While most of us think technology is leaving older people behind, it's simply not true. I've seen many senior at my grandma's age using computers, as well as mobile tablets to handle a variety of things.
From books to movies to news, a tablet provides access to digital materials that may otherwise be expensive, difficult to obtain, or hard to use. But with the flexibility of zooming, portability, and other accessibility features, a tablet is a more efficient way of getting to your favorite media.
Since they're available from almost all tech brands in numerous shapes, sizes, and operating systems, picking a tablet that is elderly friendly can be difficult.
So, it doesn't matter if you are buying a tablet for your elderly parents, or you are a senior who wants to be able to reach all your content without suffering through a flawed design or worrying about the safety of your device, we'll help you choose the best tablet that fits in this article.
For reading & media: Kindle Fire HD 8
The Kindle Fire was built for consuming news, books, and the occasional movie, so if that’s your goal, this is definitely the tablet for you. It emphasizes special eReader features while still allowing you to explore its capabilities with apps, the internet, and steaming.
For Apple Fans: New iPad Retina Display with Touch ID
This retina iPad will deliver incredible clarity and provide what may the familiar ease of iOS. Especially if you or your family uses other Apple devices, features like iMessage and FaceTime will be great to have on hand. The whole thing is sleek and ready to help you take on your day.
For Android Fans: ASUS ZenPad 3S 10
Prefer a quality Android build instead? With more customizability than Apple devices and equally powerful tech in the form of cameras, a fingerprint reader, and more, the ZenPad is a strong contender for your attention.
Who Should (Or Shouldn't) Get This?
In the section below, we've specifically picked out tablets for seniors, which means they have the best design to accommodate those who may need accommodations for vision/hearing or who aren't looking for the fanciest OS with dozens of hidden features.
These tablets keep things clear and simple and help you get to movies, news, books, or games with ease. While they are great for this purpose, this is not the same set of tablets we would recommend for say, a business person or a parent who wants to get the kid an eReader.
So if you're a senior looking for something clear and easy to learn how to use, these tablets are for you. But if you need advanced features, high processing power, or special integrations (such as for art styluses or other accessories), then these tablets probably aren't your best options.
Also if you or your elderly parents have the needs of browsing the Internet to learn new skills, using a keyboard to type a book, watching movies online, or checking emails, you'd be better off getting a laptop. You can read this article best laptops for seniors for more information.
Best Tablet for Elderly People: What to Consider
Glasses may be an everyday necessity, but your tablet screen shouldn't be difficult for you to see. You should make sure to get a screen that has a high display quality with good contrast that makes images sharp and words easy to read. Many tablets have incredible retina displays, but you can also look for HD models as well.
You want your tablet to last more than a year or two, so make sure it has the specs and the hardware to measure up. For Android tablets, make sure it comes running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or later, and for Apple tablets, look for something made recently so that you know it will still receive updates for a while. Additionally, you can look at performance benchmarks on battery life, screen brightness, and speed to help decide which tablet will work best for you.
Size & Portability
Depending on what you want to use your tablet for, size can be an important consideration. If you'll only be watching movies at home, then it may not matter if you have a bigger, heavier tablet. But, if you plan to take your tablet out and about, you'll probably want something light that can easily fit into a small bag. Additionally, you should make sure that you can fully grip the tablet comfortably - if this is a problem, you can always look for a non-slip case.
The Best Tablets for Seniors in 2018: Our Picks
If you plan on primarily using your tablet for print media such as books, magazines, or news, the Kindle Fire 8 is the ideal tablet. It corners the market on incredible eReader functionality while also offering the versatility to play games, movies, or browse the internet when you want to take a break from your favorite novel.
- Built-in Alexa assistant syncs up with any Echos you may have and can easily find content for you with voice commands.
- Rated for a 12-hour battery life and has expandable storage in case you manage to fill up the whole thing.
- In addition to basic eReader functionality, it supports Netflix/Hulu/HBO streaming, Spotify, Facebook, Skype and other popular applications.
- Includes a front and rear-facing camera.
- It uses a modified version of Android, so it uses Amazon's app store instead of the Play Store, which means some apps may not be supported.
A fan of Apple products, or already familiar with their operating system and not interested in switching? The 2017 iPad offers a stunning retina display that would make images sharp and visible, while the sleek and clean design makes apps and programs easy to find and remember. Running the latest iOS will give you access to FaceTime, Skype, iMessage, and dozens of other apps to keep in touch with your family or pursue your own interests.
- Can be used with Apple Pencil if you prefer a stylus.
- Stellar screen quality and battery life paired with a versatile app store give you unlimited access to anything you could possibly need.
- The user interface is easy to understand even if you've never used Apple before.
- The Touch ID means you never have to remember a password - just use your finger instead.
- It only has one speaker along the bottom, which reduces audio volume and quality compared to other tablets.
Bigger fan of Android than Apple? This tablet from ASUS offers a great and powerful alternative. It's a top quality android tablet with front and rear cameras that beat most of the competition in quality so that your face will come through clearly when you're Skyping your family. You can expand its storage by up to 128GB, and it's running Marshmallow out of the box but can be updated to Nougat if wanted.
- Brings the best of tablets and the best of Android together, as well as including top technology like a USB-C port and fingerprint scanner.
- The Gorilla Glass screen will resist falls and drops while the 2K IPS screen will deliver bright and vibrant colors.
- Weighing nearly a pound, it's a bit heavier than similar tablets.
Useful Accessibility Tips
Both Android and Apple devices offer an array of accessibility features that can make it easier to see and use your iPad, such as changing the default text size or activating a movable magnification feature.
On Android, go to Settings, then Accessibility > Magnification and choose either "triple tap" or "with button". For more info on activating and using magnification, check out this official support article.
On Apple iOS (iPhone/iPad), go to Settings, then General > Accessibility and look for either the magnification or shortcut options that you want to activate. For more on the options for remapping buttons or having easier access to the control center or other features, Apple offers a simple support article that will help you easily get what you need.You can also watch this video to learn more:
Whether you are a senior who has never owned a smartphone or use a laptop every day, tablets provide a strong middle ground. You can do everything from watch movies in bed to read a book in the park to get daily digests of your morning news and much much more.
We've highlighted a few of the tablets we think will best let you balance your wants and needs but would love to hear if you have suggestions as well, so feel free to drop a comment below!
Influenced by the startup culture in the Silicon Valley, Jessica loves building things from zero to one and is keen on following news related to the Big Five tech giants and many SaaS startups.