Elderly people may struggle to read, watch films and browse the internet on smartphone touch screens, especially if they have problems with their sight and hearing. Tablets have much larger screens that may be suitable for people who need larger text, and who find it tricky to make and receive video calls on a smaller device. Here are some of the tablet features older people may want, and a selection of the best tablets available.
Lightweight design for limited movement
Older people with limited dexterity may need a slim, light tablet which they can easily hold while they’re watching a film, or support with one hand while they type. Plus, if an older person is planning on downloading books and TV shows to watch while they travel, a slimmer tablet is easier to carry and can slip easily inside a bag. The Samsung Galaxy S5e weighs just 400g, slips easily into a backpack and sits comfortably in one hand.
Large, high-definition screen
Whether it’s watching a film in bed or making a video call to the grandkids, a tablet with a large screen is perfect for older people who want to easily see all the action. A large screen clearly displays colours and adds sharpness to movies and games, as well as making sure text and subtitles can be displayed with clarity. Apple iPad 10.2 comes with a 10.2-inch Retina display that delivers bright colour and excellent detail when watching videos and browsing photos, and it’s a good choice for older people who need a larger screen for everyday browsing, typing and video calls.
Text and image size adjustments
Older people may struggle to read and type messages in small text, especially if they have restricted vision. You can change the size of text on emails, messages and websites on tablets by adjusting the settings, as you would on a smartphone. iPad devices allow you to supersize text – if it’s still not comfortable for an older person to read after resizing it, they can use the Accessibility settings to toggle the text size to a size which suits them. Plus, people with limited eyesight can use Siri voice commands with iPad to dictate messages and emails, start video calls, and browse the internet.
If an older person needs a keyboard, iPad 10.2 works with the Apple Smart Keyboard, which you just slot into the side (Apple Smart Keyboard will need to be bought separately). You can also buy a keyboard which slots into the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab A is compatible with Bluetooth keyboards.
Adjustable, clear sound
If you’re buying a tablet for an older person with difficulty hearing, a tablet with great sound is essential. From crisp audio on video calls to getting the most from podcasts and audio books, high quality speakers will make all the difference. The Samsung Galaxy Tab A has dual stereo speakers with 3D surround sound featuring Dolby Atmos for a truly cinematic, clear sound experience. You can also use tablets with headphones - iPad 10.2 and the Galaxy Tab A both have a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, and the Tab S5e comes with an adapter for headphones through the USB-C port.
The headphone jack looks like a small round hole, and the USB-C port looks like a rectangular slot with rounded edges – you’ll find them on the bottom of the tablet. You may need to check if your existing headphones use a headphone jack or need a USB-C slot, as you may need to buy some new ones if they’re different. If you don’t like headphones with wires as you find they get tangled, you can also look into Bluetooth headphones which connect wirelessly.
Long-lasting battery life
A long-lasting battery is essential, especially for older people who use their tablet frequently to stay in touch or may forget to charge it every now and then. The Galaxy Tab S5e from Samsung comes with a powerful quick-charging 7,040mAh battery and up to 14.5 hours of battery life, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab A comes with 6,150mAh battery, which is also ideal for extended use. They’re both perfect for days with lots of video calls, or simply just enjoying the latest box sets.
SOS alerts and location sharing
There are plenty of ways for older people to use their tablet to ensure they’re safe when they’re out – if you’re buying for an elderly person, it’s peace of mind for them, or for your own if you’re buying for yourself. You can set up iPad 10.2 to share their location, and yours, helping them maintain their independence. And just in case anything happens, you can add medical information, such as any medication someone’s taking, using the Apple Health app.
There are plenty of apps available which will send SOS messages to family and friends if an older person needs them – Samsung users can use Android-based apps, such as SOS Alerts, and Apple users can use apps such as My SOS Family, which doesn’t need data or WiFi. Please remember that in order for some apps to work, you’ll need to be on a WiFi network or have enough data to connect to the internet.
Make sure the tablet has enough data
There are two ways of using tablets to get online - you can buy a tablet outright and use it with WiFi on a home network, or you can get an LTE tablet which uses 4G data (like a smartphone does) so you can use the internet when you’re away from your WiFi. If you’re planning on using your tablet to browse the internet and use video calling apps like FaceTime and WhatsApp when you’re away from your home WiFi, you’ll need an LTE tablet to still use the internet where public WiFi isn’t available. You can browse our full range of LTE tablets which use 4G and even choose an Unlimited data plan, so you don’t have to worry about running out of data.
Playing games and social media apps
Whether you like crosswords, Sudoku or you simply want to stick to Scrabble, tablets are ideal for games. The super light Galaxy Tab S6 Lite comes with an S Pen stylus for convenience and creativity – you simply use it on the screen like you would use a pen on paper. It can help with typing and swiping accuracy, and selecting specific text – for example, if you need to make selections in drop-down menus. You can also use the stylus with creative apps to draw or write directly on to your screen.
Games run smoothly, with no lagging, on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite thanks to its Android 10 Operating system, and you can easily download and use all your favourite social media apps.
Remember that no matter which type of tablet you choose, you may need to pay for some apps – if they’re not free, the price will be shown on the screen where you download the app.
Easy to use security features
Basic safety features can help to keep your personal data on your tablet safe. You can set a lock screen on all tablets, and you’ll need a PIN code or a pattern you trace with your finger to unlock - however, if you want to unlock your tablet without having to remember a PIN code or pattern, iPad 10.2 has Touch ID so it can only be unlocked with your unique fingerprint. The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite has face recognition, so you can unlock it in a glance, and the Galaxy Tab S5e comes with a pattern or PIN-protected screen lock, as well as a fingerprint scanner and face recognition.
Getting a tablet for every budget
Tablets are versatile, a great way to stay in touch, and they offer a wide range of entertainment features. If you’re looking for the latest Apple and Android tablets, you can browse our full range of tablets here. However, if you don’t fancy splashing out on a new one, we sell a range of great value nearly new tablets. They’re not refurbished and they’re in pristine condition - the only difference is that they’ve been returned as they weren’t what the original owner wanted.
Want to find out more? Here are the tablets we’d recommend for older people.
Super-light yet powerful, the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is perfect for work and play. Easily write and sketch on the 10.4-inch display, and enjoy superior sound with two speakers engineered by AKG (featuring Dolby Atmos).