’s best to give that article a read before deciding which tablet will best suit your needs.

iPad Pro 12.9

Best tablet for performance

  • Screen size: 12.9 inch
  • Resolution: 2048 x 2732
  • Storage: 64GB–1TB
  • Weight: 632g

Sorry if you’re more of an Android person, but the iPad Pro benefits Apple’s solid and unrivalled reputation for quality of product. You know what you’re getting – it’s totally reliable, lightning-fast and user-friendly. 

But it's not all about colour and cameras. On the music-specific side of things, a huge screen and impressive processing power makes for the clearest and smoothest score-reading experience. 

Being able to hook up the Apple Pencil is a massive bonus, too. If you’re using your sheet music through the nkoda app, you'll see that using annotation tools with a stylus truly becomes a next-level experience. 

Its ultra-low latency makes for such seamless and dependable functioning that you can completely count on it to perform when you yourself are performing. The one major downside is its hefty price tag, but such a great piece of tech is definitely worth it.

Surface Pro 6

Best tablet for power

  • Screen size: 12.3 inch
  • Resolution: 1824 x 2736
  • Storage: 128GB–1TB
  • Weight: 768–784g

Giving more or less full computer functionality, the Microsoft Surface Pro’s Intel Core processor (included in each version, varying in power), and impressive RAM ensures that this tablet will run any and every music app that you want to use effortlessly. 

The screen’s smaller than the iPad’s, but it’s still more than adequate when reading even the most dense orchestral scores. The Surface Pen, the cousin of the Apple Pencil, will also level up your score-annotating. Storage also leaves GB in the dust by hitting the 1TB mark.

Although it’s a little heavier than the iPad Pro and offers a slightly less crisp resolution, the Surface Pro will no doubt completely serve your digital sheet music needs just as well. Its attachable keyboard effectively turns it into a laptop, so it’s good for more than just music. 

iPad Air

Best tablet for value

  • Screen size: 10.5 inch
  • Resolution: 1668 x 2224
  • Storage: 64–256GB
  • Weight: 456g

If the iPad Pro is perfect for you in every way but price, there’s always the Apple iPad Air. It might be less of a beast than its more expensive sibling, but as far as your sheet music needs are concerned, it still does the job exceptionally well. 

Although for that drop in price you lose power and size, the Air is still fast and large enough to be a flawless score-reader. Moreover, a smaller tablet equates to a lighter unit, and like the Pro it’s also compatible with not only the Apple Pencil (1st Gen) but also a Smart Keyboard.

It still isn’t the cheapest option on this list, but it’s arguably the best balance of expense and reward, affordability and quality. 

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

Best tablet for portability

  • Screen size: 10.5 inch
  • Resolution: 1600 x 2560
  • Storage: 128–256GB
  • Weight: 420g

The Galaxy is another excellent option that stands out for its lightweight design and unmatched portability. If you’re travelling or performing with sheet music then this is definitely one to consider seriously.

It’s perhaps the best of the Android tablets out there, so if you back that horse in the OS wars, this is one of its finest weapons. It’s also bestowed with impressive processing capability and a lot of RAM, so it can stand toe-to-toe with iPads for speed. You can also hook up the S Pen and an attachable keyboard. 

A long battery life is another asset worth mentioning, but one drawback is its lack of a headphone jack, so if you’re one to read your sheet music while listening, then you’ll need to resort to Bluetooth. This small caveat aside, the Galaxy Tab S6 offers as good as the complete package on an Android operating system.

Lenovo Tab M8 

Best tablet for budget

  • Screen size: 8 inch
  • Resolution: 1280 x 800
  • Storage: 32GB
  • Weight: 305g

Together, the above devices constitute the best that the tablet market has to offer, which means they don’t come cheap. Given that, it would be wrong not to include a more affordable option on this list. The Lenovo Tab M8 is that alternative.

Reflecting the drop in price, the M8 is smaller, its processor is less powerful, and its smaller screen won't render PDFs quite as sharply. However, at barely more than 300 grams, it’s by far the lightest of the bunch. That’s one low statistic that will suit musicians who are regularly on the move very well.

If portability isn’t paramount and is worth sacrificing to read your sheet music more clearly on a bigger screen, then it might be worth opting for Lenovo’s M10 instead, which isn’t that much more expensive. 

Best sheet music tablet: Our verdict


It’s clear that the Apple iPad Pro - and the standard of the sheet-music experience it offers - took pride of place in this survey. It might seem an obvious choice, but there’s good reason for that. Of all the tablets that populate a dense market, the iPad simply offers the best of everything. 

It is the all-rounder. It’s the device that supplies the very best of the technology that inspired your commitment to leaving paper behind and embracing digital sheet music. 

Its technological prowess is precisely why it is also something of a financial investment. But as this survey aimed to show, if price is an issue for you, there’s a range of alternatives, each of which will still allow you to interact with your digital music in a radically new way.

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