Tablet recommendations?

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pompatus
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Tablet recommendations?

Post by pompatus »

I'm finally in a place where I can start looking into getting a tablet to keep music on, instead of carrying around sheet music and stand and the other stuff that comes along with it. The last time I checked, the iPad Pro was pretty much the main game in town, in terms of size, and apps, and page turn device compatibility. My eyesight is getting to the point that I'm not sure a normal or smaller sized tablet would really fit the bill.

-What tablets/models are you guys using out there in the real world?
-What page turners are you using?
-Do you have a dedicated tablet stand, rather than a music stand?
-Any need to look into cellular models, or go wifi only?
-What's a good number to budget for a giggable setup?
-Most importantly, is it worth it? If you have to spend it all over again, would you?

Thanks, guys! I really appreciate any opinions and insight you can share.
WilliamLang
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by WilliamLang »

hi there!

i use a smaller iPad, which i bought used for $300. I only use it for pdf reading
i use a $50 lekato bluetooth page turner from amazon
don't have a dedicated tablet stand - music stand works just fine
i went wi-fi only, as again i don't use it for other work
$500 would be my top budget, but i buy used/refurbished equipment to save money
it is super worth it for my touring life
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Burgerbob
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by Burgerbob »

I just bought a refurbished iPad pro (3rd gen). It was just under $500 I think. I'm pretty happy with it, I put my entire PDF collection on it and it's SO nice to have my whole practice regimen on one device I can put in my backpack. It was a huge chore getting them on the tablet, though....

Personally, without perfect eyes, the 12.9 size is as small as I would go reading normal music. You don't need a lot of space (I have nearly 15,000 pdfs and it takes up only a few gigs). Wifi is fine.

I don't like Apple products or the ecosystem, but it's by far the best choice for this use.
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BGuttman
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by BGuttman »

I can give you a couple to avoid:

1. Nook. Biggest problem was outdoors. Screen contrast wasn't good enough for normal daylight.
2. Thinkpad Tablet X220T. Very heavy. Short battery life. Screen is 12" x something less. Had some issues with using touchscreen to turn pages. Weight was the biggest problem of all, though.

I'd be looking for a lightweight machine with at least 3 hour battery life. Older machines generally don't cut it. For me a 14 or 15 inch long dimension would be ideal.
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Matt K
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by Matt K »

It boils down to whether you want to have Android, Windows, or iOS as your operating system OR if you have a preference for the app you run. I think forScore is still the best iOS app, but doesn't work on the other two operating systems. Mobile Sheets is what I used when Iw as on a Windows tablet. It works on both Android and Windows (including NON tablets), so you can manage your library on your desktop and sync it to the tablet (either Android or Windows) which I liked. I use an iPad now, so I have to update my library on the iPad which is a little annoying but ultimately I think the forScore app is the best app out there. I agree with Aiden; I would probably not be owing an iPad if it weren't for forScore. Still in the process of updating my library though. It is a real chore.

I haven't needed a page turner. forScore lets you look at "half pages" so you can turn the page anywhere after the first half of the page you are on and it displays the top half of the next page above the bottom half of the previous page. It's a little hard to describe but it makes page turns a breeze. If for some reason that isn't sufficient, youc an do a lot inside the app to chop pages up and whatnot so... just never been an issue for me.

I just use a music stand with mine.

I have cellular on mine; I think my plan costs $5 a month and gives me like 1G of data or something. Useful for very light browsing if I don't have wifi or if the bandleader forgets to send something out before rehearsal. Not required but quite nice.

I think its worth it personally, but I also have a smaller - regular sized - iPad that I use for other stuff too.
timothy42b
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by timothy42b »

When I got mine I owned a Kindle Fire 10 and used an iPad Pro 12.9 for work.

My vision was not good enough to read music on the Kindle 10 at the time, although I could use it for some practice material. But I really liked MobileSheets. The iPad 12.9 was perfect, sharp clear screen that fit my eyes. But it was pricey, about $1500. I didn't think I could get by with the smaller version.

So, I went with a 2in1 Chromebook that flips over like a tablet. I got the Acer 713 for about $500 because it had a 3:2 screen with good resolution. I run MobileSheets on it and have foot page turner.

If your eyes were even a little better than mine you could go with the smaller iPad. In fact, I saw one in Walmart this week on sale for $309 that tempted me; I have different glasses now and have solved some vision problems, I think I could have gone iPad and been happy. I do most of my practice on the Kindle and bring the Chromebook to rehearsals.

Note, cheap Chromebooks are out there and they will work, but a 3:2 screen ration is optimal and that is hard to find at any price.
hyperbolica
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by hyperbolica »

I got an off-brand android tablet. Advantages were that it was under $200 and about 14". The disadvantage is that the processor is slow. You don't really need the processor until you're browsing for files. I put a big SD card in it which probably slows it down even more, but it works for what I do with it , which is just practice at home.
Jimbbob
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by Jimbbob »

I just went through this exercise.
I'm late 50's, and was finally ready to move all of my music (both big band charts and practice materials) onto a digital platform. Tired of worrying about adequate lighting and windy conditions for our outdoor gigs.
I initially thought I could by with the latest ipad air, 11" model. This is slightly more expensive than the base (10.2") model. I found the 11" was barely usable, but not really comfortable for me. I upgraded to the 12.9 ipad pro size, and honestly will never go back to anything smaller. It is perfect for reading charts and all my other music.
Regarding cost, I think the sweet spot for me, (cost/capability) was the 3rd generation ipad pro 12.9". Used obviously, I was able to find one in like new condition for around $500 on FB marketplace. 64G is more than enough storage. Battery still great. (Battery life on Apple is really hard to beat).
That took care of the hardware. I went with an offbrand page turner, (Starfavor). Bluetooth, and it's worked just fine, it was about $100. And then, for software, you can't beat forScore for scanning and organizing your music.
Hope this helps.
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sacfxdx
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by sacfxdx »

No matter what you get remember to charge it before your gig/practice. Also have your paper music handy if possible for emergencies.

I use a iPad Pro 12.9 inch and an AirTurn pedal. Works great for me.
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pompatus
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by pompatus »

Have you guys experienced any issues with glare, either from stage lights or while playing outside?
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hwlentz
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by hwlentz »

I use a 12.9 iPad Pro. Never had glare problems inside, but I have outside in bright sun. Don’t remember if it was on this forum or elsewhere, but there was a thread discussing iPads that, after a while, would shut down outside when it was very hot in order to prevent overheating. Might have been in the Facebook forScore group.

Nevertheless, I’m very happy with mine. I use a flic button for pad turning. It mounts on the upper slide right below the mouthpiece. I like it better than the airturn I previously used. This guy makes the slide mount - button is purchased separately.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/864961735/ ... ch_click=1
pompatus
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by pompatus »

What cases, if any, are you guys using? Have a link for it?

At one point Otterbox was the main game in town, but they’re SO bulky.

I’ve got a lead on a 3rd gen iPad Pro for under $600, but a coworker also has a Surface Pro that I could probably pick up really cheap.
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Matt K
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by Matt K »

Otterbox defender + a tempered glass screen protector for my iPad. Still a heck of a lot lighter than a box of music!
timothy42b
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by timothy42b »

re storage: I have about 350 charts and a handful of exercise books on my Chromebook. Most of them came from Google Drive because that's the easiest for me, and my storage on Google Drive is up to 3.84 G. Clearly a 64 Gb memory will last me the rest of my life.
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Matt K
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by Matt K »

timothy42b wrote: Fri Apr 29, 2022 10:25 am re storage: I have about 350 charts and a handful of exercise books on my Chromebook. Most of them came from Google Drive because that's the easiest for me, and my storage on Google Drive is up to 3.84 G. Clearly a 64 Gb memory will last me the rest of my life.
What if you start getting Super Ultra HD 8k PDFs?? :lol:
timothy42b
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by timothy42b »

Matt K wrote: Fri Apr 29, 2022 10:56 am
timothy42b wrote: Fri Apr 29, 2022 10:25 am re storage: I have about 350 charts and a handful of exercise books on my Chromebook. Most of them came from Google Drive because that's the easiest for me, and my storage on Google Drive is up to 3.84 G. Clearly a 64 Gb memory will last me the rest of my life.
What if you start getting Super Ultra HD 8k PDFs?? :lol:
One of the reasons I went Chromebook instead of iPad is the storage. Chromebooks take microSD cards and storage is unlimited, whereas Apple storage is internal and costly. I didn't know at the time that I wouldn't need much.

Still, it's convenient to have everything on that microSD if the Chromebook dies.
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by LeoInFL »

I've been using a Microsoft Surface Pro X 2-in-1 for my music. I'm more comfortable with Windows than with Apple. I got mine used as a bundle for $850 (Pro X with 8GB & Win10, keyboard, slim pen). The display is crisp and the battery is supposed to last 13hrs (I haven't verified this). It's capable of accepting a SIM card, but I just use wifi for now.

It's protected by a rugged case and I have a dedicated tablet stand (lightweight but sturdy) that grips it from opposite corners.

I use MobileSheets to organize & annotate my music and it's been great. The "auto-crop" feature does a nice job eliminating blank areas along the perimeter, so basically you end up viewing a full-size image of the original sheet music even though the display area only measures 12.9".
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Kingfan
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by Kingfan »

The amateur community band I play in is suggesting we go digital, members buying our own private units. I don't have a spare $500 lying around, and my spare money is going to a used euphonium, not tech. In our case, I can't see the cost/benefit ratio being in our favor.
I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are still missing! :D
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Geordie
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by Geordie »

Made the move a few months ago:
Refurbished one year old iPad Pro 12.9 inch. Wifi only.
AirTurn duo pedal.
König & Meyer K&M 19790 Tablet Holder on a mic stand for soul band gigs Alternatively rest tablet on traditional big band stand for that stuff.
Storage on device and back up to the cloud.
Forscore for scanning and pdf handling. For practice the built in metronome is convenient. Being able to link charts to backing tracks with an automatic page turn all on the same device makes practice run smooth too.
Forscore is worth the effort to learn, support material is available on line and there is a helpful Facebook group in which Walter Barrett is a great help.
Well worth making the change.
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elmsandr
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by elmsandr »

Kingfan wrote: Mon May 02, 2022 10:47 am The amateur community band I play in is suggesting we go digital, members buying our own private units. I don't have a spare $500 lying around, and my spare money is going to a used euphonium, not tech. In our case, I can't see the cost/benefit ratio being in our favor.
Define "our".

For my local community group, they went to having all our charts available digitally. Advantage there for the group; we don't care if you lose your particular part and we do not collect or re-file music at any time. Scan the pieces in as they are scheduled, eventually everything we actually use will be readily available. Print music at home if you want, bring it on a tablet if you want. I tried a little on a smaller iPad, but it is just too small, need the larger screen before I make a switch.

Cheers,
Andy
timothy42b
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by timothy42b »

elmsandr wrote: Tue May 03, 2022 7:33 am
Kingfan wrote: Mon May 02, 2022 10:47 am The amateur community band I play in is suggesting we go digital, members buying our own private units. I don't have a spare $500 lying around, and my spare money is going to a used euphonium, not tech. In our case, I can't see the cost/benefit ratio being in our favor.
Define "our".

For my local community group, they went to having all our charts available digitally. Advantage there for the group; we don't care if you lose your particular part and we do not collect or re-file music at any time.

Cheers,
Andy
Another advantage: Last night at rehearsal the entire band found their piece quickly and were ready to start, but we waited for one trumpet player to fumble through his folder multiple times before finding it.

A disadvantage: Creating digital charts of music you own is a clear and incontrovertible copyright violation. (Exceptions of course for public domain, or with permission. But NOT the educational exception, this doesn't meet any of the requirements.)

I think this is a case where the technology has leapt ahead of legal considerations. You do not have permission to reproduce copyrighted material, and scanning is reproduction. Whether anyone will care to enforce it on a community band remains to be seen, but a paid performing group has considerable liability.
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Kingfan
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by Kingfan »

elmsandr wrote: Tue May 03, 2022 7:33 am
Kingfan wrote: Mon May 02, 2022 10:47 am The amateur community band I play in is suggesting we go digital, members buying our own private units. I don't have a spare $500 lying around, and my spare money is going to a used euphonium, not tech. In our case, I can't see the cost/benefit ratio being in our favor.
Define "our".

For my local community group, they went to having all our charts available digitally. Advantage there for the group; we don't care if you lose your particular part and we do not collect or re-file music at any time. Scan the pieces in as they are scheduled, eventually everything we actually use will be readily available. Print music at home if you want, bring it on a tablet if you want. I tried a little on a smaller iPad, but it is just too small, need the larger screen before I make a switch.

Cheers,
Andy
They will be sending out parts digitally in the future. That I have no problem with. I can print off as many copies as I want for personal use. Saves time at rehearsals passing out and collecting parts. To be told to skip hard copies and buy a pad at my own expense - THAT I have a problem with.
I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are still missing! :D
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Geordie
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by Geordie »

I should have said in my earlier response about using an iPad Pro that I use a generic stylus with it. Works like a pen but with colour and thickness options. Easy to delete any marking. The Apple stylus is expensive and the price doesn’t justify the brand name and some functionality I don’t need.
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Burgerbob
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by Burgerbob »

I've been using mine for a couple weeks and I have some initial thoughts.

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muschem
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by muschem »

I use an iPad Pro with the M1 chip, and for the most part, I love it and have no plan to go back to hard copies. There are some challenges, as Burgerbob mentions in the video, but for me, the positives far outweigh the negatives.

Getting files onto the device is not as user-friendly as it could be. For me, it isn't horrible, but I probably have a somewhat different tech setup than many. My home network includes a large network-attached storage (NAS) box, which is supported on the iPad with an app. For me, this simplifies file transfer, because I can just open my NAS app on the iPad, browse to any file/folder, and send a copy of it to be stored locally. I don't have to use iTunes or other 3rd party software to make the transfer, which is nice. I have run into some limits doing this - I'm not able to queue up a very large number of files all at once, but that's ok for me, because I tend to edit the metadata and organize as I go.

Organization and cataloguing files is just a pain on forScore, and I wish it were better. To be fair, the system forScore uses for tagging, labeling, and other metadata is very robust, and once you have files onboarded and organized, it is extremely convenient to find things, build set lists, etc. BUT... that initial cataloging process is a huge pain and very time consuming. Is it any worse than organizing a physical music library? No, I don't believe so. Imagine being handed 15,000 sheets of music and needing to transfer and organize that in a new physical location. That is not an enviable task, nor one to be completed quickly. True, this is an unfair comparison, and other digital systems allow for retention of existing file/folder structures with much less headache. I have a much smaller library than many here, and I've chipped away at organizing it within forScore in small chunks. Once it is done, it is great.

I haven't run into some of the other issues mentioned. The facial recognition on the later generation iPads is very good, and I get consistent unlocks without needing a pin. I haven't seen forScore delay for any notable stretch on any of the files I've used, but I don't have very large PDFs... it could be a file size thing, or it could be some other bottleneck there.

I've seen a lot of iPad users sit it on a standard music stand shelf, and that seems to work ok. I use the Woodwind Design carbon fiber tablet stand, and it is fantastic for travel. Super light and compresses to a nice small size - fits in my Protec mute bag.
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by jbeatenbough »

I started with a chromebook and mobilesheets. The chromebook was great, but was too heavy for my peak stand (it made me nervous), but was fine on a standard manhasset stand. Then I switched to a surface pro 3 (bought off here for about $300). I first tried unix, but mobilesheets was not very solid in the android simulator, so I switched to windows 10. I love it - very solid. I use it for 5 different groups and the convenience makes it all worth while. I've used several different pedals - all are just "ok". Currently I'm using a AirTurn BT500S-2 Controller. I use the airturn tablet holder, but I'm not thrilled with it... the tilt lock doesn't work well with the weight of the surface pro.

I keep a 45w backup battery in my mute bag, but rarely do I need it.

Would I do it again? ABSOLUTELY I WOULD!!!

Keep us updated on your progress!
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Davetall
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by Davetall »

I’ve been using a first generation iPad Pro 12.9” and Apple Pencil for all of my performing for 4+ years. I use forScore. I have an AirTurn pedal I used until last year when I got a Flic button with Emren’s flicgrip. The ‘ancient’ iPad is plenty powerful for this use case.

I have used Windows forever so I don’t have a Mac and I don’t need one for my forScore usage. I have scanned in music using Tiny Scanner on my iPhone with good results. Our symphony office has a giant copier/scanner. I have been using that to scan my music; the scan quality is a bit better and it’s much easier to get a straight/not crooked scan than with the phone. However the phone scan quality is more than adequate. I purchased a sandisk memory stick with USB on one side and lightning connector on the other. I plug the usb side into the copier and save all of the scans to it. I can then plug the lightning side into the iPad and skip the step of uploading to Dropbox and downloading to the iPad. I can easily load emailed music to forScore.

I carry a charger with me in the case I carry the iPad in. I put the iPad directly on my music stand without a case. I have not used it for an outdoor-in-the-sun gig but as noted in previous comments I have heard there are issues with glare and overheating. When on stage I typically have the brightness at maximum and have no problem with glare or visibility. In the pit the brightness is quite a bit lower since it’s dark in the pit. I don’t use a music stand light and ask the crew to not put one on my stand (or I remove it if they forget).

The forScore feature of duplicating pages, erasing, and cut-n-paste are excellent for ‘fixing’ page turns. Also duplicating DC/DS sections so only forward page turns are needed is nice.

As my eyes aren’t getting any better I mostly use the iPad in landscape rather than portrait mode. This shows a half page at a time with significantly larger print. The trade off is more frequent page turns but this has not been an issue for me.

I turn off WiFi and put the iPad in ‘silent mode’ for rehearsals and use a setting which prevents it from dimming or turning off the screen.

I probably spend a bit more time overall scanning, marking, and arranging my parts than I would with paper music but I’m very happy with the results.
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by timothy42b »

I have changed directions and hope it works.

I've been using a huge Chromebook but not real happy with the clunkiness, the folding and unfolding and keyboard being out underneath. I thought I needed that 13+ inch size, but I've made some changes in glasses and should be okay with a smaller screen, I hope.

Someone in several groups with me with does okay with a 10.2 size iPad which is hugely more convenient to tote and keep on stands. They were on sale for less than $300 on prime day, and I ordered one, had second thoughts, and cancelled and got the Samsung Tab S lite for a bit less. It comes tomorrow.

Androids are a little more user friendly than iPads, and BurgerBob pointed out some of the friction. But also I like MobileSheets, and tablets can expand storage, connect peripherals, etc. a little easier than IOS. I have about 1200 files on the chromebook, and they'll transfer with a click.
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Re: Tablet recommendations?

Post by Floridatrombonekenneth »

I use an Ipad Pro I am a big fan of, but mostly I am just a fan of the following site that specializes in refurbished tech. I've used it to buy a Macbook and the Ipad PRo. Hopefuly this helps:

https://www.backmarket.com/en-us
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