Technology has made its way into every aspect of our lives.
Without it, the world wouldn’t be what it is today.
Next to smartphones, so called “Tablet computers” gained popularity over the last couple of years and are slowly replacing laptops for many applications.
A tablet can do it all.
As a senior citizen, you might be aware of the common stereotype that technology is moving too fast for the elderly generation to catch up to. While this might have been true in the beginning of the era, today manufacturers simply can’t afford to not make those devices accessible to the older demographic.
Tablet computers (“tablets” for short) have never been more accessible, or affordable, for all generations to use and enjoy and they can make your everyday life a lot easier.
What is a Tablet Computer?
Tablets are portable devices that are typically referred to as the middle ground between a desktop computer and a smartphone device.
Tablets are fantastic because they provide you an almost “smartphone-like” experience, on a much larger touchscreen. You’ll have access to applications, a camera and the internet.
These larger screens means everything is a little bigger, text, images and videos, so if your vision isn’t what it used to be a tablet makes things a little easier. The touchscreen lets you increase the size of any on-screen interfaces, so there are no little buttons you have to deal with.
Thanks to their portable size, you can take your tablet wherever you go and are not restricted to a desk as you would be with a large computer.
What We Recommend
There is a wide variety of tablets that are available today. Each model on our list has its own pros, cons, and reasons to buy, as well as a range of accessibility features.
All of the tablets we’ve listed below are great options for seniors.
Microsoft Surface Pro 4
If you’ve used a Windows computer in the past, buying a tablet with a similar operating system can be a good idea.
The Microsoft Surface is such a tablet.
In fact, since these Surface tablets run the Windows 10 operating system, it could even replace your existing laptop or desktop computer.
The large touchscreen is highly responsive with crystal clear images, providing outstanding visibility of anything you do on-screen. Buttons are easy to press and text is easy to read.
Thanks to the fully-featured operating system, you’ll find a large range of accessibility options..
- A narrator reading the text on the screen to you
- Keyboard shortcuts, so you can easily pre-set the options and functions you use regularly
- An audio description service, so you can see what’s happening on the screen when you’re watching a film or video content
- A magnifier to help those with poor eyesight read what’s on the screen
- Simplify Windows settings to make using your Surface tablet easier
- High contrast themes so you can see everything in simple, easy-to-see colors
- Read Braille content automatically
- Color filters for all kinds of eyesight levels
- Voice commands so you don’t have to use keyboard, mouse or touchscreen
There is also a selection of optional accessories available. These include a clip-on keyboard to make typing easier, and a Stylus pen for easier control of the tablet itself.
Each Surface Pro comes with Microsoft’s Cortana voice assistant, which means you can control your tablet and all the features simply by using your voice.
- Full Windows operating system for the maximum amount of features
- A huge range of accessibility options to set how you need them
- Built-in voice-controlled personal assistant for easy tablet control
- Variety of attachable accessories
Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2
The Samsung Galaxy Note is still regarded as one of the best tablet computers out there, and one of the most popular with any generation.
With this 12th Edition, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits that come with a big 12.2-inch touchscreen and a Stylus pen.
This Stylus is known as the ‘S Pen,’ and you can use it to control your tablet like you would with your finger. You can also hover it above the screen without touching it, giving you quick access to five of your most used features. This makes it easy to find and use the apps and features that matter to you.
As all of the products we selected, this tablet comes with a full range of accessibility features. In the settings menu, you’ll find a full ‘Accessibility’ menu to customize how to use your tablet. The tablet offers screen magnifiers and Talk-Back services, letting you know what happens on-screen.
There are also options designed to help people having trouble hearing. You can set the screen, so it flashes when you have a new notification, and enable subtitles for visual content. You also have full control over the EQ of the built-in speaker and headphone output, allowing you to turn up the volume to your liking.
You’ll also find the Assistant application which can help you use your tablet if you have cognitive or dexterity issues. With this feature, you can simply open the Assistant, speak out what you want it to do, and it will do it! It’s really that simple.
- A large wealth of dexterity settings to customize your experience
- Fully-featured accessibility settings menu with dedicated vision and hearing sections
- Long-lasting battery life so you don’t have to remember to charge it
- Built-in personal assistant for easy control and many improvements to your daily life
Apple iPad Mini
The iPad is one of the most innovative tablets in the world, with many different versions available.
The reason we opted for the ‘Mini’ version is a mixture of the price (the larger models can exceed hundreds of dollars), and the fact it still provides the same number of essential features.
Control of the tablet is easy since you’ll be able to access all your apps and online content in a matter of seconds with just a few clicks on the tablet. The onscreen keyboard is crisp and sharp with large buttons, so you won’t have trouble pressing the right keys.
To ensure the iPad is best for seniors, Apple has included a large range of powerful accessibility features. All of them can be customized and adapted to whatever you need allowing you to set up your iPad exactly how you need and want it.
They mostly focus on vision and hearing by offering screen filters for easy vision, and the ability to magnify your text and visual content.
“Assisted Touch” can help you find the apps and features that matter to you and can be pre-set to match your physical capabilities, such as one-handed or select finger use.
If you’re unable to touch or interact with your tablet physically, you can still control and use your tablet using your voice, thanks to the power of the personal assistant known as Siri.
What really sets iPads apart is the fact that not only will you be able to enjoy secure video and text chats with your family through apps like FaceTime, you’ll also be able to test out the leading 5MP camera for taking pictures and send them to your loved ones in a matter of seconds.
- Integrated personal assistant, known as Siri, for easy tablet control
- A large number of accessibility options, including cognitive support, a screen magnifier, and predictive text
- Thousands of third-party applications for all kinds of features and functions
- Plenty screen visibility options to set how you want them
Kindle Fire Tablet 7
While some of you may have already heard of Kindle, one of the best-selling e-reading devices, the tablet version does a whole lot more.
This 7-inch tablet is another senior-friendly tablet thanks to its high definition display, long battery life and leading voice assistant technology.
The tablet has been designed for super-fast internet browsing and video watching and comes with a range of apps you can download and use to improve your everyday life.
The Kindle software is also built into the tablet, as is Amazon’s leading Alexa software, allowing you to reap the benefits that a personal assistant can provide.
In addition to the powerful built-in assistant, it offers many integrated accessibility features, such as the screen reader, which is able to read out any text on screen, or the screen magnifier which makes text and content easier to read.
You can customize the font size, enable subtitles for visual video content and set hand gestures (such as swipes and onscreen letters) allowing you to quickly find the apps you’re looking for, without having to navigate the menus.
While the accessibility options on the Kindle Fire tablets may be more limited compared to the other tablets, these are simple and easy to use devices that don’t overcomplicate anything, making them ideal for first-time tablet owners.
- Built-in text reader and screen magnifier
- Integrated Alexa personal assistant
- Perfect entertainment device with pre-installed Kindle software
- Designed for super-fast internet
Katherine is a medical sales assistant and focuses on senior products. She is an expert when it comes to mobility for seniors as well as for safety equipment. When she is not counseling seniors or their family members, she enjoys riding the bike and spending time with her two kids.