Don’t underestimate the seniors of today, they aren’t all complete technophobes! Many of the recently retired will have had experience with computers in their workplace over recent years.
A recent survey reported that 67 percent of adults in the US over the age of 65 regularly use the internet. Almost a third of the respondents use social media, with 70 percent of those checking it every day.
As tablet usage has increased among the senior population, so too, have the manufacturers’ efforts to cater for their needs. From larger-print characters to easier to use operating systems, there’s a whole host of features to help seniors stay connected.
Let’s take a look at what you should consider when choosing the best tablet for seniors.
What extra features might a senior or elderly user need? And finally, we’ll recommend our favorite five of the best tablets for seniors that you can buy today.
The Benefits of Tablets for Seniors
The most common uses of a computer for most senior citizens are:
- Sending or reading emails.
- Watching movies, TV shows or YouTube videos.
- Surfing the web.
- Staying in touch with family and friends on apps like Facebook.
- Reading books.
- Checking things out on Google.
In one study, 25 percent of the senior citizens who responded even admitted to playing online video games.
Tablets are ideal for all these things. My mother never puts hers down, although I’m not sure she’s participating in Call of Duty marathons—more likely it’s Candy Crush Saga.
A tablet is an ideal way for seniors to keep in touch with their loved ones. It can often be easier to buy a tablet with internet built in than have it fitted to your elderly relatives home. If they are in a residential home without Wi-Fi, a 4G connected tablet can be their link to the outside world.
Once hooked up to the internet, all those modern confusing trends can be Googled for clarification. Looking for an old recipe you once had, Google it! There are many “how to” videos available online for explaining unfamiliar tasks.
Seniors could even use their tablet to look up old friends from days gone by—they’re not going to be the only senior with a tablet. Facebook is a great place for finding old school friends or workmates. With built-in email, they can keep in touch with reacquainted friends as well as the family.
Photos and Memories
A tablet is ideal for those seniors who love to flick through and show their old photos. On a recent visit to my mother, my seven-year-old daughter tried swiping on the photos in her grandma’s photo album.
Most tablets now feature cameras, which they can take new photos with too. Memories are precious when you reach your twilight years, and taking photos of that ever-growing family when they visit is a great way of keeping up.
Tablets Instead of Books or TV
Books may have been a great love of an older person’s past, but failing eyesight can make it more difficult to read them. Tablets feature many accessibility options, like larger fonts or text-to-speech apps, which make it easier to enjoy reading again.
Another plus is that a tablet takes up a lot less space than a shelf full of books. Once a senior gets used to reading on the tablet’s display, it can open up a whole new world of literature to them.
A senior can also use their tablet, much like everybody else, for catching up with the latest TV series, or movies via Netflix or other streaming services. Next time you visit your elderly parent, why not treat them to a downloaded movie or box set—you could also give them a home movie of the grandkids to watch.
Tablets Tend to Be Easier to Use
The on-screen keyboards of smartphones can be difficult to type on, but tablets bridge that gap between a phone and a full computer. Large, on-screen keyboards are easy to use and a Bluetooth keyboard can be attached to most. Some tablets also come with a pen-like stylus for handwriting notes on the tablet.
The basics of learning to use a tablet are very easy for seniors. A usability study by the company Generations Online found 96.2 percent of seniors mastered a tablet in three to four sessions. 99 percent of those asked said that they would recommend a tablet to a friend.
Tablets can also be much easier to carry about as they are generally lighter and more compact than a computer. Many of today’s tablets are slim enough to fit in a handbag, or even in the side of a wheelchair.
What to Look for in The Best Tablet for Seniors
Three little words: a large display. One of the things which goes first as we get older is our eyesight. While smartphones often try to cram everything into a 5-inch screen, tablets offer greater readability with larger displays.
Another important consideration when choosing a tablet for seniors is how easy it is to hold. Tablets should be both lightweight and comfortable, with an anti-slip grip where possible. One option is to make sure you can buy a cover which is anti-slip and may also feature a stand for propping up the tablet on a table.
Finally, consider the operating system a tablet uses. Both Apple and Android have accessibility features to make a tablet more suitable for a senior. Apps like Oscar Senior (iOS & Android) provide enlarged text and bigger icons, for surfing the web, watching videos, getting the latest news and more.
Which is the Best Tablet for Seniors?
We have kept the reviews pretty short, focusing on the features seniors will find helpful on these tablets. None of the following tablets were specifically designed for seniors, but you can find more comprehensive reviews elsewhere on our website. Here are our five top tablets for seniors.
Best Overall Tablet for Seniors—Apple iPad 2018
Apple tablets are known for being easy to use, with little option for messing up the software. It’s not like the old-fashioned PCs, where you get conflict errors or confusing system directories you need to tweak. As Steve Jobs used to say, “It just works.”
A large, 9.7-inch HD display features one of the highest pixel counts for a clearer text and is easier on the eyes. The screen is bright with a color range which really stands out. You can adjust the settings for larger text or on-screen keyboards, and this latest model even features stylus support for easier input.
With the latest iOS, you get access to all the standard apps a senior could want, including Skype and Facetime for keeping in touch with the family. A wide choice of easy-to-use apps on the App store will keep your beloved elderly relative entertained for hours.
- Easy to read 9.7-inch display.
- Sleek design, lightweight, and comfortable to hold.
- Stylus support enabled.
- Decent cameras for taking photos or video calling.
- Long battery life.
- Intuitive and easy-to-use interface. Plenty of customization options for the elderly.
- More expensive than most entry-level tablets.
- Restricted to the movies you can play in the Apple ecosystem.
- Memory can’t be expanded if it fills up with photos or the like.
Best Budget Tablet for Seniors—Kindle Fire HD 8
If you’re not really looking at spending too much, the Amazon Fire HD 8 is an ideal budget purchase. It may not offer the power of the iPads or Samsung tablets of this world, but a senior can do almost anything they need on it.
For the visually impaired senior, VoiceView text to speech reads out what’s happening on the screen. Other features include one-tap screen magnification and larger fonts in the settings display. A high-contrast screen is easy to read, with much of the Amazon content coming with Closed Captions, which is great if hearing is impaired too.
Alongside all the Amazon content, seniors can enjoy apps like Skype, Facebook, and other popular apps. It even includes a front and rear facing camera for those video call moments. So much more than an e-reader, the Fire HD is a cheap tablet, with many options for seniors.
- HD 8-inch screen with many accessibility features. Even supports an optional Bluetooth braille reader.
- Built-in Alex support for voice control or syncing with any Echo devices. A friendly voice in the often lonely golden years.
- Extra long 12-hour battery life and expandable storage if it gets filled up.
- Plenty of digital content to explore with the Amazon store.
- Uses a proprietary version of Android with no access to the Google Play store.
- Some apps may not be supported.
Best Larger Display Tablet for Seniors—Samsung Tab A 10.1 Inch
If your senior relative wants a tablet but not an Apple device, the Samsung TAB A 10.1 is an affordable Android tablet. It even comes complete with an S Pen, which can make entering text easier, or just scribbling down a shopping list.
The Tab A 10.1 isn’t the latest Samsung device, but still offers a decent performance. Android may not be the easiest system to use as it needs plenty of launcher customization for a more intuitive interface. There are, however, many apps on the Google Play store designed especially for seniors’ ease of use.
The biggest selling point of this tablet is the larger, 10.1-inch Full HD touchscreen. This adds to the usability for seniors, with lively colors and a pinpoint sharpness to text and movies. Large stereo speakers are easy to hear and it also features Bluetooth for those who prefer headphones.
With two cameras, an octa-core processor and Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS, seniors could use this tablet for video chatting and any other social apps. The Samsung combines power with a portable form which is comfortable to carry yet large enough for easy use.
- The large 10.1-inch display is ideal for seniors or the visually impaired.
- Soft touch finish to the back of the case is more comfortable on the hand than hard metal.
- Slimmest and lightest 10-inch Android tablet.
- Front and rear facing camera, both HD.
- Excellent 13-hour battery life and memory can be expanded with MicroSD
- Bargain price including a stylus.
- The S Pen is pretty small and can be difficult for seniors with mobility issues to grip.
- The touchscreen is reported to be oversensitive which can cause confusion.
- Plenty of installed software, but can’t be removed from the screen.
- Android can be initially confusing to set up.
Best Android Tablet for Seniors—ASUS ZenPad 3S
If you’re a bigger fan of Android than Apple, you may be better getting your elderly relative a tablet with the OS you are familiar with. Or maybe they already own an Android phone and know the interface. This tablet from ASUS offers a powerful alternative to the iPad.
The 9.7-inch 2K display features ASUS TruVivid technology for a sharper visual experience, ideal for seniors. At nearly 400 nits, it’s brighter than most tablet screens. The tablet is also covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 3, for more damage-resistant protection.
With front and rear cameras better than those found on competing Android tablets, it’s the ideal tablet for family video calls. A fingerprint scanner adds a useful easy security to the tablet for those in shared home environments. With the powerful octa-core processor and Android 7.0 out of the box, seniors can enjoy all the apps they need.
- The 2K IPS display is easy to read even when magnified.
- USB-C port for connecting to other accessories or displays.
- Fingerprint scanner for security.
- Powerful Octa-core CPU speeds through apps, even mobile gaming.
- Expandable storage.
- High-quality cameras.
- Heavier than similar tablets, at nearly one pound.
- No stylus or native keyboard support.
- The touchscreen can be overly sensitive.
Best “Mini” Tablet for Seniors—Apple iPad Mini 2
Thanks to Apple’s constant upgrading of their range, you can now purchase an iPad Mini, refurbished by Apple, for a bargain price. It features the same functionality of the larger iPad, minus the stylus capability, with a not-so mini 7.9-inch screen.
As we said earlier, Apple iOS tends to be the easiest interface to use for seniors with little or no computer experience. Large colorful icons on the screen are easy to press for instant launching of many apps. The best feature is the 4G functionality which offers internet in those areas where you don’t enjoy a Wi-Fi signal.
- Compact size but still a reasonable 7.9-inch Retina display.
- High pixel density for easy-to-read text.
- 10 Hours of battery life.
- 32GB of RAM
- Intuitive UI with added accessibility features.
- Always on a 4G wireless connection.
- Siri, a voice-activated assistant, is installed as standard.
- Not as powerful as the newer iPads.
- Can’t video call and surf the web at the same time.
- Memory can’t be expanded.
- Digital content has to use Apple formats.
We may be starting to sound like an Apple fanboy, but our choice for the best tablet for seniors would have to be the Apple iPad from 2018. Experienced computer users and novices alike can use this tablet. There’s very little you can do to break the software.
Changing the size of the text is so easy, with just a simple visit to the settings panel. One touch magnification is ideal for browsing the internet, and everything just seems to look clearer on that Retina screen.
Apps like Oscar Senior can even allow an administrator family member to make video calls to the senior which are auto-answered.
Embracing new technology has never been easier or more useful for seniors. And if they want to play a bit of online Grand Theft Auto, why not?