In keeping up with the times, more and more seniors are looking to purchase tablet devices. Why? Simply put, they have technological needs and uses as well. These needs range from searching for local senior events and activities, shopping or reading, to connecting with loved ones via email or video chat.
Introduction to Tablets
Tablets are light weight (making carry and travel effortless), extremely mobile (extended battery life and a 3G network), and completely wireless. Most tablets are easy to use due to the touch screen feature, and many are designed for individuals not interested in the technology behind the functions. This is definitely a plus when looking for a tablet – not having to read and understand what goes on inside, just the basics how-to’s.
The best way for seniors to determine what type of tablet is best for them is to identify their needs and set a price range. Different tablets offer different accessories and have different capabilities. The key is to identify the intended use and review the features of the available tablets to find the best suited for the user’s needs.
Available Tablet Device Options
The most expensive of the tablets is the Apple iPad 2, which is designed for individuals who are not concerned with all the tech functions. This tablet is primarily used for emailing, browsing, taking and sharing pictures, social media, and video chatting. It does not support flash-based websites but still allows the user to view YouTube videos. Battery life for the Apple iPad 2 is roughly ten hours and weighs a little over 21 ounces (think of a 20-ounce bottle of soda). The screen is 9.7” – the tablet allows the user to adjust the font size for easier reading (as do most of the tablets). The Apple iPad 2 starts at about $500 and cost increases with the addition of various features.
The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer runs around $350 and has a larger screen than the iPad. This is an Android tablet and has the ability to transform from a tablet to a laptop by mounting (connecting) the tablet to the keyboard. The Asus weighs just under 24 ounces and allows the user video chatting capabilities.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4G is also an Android tablet and is quite similar to the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, but lacks the attachable keyboard. The Samsung Galaxy has two available screen sizes, either seven or ten-inch screens. The cost of this tablet starts around $350 and can reach upwards of $500, depending on size and additional features.
The Amazon Kindle Fire is the most economical tablet and is equipped for browsing, reading, and watching shows or movies. The cost is approximately $199 and is a great buy if the features are sufficient for the user’s needs. The Amazon Kindle Fire is the lightest of the tablets, weighing a mere 14.5 ounces. The battery life is eight hours and the color and resolution are of very high quality.
There Are So Many Options…. What’s Next?
An educated consumer is a smart consumer – which means it is important to do the research (or have someone do it for you if it’s a little overwhelming). Identify the primary needs and functions that will be used on a regular basis. Then set the price range and stick to it… with the ever-evolving technology there is no need to make a hasty purchase. As technology improves and newer models are unveiled, the older models are typically discounted to make room for the newer models. This doesn’t mean holding out for a long period of time – it simply means, there are often sales and discounts in the technology industry. It may behoove you to do your due diligence instead of simply browsing and selecting.
Tablets are a great option for seniors – they are much lighter and less cumbersome than larger, heavier laptops. Laptops typically come equipped with long charging cords and may have other accessories that need to be attached (a mouse, for example). The tablet eliminates toting all those accessories and the charging cord is much more manageable than that of a laptop. Whatever the senior’s needs are, one of the above mentioned tablets is sure to handle them.