Best Tablets for Seniors
Updated November 2021
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Did you know that New York City deployed 10,000 tablets to those aged 65+ to bridge the digital divide in 2020? This effort is designed to bring internet-connected devices to those in need by providing access both to Wi-Fi and mobile service data through plans like T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, etc. The tablet deployment is just an example of how valuable the device is in particular for seniors.
Tablets have a long list of benefits for your aging parent. One particular benefit to highlight is the social connection cultivated and maintained through the tablet whether through video calls, reading, games and so much more. The easy-to-use, lightweight, portable devices bring freedom and independence to aging adults in their homes and on the go. Take the time to find the best tablet to meet your needs. Explore the information about the top 10 tablets, as well as additional background information about health benefits, internet connection, and much more.
What is a Tablet?
A tablet is a mobile device that gives you the same power as a laptop or computer but in a smaller, more portable way. The tablet computer is a touchscreen with a batter that is rechargeable (often with a long-lasting lifespan). You can perform your basic and more complex functions on a tablet, even making phone calls!
How is a Tablet Helpful?
When you need a device that is light, portable, and keeps you connected then a tablet is a great choice. You can choose from many different types from the Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy, or Amazon Fire (just to name a few). You will find many benefits from having one within reach, including but not limited to tablets are:
- Lightweight and easy to carry in the house or on the go.
- Portable and easily fit within a carrying bag, backpack, or handbag.
- Connected to Wi-Fi and wireless data just like a cellphone.
- Easy to turn on and off with an easy wake-up feature.
- Often more affordable than a laptop but with many of the same features.
- Great entertainment for the whole family.
- Perfect for staying socially engaged and connected with friends and family.
- Excellent for web browsing and watching videos.
- Good for your aging brain to remain active and healthy.
- Great cameras for taking lots of photos.
- Easy to navigate for emails and general communication.
- The tool for telehealth check-ins and other health services.
- Easy access to all social media platforms.
The tablet can be very important as a way to remain connected for aging adults. Being able to have a portable screen for Facetime or Zoom calls will keep the family as one no matter the distance. This social engagement is essential as it relates to your brain health and overall wellbeing.
Tablets and Brain Health
Being connected is just as important as physical exercise and diet with respect to your brain health. As more and more aging adults live away from family it is critical to be able to maintain relationships. As we described in our how to improve brain health article: Being social and participating in activities with others is associated with reduced risk for depression and can possibly delay the onset of dementia. John Cacioppo, a neuroscientist at the University of Chicago researched loneliness in his book, Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection, outlining that social connections with others are essential for a long and healthy life. These social connections directly connect with our brain health and overall well-being. This is where your aging parents’ tablet is the device that creates the continuous connection. The video calls are available on a larger screen than a cell phone with easy-to-use zoom features.
In addition to the connectivity created by the tablet through calls, video chats, and doctor visits – there are brain training apps you can install and remain cognitively active. You can read more about the best brain training apps here.
Top 10 Tablets for Aging Adults
The table below provides a summary of the top 10 tablets for seniors. The list was generated by cross-comparing 7 top-10 lists and conducting our own research on the top 10 tablets through rankings via the tech online retailers: Best Buy, Amazon, and Walmart. Review the chart below and then explore each Tablet in more detail below. Take note of what features stand out to you as you look into each one and find the best fit for your aging parent.
|Tablet||Screen Size||Weight||Operating System||Battery Life||Approximate Cost|
|Apple iPad Mini||7.9"||10.6 oz||IOS 12||10 hours||$379.00|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab||8.0"||1.3 lbs||Android||13 hours||$119.99|
|Amazon Fire HD 10||10"||17.8 oz||Octa-Core||12 hours||$109.99|
|Lenovo Tab 10||10.3"||1.5 lbs||Android||8 hours||$249.99|
|Asus ZenPad||10.1"||1.04 lbs||Android||13 hours||$345.99|
|GrandPad||8.0"||10.5 oz||Android OS with GrandPad custom interface||48-72 hours||$200.00|
|Birdsong||10"||1 lb||Android||24 hours+||$300.00|
|Dragon Touch||10"||1.98 lbs||Android/OREO||6 hours||$109.99|
|Apple iPad||10.2"||1.02 lbs||IOS 12||10 hours||$399.99|
|Microsoft Surface Pro||10.5"||1.2 lbs||Windows||10 hours||$264.99|
What to Consider When Purchasing a Tablet
When looking at the top 10 tablets consider asking yourself some of these questions to help you narrow your focus:
- What is my price point?
- What features are most important to me?
- Does the mobile carrier matter for the tablet I need?
- Are there any discounts available?
- How big do I want the tablet?
- Is there financing available?
- Is there a warranty available?
- What is the tech and help support available after I purchase?
List of the Top Tablets
Each of the Top 10 tablets is described in more detail below. Take time to explore each one in detail and consider the questions above. Purchasing a tablet can be as easy as just clicking ‘order’ through Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart or the company’s website itself.
We are all familiar with Apple products. This smaller screen provides you with the classic Apple software (IOS) with a touchscreen, camera, stereo speakers, and a 10-hour battery life. The iPad Mini offers both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi & Cellular features increasing your connection to the internet. You can purchase the iPad Mini with a 64GB or 256 GB RAM. This light tablet is extremely easy to set up with just a few swipes of the finger. You can find used and brand new ones available. You always have access to the Apple store tech support.
The award-winning Galaxy 10 tablet is a Bluetooth, Wi-Fi-enabled gateway for connection. The 11-hour battery life and PC-like platform will be an easy-to-adjust to the product. The fast processing unit of the Galaxy will surprise you. You can trust the brand name and enable your mobile provider or purchase just Wi-Fi only. You will have access to various apps in Google Play and a voice assist platform to make your day-to-day living all on the android tablet.
You will find the hands-free Alexa feature dazzling as you use the Amazon Fire HD. When you purchase the Kindle Fire you will have a 1-year limited warranty. This tablet is easy to hold with a great screen for reading (with the ability to adjust text size). The voice commands make it much easier to use and it can be connected and controlled through Amazon smart home devices. The smaller screen makes it a very portable device.
The ultra-thin look and feel of the Lenovo Tab will captivate you. The 10-inch screen will allow you to watch videos, write emails and make video calls much easier. Lenovo Tab 10 enhanced the general sound quality so you can anticipate crisp sound and volume when using it.
This Android-powered tablet will bring the real world to your fingertips in a 10.1-inch, Zen-like display. The 2k resolution display is perfect for reading books, articles, and playing games. As you use it, you can expand the storage space which is a unique feature of Asus ZenPad.
The Grandpad tablet is specifically designed for older adults. With this tablet, you will have a longer-lasting battery, a durable frame, and the most commonly used apps on a large display. Grandpad offers caregivers direct access to the tablet to update information and remain connected. This is a straightforward design intended to be simple to use.
The Birdsong tablet, powered by Samsung, was developed and designed explicitly for older adults. The large icon display, easy-to-use platform, and overall functionality are focused on safety and protection. It allows you to preload content that Is secure and is ready to go right out of the box.
The Dragon Touch tablet is a lower-budget device that offers a wide array of entertainment. You can find access to your common features including email, video calls, and taking photos. In addition, you can find access to millions of movies, songs, books, and songs.
The Apple iPad revolutionized tablets for all companies. The iPad has a long list of features from excellent camera quality, endless apps, touchscreen, and great battery life. The HD display and retina display will bring crisp, clear images right to the screen when using the iPad or iPad pro.
The Microsoft Surface is excellent to transition to from a laptop. The general features are similar enough to make it a comfortable move. The Microsoft platform is focused on user experience and connects to our most used items in the Microsoft suite package. This user-friendly tablet is just right for elderly people.
Common Add-Ons to Consider Purchasing with Your Tablet
As you peruse each of the top tablets listed in this article, consider the additional features and add-ons you may want. Some of the most common ones to think about are:
- The color of the tablet itself.
- A case for the tablet (outer).
- A protective screen for the tablet.
- A stylist pen (If available).
- Engraving the tablet with your name or special term.
- A keyboard to attach or sync with the tablet.
Talk with the company if the features you would like to have are not listed or available. In many cases, customization is available but requires more time for delivery and likely additional costs.
Skill Gaps for Seniors With Tablets
As with any technology, there may be some fears about using something new or seeing the value in it. As we have described the value and health benefits above, consider the areas to help your aging parent adjust to using any tablet they select. Consider some of the following common concerns:
My aging parent…
Has a hard time seeing the video on their smartphone. The tablet has a convenient larger screen making it easier to have video calls.
Is skeptical about using a computer to play games, read or do a puzzle. The tablet’s touch screen and zoom feature will help your aging parent be comfortable using the many fun features and remain active.
Has a difficult time typing. The tablet has many navigation tools to assist aging adults with built-in speak-to-text features, as well as a keyboard to attach if typing on the screen is more challenging.
Next Steps and Summary
As you explore each of the tablets above take your time reviewing all of the features, customer reviews, and potential add-ons. Each tablet offers slightly different features and benefits. Consider what is most important to your aging loved one, what limitations they may have, and how the tablet can best help them and you.
Dan Fogarty, M.A., FACHE
Dan Fogarty has more than 10 years experience in healthcare management and strategic communication. Dan earned his Master’s in Health Communication from Johns Hopkins University in 2012. Dan has served as the Chief Administrative Officer, Office of Intramural Management (OIM), National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute for 8-years. At present, Dan is the Acting Chief Administrative Officer of the NIH Clinical Center.
In 2021, Dan earned the distinct credential of board certification in healthcare management as a Fellow of the ACHE (FACHE). Dan is also an Adjunct Faculty member of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS).
Dan is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He earned his Fellow of the ACHE credential in 2021. He has consulted for a variety of healthcare organizations in strategic communication and operational initiatives.