Are there better tablets for elderly than iPad?
Is it really all about the iPad, or are there better choices?
Technology and its tools are part of everyday life and there’s no age limit to using them. There are of course better choices for those who joined the Internet age later; iPads have revolutionised mobile computing and made it incredibly accessible. Children are learning to use an iPad before they are even learning to form words. But for those not born into it, technology can seem intimidating and difficult to get to grips with.
Long heralded as a game changer, the iPad has evened out the playing field and allowed a wide age group access to the Internet at the touch of a finger. The iPad works incredibly well, it’s seamlessly integrated and, like the iPod defined the mp3 player, the iPad defined the tablet computer.
But for those a little older it is worth considering if there is a better tablet than the iPad. Let’s look at some of the other options available.
Choosing a Tablet Computer
Technology is a very competitive area and with each new innovation there comes numerous options. It’s easy to think of the iPad when considering buying a tablet computer due to its incredible popularity, but there are plenty of other options available.
What Do You Want?
Firstly consider why you’re wanting to buy a tablet – what do you want to gain? For many older users, it’s a desire to keep in touch with friends and family on a simple device that doesn’t require a lot of learning. In fact, it’s likely that a tablet works well for older users as they don’t see it like a traditional computer. The new, smaller, tablet PC seems less intimidating and more accessible, with its easy to navigate screen and its clear list of apps.
Is Your Tablet Future Proof?
This is an important consideration when picking any new technology. It might be new and innovative now but will it last for long? For elderly users it may be worth considering if the tablet will still be light and portable enough in the future. A slim tablet computer that can be easily transported and would best serve users suffering from arthritis or simply becoming frailer.
Remember that tablet computers can be used to connect elderly users to important services such as health care organisations.
World Wide Web, HomeTouch
HomeTouch is a piece of software that can be installed on a tablet computer and is designed to allow health care professionals and family members to take better care of their elderly relatives. HomeTouch has a focus on simple web applications, such as messaging, photo-sharing and calendars and there are other services that can be added when needed. These other services include medication reminders, nurse call, and an option to call a doctor for medical advice.
Which Tablet is Best for You?
So we’ve considered some of the things that make a tablet computer more accessible to the elderly, but we have yet to consider tablet computers themselves.
Let’s have a look and see if there is one tablet that suits the elderly best.
Apple iPad Air
The iPad Air has all the standard features along with some great new additions. The retina screen helps make tablet use much easier on the eye and offers fantastic resolution and crisp, clear images – ideal for older eyes. This iPad comes with 16GB of flash memory, meaning that users have space to install new apps, keep a photo library, and add some music and films to their device.
The iPad Retina comes with a 9.4-inch screen that might make it a better product than the mini for elderly users. The Air is so called because it’s light too, and weighing in at just 4.69g, it’s usable with one hand without causing too much strain.
All of these features do come at a price however.
The Kindle Fire is Amazon’s offering to the tablet market. It’s a basic tablet, but has many features that might interest senior users who are perhaps not too tech savvy. The Kindle Fire lets users read books and magazines, listen to music, and watch video content. It functions as a basic tablet computer and this may suit those not interested in a tablet with all the bells and whistles.
The Kindle Fire also allows users to connect with friends and family. It integrates social media and email programs ensuring easy communication and it lets users keep up to date and in touch.
The Kindle comes with the choice of a 7-inch screen or an 8.9 inch one. Both are slightly smaller than the iPad Air, so if you’re looking for large text, it could prove less useful.
It has good speakers and 11 hours battery life. The power adaptor is sold separately, there is no office software so you can’t create or edit documents – just read them. Kindle has its own operating system, based on Android and apps are quite limited due to this; the small screen may also make it difficult for some seniors to see clearly.
Kindle also has the Mayday feature, which has proved hugely successful thus far, as it’s a simple matter to connect the device to the net and ask for video assistance from tech support. This could be an invaluable feature for older users that might need that little extra help.
This tablet is great for media and entertainment. There’s also an app that allows the Xperia to become a universal remote control. Elderly users might appreciate this feature and the screen, at 9-inches, is larger than many tablets.
The Xperia has a large screen, HD resolution and 12 hours of battery life. It is also splash proof and all of these elements add up to an impressive tablet computer. However if the user is not a ‘geek’ with a love for entertainment the Xperia is no different from other tablets. It is also heavy, so may be too cumbersome for those with issues with their joints/hands.
Bearing this in mind, it’s probably not the best choice for the elderly novice, who suffers from rheumatoid issues.
The Google Nexus range are Android tablets and offer the best value on the market. It has fantastic reviews and there’s a choice of the 7” or 10” tablet, both of which are priced accordingly. Personally, this is the tablet I would choose if I didn’t have the funds for the iPad and many users agree.
It doesn’t have the resolution of the iPad, but it’s a solid tablet that is the best choice if you’re going down the lower-priced route and don’t fancy going for the iPad mini. The Android ecosystem offers a lot of choice in terms of apps, but there is always some concerns with security on an Android device.
For the elderly user, it’s a good choice when it comes to saving cash and it’s got a big enough screen if you choose the 10” to really make the most of reading apps.
Your Tablet, Your Choice
There are plenty of tablet computers available and it’s easy to forget that in an area defined by Apple’s iPad. However many tablets function in different ways and have different strengths. For an elderly user a tablet is a good choice to introduce them to the technological age, but there is no one tablet that suits the elderly. Instead there are many tablets and finding the right one is as simple as finding out what the user wants.
All of the above tablets are worthy contenders but it may be worth testing them before you buy and reading reviews. It’s also worth considering the security aspect, as many older users don’t understand the risks associated with installing apps and whilst Android is relatively safe, it’s not in the same ball-park as iOS.
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Kerry Butters from the broadband and tablet consumer information site BroadbandGenie.co.uk compares the current crop of tablets available and offers some advice on which one might be best for you.