Tablets are great for using multimedia and staying in touch with loved ones. 2020 is almost here so today we will look at the best tablet for seniors!
Tablet computers became very popular around a decade ago when the first iPads hit the market with a force. Suddenly your personal computer was this slim device that you could take anywhere with you.
Unlike laptops or tabletop computers, tablet computers are designed to be instantly ready for use, which improves the user experience significantly as one of the most annoying things about using computers in the past was waiting for it to start and load programs.
Tablet computers managed to avoid all this by using operating systems that were designed to be always ready to use. The device simply goes to hibernation when you close the screen.
This was possible due to improvements in processor and memory technology. For the first time in history, it was possible to have sufficient calculating power and memory for running things like web browsing, music, and video without the need for a bulky power source or heat sinks.
This, of course, meant that tablet computers weren’t originally designed for resource-heavy use like playing modern computer games or doing professional image or video editing.
This didn’t really matter as Apple and other tablet computer manufacturers realized that the vast majority of personal computer users didn’t need that kind of processing power.
Instead, the average user appreciated fast and simple user experience and seamless integration to other wireless devices.
The vast majority of people use computers for browsing the internet, watching YouTube videos, using online services and communicating through social media and email. Most people also have little patience or interest in long loading times and complicated software.
The most revolutionary part about tablet computers was, however, the user interface. Instead of a separate screen and keyboard and a mouse, tablet computers use high-resolution touch screens.
For most people using a touchscreen is much more intuitive than using a keyboard and a mouse. You simply touch the screen to interact with the operating system which gives a much more direct user experience.
The downside to this is that you can’t really type as fast or perform some high-precision interactions on a tablet computer as you could with a keyboard and a mouse.
But for the typical user, this is no problem as you don’t need to type fast or need high precision while browsing the internet or using media.
Because tablet computers are designed to have as simple and straightforward user experience from the ground up, they are perfect for seniors and the elderly that aren’t tech-savvy and don’t want to spend a lot of time using a computer.
Best iPad for Seniors
Apple’s iPads are the industry standard for tablet computers. And for a good reason. They were the first tablet computer devices that offered serious performance, high-resolution touch screens, and a good battery life.
The first iPads hit the market in 2010 and they were a huge success especially among Apple users. They were fully integrated into the Apple product family. This meant that if you had a desktop or laptop Mac and an iPhone, you could share all data between the devices.
The iPad was true to Steve Jobs’s original vision of building a computer that you could carry with you anywhere you go, that you could learn to use in 20 minutes and the computer would be connected to outside networks and data sources.
The current Apple iPads use the iOS operating system and just like the previous models they are fully integrated into the Apple family.
There are currently several models of the iPad on the market, including furbished older models. My recommendation as the best iPad for seniors is the latest model of the regular iPad.
I don’t recommend getting refurbished older versions as Apple is notorious for stopping support for older models after a few years of discontinuation.
Also, the pricier Air and Pro models are not necessary for the average user. The Air model is super thin and lightweight but since the regular iPad weighs only 1.09 lbs I don’t think there is point paying extra for a slimmer design.
The Pro models offer superior hardware and performance as well as state of the art camera. Both the performance and camera on the regular iPad are more than capable of handling your typical tablet computer use.
The pro model is meant for professional use just like the name suggests, so there is no point in paying extra for it if you don’t need a device of that caliber.
The latest regular iPad is the 7th generation model. It features an exceptionally bright and sharp 10.2-inch Retina display, making it also probably the best tablet for visually impaired.
The 7th gen iPad features a 10 hour battery time, 8Mp back camera, 2Mp front camera, stereo speakers and full connectivity to other Apple products with the latest iPadOS 13 operating system.
IPads are definitely the easiest tablet computer to use out of the box if you have no previous experience with tablet computers.
So if you are looking for a hassle-free experience and have the cash to spare, the iPad is definitely the way to go!
Best Android Tablet for Seniors
If you can’t afford an iPad or simply don’t like Apple products an Android tablet is a great option. Android is not a manufacturer but an operating system created by Google.
Android is used by thousands of manufacturers in devices ranging from tablet computers to smartphones and smart TVs. It’s very similar to the Apple iPadOS in appearance and it’s very simple to use.
Everything in the Android operating system is designed to be as intuitive as possible so that you, the user can focus on simply doing what you want on the device.
That said, most manufacturers modify the core Android operating system so each manufacturer will have a slightly different looking operating system.
This can be annoying if you are changing from a device to another and all your favorite features are not where you expect them to be.
That said Android is usually highly customizable and the difference usually isn’t that big. You will find what you need with a bit of searching and will get used to a new device in a day or two.
Android tablets range from $30 Chinese models to $ 1000 professional devices. For the average user, it best to steer away from either end of the price range.
The decent models begin at around $100, you should definitely avoid cheaper device than that because they will usually use very old hardware with bad performance. Worst of all they will often have no technical support what so ever so they won’t even receive important security updates.
Instead, you should get a model from an established manufacturer like Samsung, Google or Sony for example. I recommend getting a model with a 10″ display as these will be easier to read for seniors and usually offer better battery life due to the increased room for a larger battery.
I’ve always had good experiences with Samsung Android devices, so my recommendation for an Android tablet would be the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1″ model.
Samsung is probably the largest Android device manufacturer and they have been on the market from the beginning, so these devices have all the early bugs resolved.
The Galaxy Tab A features a minimal bezel design, lightweight metal frame, great speakers with Dolby Surround sound, large battery and a large internal storage that allows you easily to store all your pictures and media.
Android devices are definitely a great affordable option if you are not a devoted Apple user. You can accomplish pretty much all the same things with the Galaxy Tab that you can on an iPad.
On average the iPad is more stable, slightly faster and much easier to use with other Apple devices. All in all the difference for the average user are minuscule and if you just need a decent tablet computer the Galaxy Tab A is a great option!
Best Windows Tablet for Seniors
My third recommendation is a Windows-based Tablet. Windows 10 is designed to work on devices ranging from smartphones to tabletop computers.
Unlike iPads or Android devices, a Windows tablet can be used just like a regular computer. If you are used to operating on a Windows computer and have for example a Windows-based laptop (Check out my recommendation for the best laptop for seniors!) a Windows tablet could be the perfect match for you.
Just like with Android devices, there are thousands of Windows tablets on the market ranging from the cheap OEM models to the high-performance Microsoft Surface tablets.
A high-performance Windows tablet can be combined with a keyboard to form a super compact laptop that can be used for many kinds of professional work.
The typical Windows tablet for home use will have similar performance to the iPads and Android devices. This will typically allow multimedia use, web browsing and communicating but for power users, you will need a higher spec model.
My recommendation for a Windows tablet is the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10″.
It is a 10″ multimode tablet. At first sight, you might think that the side-handle/stand would make using the Yoga Tablet more awkward than your typical flat tablet.
This is not the case, however. It’s actually great for both holding the tablet and for setting it on a table while watching video or listening to music for example. The handle also houses the tablets’ large battery that offers exceptional 18 hours continuous use time when fully charged.
Lenovo is a well-established manufacturer so the device will have tech support and updates. Besides the large battery, the device features a very sharp 10.1″ HD IPS display, enough performance for casual gaming, good speakers and a 180 degree rotatable 8 MP camera.
So if you are comfortable with Windows devices and want something familiar, the Yoga Pad is a great option!
Why Tablets Are Great for Seniors
The number one reason why tablets are great for seniors is the ease of use. Tablets are designed to be very intuitive with their touchscreen control and compact design.
It takes several days of practice just learn how to use a mouse if you have never used a computer before. You can literally learn to use a tablet computer in 20 minutes because it uses direct contact. You already know how to point with your finger.
Tablets don’t usually require complicated software installs or waiting for the operating system to load up or anything like that. This kind of stuff is what makes people afraid of computers.
These days tablets have high enough performance to handle pretty much anything else but intensive data processing, gaming or extensive writing.
If you are simply going to browse the internet, watch movies, use social media and maybe do video calls with your loved ones, a tablet can handle all that with the fraction of a cost of a “real” computer.
If you are wondering if you should get a tablet computer or a laptop or a desktop computer, you need to consider your main use.
If you plan on writing a lot I suggest you get something with a keyboard. Also if you are interested in modern computer games, you should get something with higher performance than a tablet.
You can play games with tablets but they are simpler and not as visually demanding as regular computer games.
What to look for in a tablet for seniors
The most important things to look for in a table for seniors are as follows:
Let’s face it, most seniors are not very tech-savvy. And even if you are, you probably don’t enjoy fighting with error messages and technical issues with your devices.
That’s why the most important thing is to get a tablet computer from an established manufacturer with good support. It’s also important to choose a model that is well known and reviewed so you can expect it to function properly.
Many cheap models you can find in hardware stores might work just fine for a month or two but in case of problems, you are on your own.
A crashing and slow tablet computer is a useless tablet computer so please invest in quality. All the models I presented in this article are well-known models from manufacturers with a good reputation.
As you age, both your eyesight and hand coordination tend to deteriorate. That’s just the way it is. A larger screen will help with both of these.
A larger screen is easier to read as you can scale the resolution and have objects appear larger on the screen. A larger screen will also be easier to control by touch due to this same reason.
Finally, the battery life of a tablet computer is very important for the user experience. Most people won’t remember to put the tablet on a charger every night so it’s convenient if the battery lasts for several days with typical use.
I hope you found this simple buyers’ guide about tablet computers or seniors useful and found a tablet that’s a good match for you.
If you have any questions about the tablets or the differences between the operating systems, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments section. I’ll do my best to answer your questions as soon as possible.
Tablets are definitely a great option for seniors looking for a personal computer for regular home use. There is no need to pay for more expensive computers.
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See you next time.