Back in the early days of consumer technology and the internet, senior citizens were the folks least fascinated with or capable of understanding the concept behind the connected technologies and new devices those crazy kids were inventing. They were happy with their TVs and telephones — and, if they were really living life on the edge, electronic word processors. Fast forward 30 years, and many of those youthful visionaries — Bill Gates, Tim Berners-Lee, the late Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Lynda Weinman, and many more — are senior citizens themselves. The 65-year-olds of today are the inventors of consumer tech we now feel lost without.
Tablets are ideal for older users because their larger, high-resolution touchscreens are easy to see and operate. Even before the current pandemic isolated many older people from friends and family, today’s older generation gravitated toward tablets to help them connect with loved ones and track news through social networks and online publications. New apps targeted to older age groups also stimulate cognitive awareness while making everything from movies to books easier to access and enjoy.
The best tablets for seniors have a lot of crossover with the best tablets for everyone and feature strong battery life, water resistance, solid high-resolution displays, great audio, and powerful specs. Both iOS and Android have technology built in to help older folks and to work with external devices like keyboards and styluses. Here are our picks for the best of the lot.
The fourth-gen Apple iPad Air is one of the best tablets available, and it’s a great tablet for older users. It features a gorgeous 10.9-inch Liquid Retina Display with True Tone color, and it’s powered by Apple’s latest A14 Bionic chip and Neural Engine. It has a serviceable 12-megapixel read camera and a 7MP FaceTime HD front camera for on-the-spot shooting. It also has secure Touch ID for authentication and Apple Pay. Wide stereo audio makes music listening, movie watching, and TV viewing a pleasure, and it lasts up to 10 hours on a single battery charge. Available accessories include Apple’s Magic Keyboard and a variety of third-party keyboards, plus the newest second-gun Apple Pencil and a variety of other styluses. A choice of colors includes silver, Space Gray, rose gold, green, and Sky Blue. Apple products are not cheap, but their quality is outstanding. Best of all, iPads tend to last a long time, with Apple’s support being particularly impressive.
The 2019 version of the 10.1-inch Amazon Fire HD tablet offers up a full HD 1080p display that sets the backdrop for anything older users are into. It comes with 32GB or 64GB of internal storage, and those who like to keep all their documents handy can do so with an additional 512GB microSD card. Whether it’s work, play, or chat, the Fire HD Tablet facilitates it for up to 12 hours at a 30% faster speed than previous versions of this popular tablet. The hands-free Alexa personal assistant is also on call. App favorites are available through Amazon’s Appstore alongside picture-in-picture viewing with certain apps. It comes at a very reasonable price to boot.
The Dragon Touch NotePad K10 Tablet is a budget item that features a wide 800 x 1280 IPS display with vivid colors and distinctive image quality, powered by a 64-bit quad-core processor that speeds along at up to 1.3GHz and should deliver an overall smooth user experience. It features Android 9.0 Pie, which is outdated, but it does have access to the Google Play Store, so the older operating system shouldn’t be an issue. The tablet’s Eye-Care mode automatically adjusts and optimizes the backlight for more comfortable reading at any time of the day or night. Dual speakers provide a rich audio experience for music, videos, chats, and games, and the 32GB of storage can be supplemented with up to 128GB via a microSD card.
The iPad Mini is an iPad — only smaller. The newest iPad Mini 5 from 2019 features a 7.9-inch Retina Display with True Tone, and it’s run by Apple’s A12 Bionic chip. The smaller, lighter iPad may be just the ticket for older users who may find the smaller device easier to handle and hold up for longer periods of time. Its 8MP back camera and 7MP FaceTime HD front camera and stereo speakers are great for keeping in contact with family and friends, and the Touch ID fingerprint sensor upholds all modern privacy standards. The battery is solid, too, and lasts for up to 10 hours per charge. The iPad Mini is expensive, but with proper care, it will last for many years.
With its slim, comfortable body and minimized bezel, the extremely affordable Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 makes viewing any content easy and enjoyable. An 8-inch display allows full immersion with movies, TV shows, or shopping experiences, while dual speakers deliver surround sound. Users can store their favorite songs, photos, or videos with the 32GB of built-in memory and expand storage by up to 512GB with a microSD card. The tablet’s lightweight design sports a metallic finish to make it easy to tote around the house or around town. Everything is accomplished for up to 13 hours on a single full charge.
The GrandPad is designed for the older senior set in that it seeks to simplify the operations necessary to connect the elderly with their loved ones. It features an intuitive interface with large buttons for video chatting. The tablet accompanies a comprehensive subscription service for $58 per month that includes the device, a protective case, charging cradle, and stylus. User preferences and contacts are preloaded in the tablet, so it’s immediately ready to use. The GrandPad tablet comes with senior-oriented apps for video chatting or easy calling. The subscription comes with a private family network so family members can update phone numbers, change options, and create new contacts for users from the companion app or web portal. Seniors can share photos and send voice emails, play games, and listen to music.
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