The best tablets for older people

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 Tab A9 weighs just 332g, 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.

The Alcatel 3T 10’s 10-inch HD IPS screen with 80% screen-to-body ratio is perfect for cinema-style entertainment. Eye Care Mode protects your eyes and minimises disruption to your sleep cycle if you’re watching films at night, and Adaptive Tone suggests optimal brightness depending on your surroundings. If you frequently read books online, Reading Mode provides a clear contrast grayscale display and adjusts brightness for comfortable long reads.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A9 has a wide 8.7-inch display which sits comfortably in your hand, even if you’ve been watching films or videos for hours. Minimised bezels deliver a greater screen-to-body ratio. Enjoy an impromptu private screening wherever you are with dual speakers that deliver rich stereo sound.

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.

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 A7 has Quad Stereo Sound and a vivid display for a truly cinematic, clear sound experience. You can also use tablets with headphones - the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 has a standard 3.5mm headphone jack.

The Alcatel 3T 10 has dual front speakers and double bass enhancement units for deep, distortion-free sound. Its full-frequency response accurately produces a full range of bass, mid and treble tones for crisp, quality audio. If you want to use headphones, this tablet also comes with a standard 3.5mm headphone jack.

The headphone jack looks like a small round hole - you’ll find it on the bottom of the tablet. You may need to check if your existing headphones use a headphone jack, 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 Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 comes with a 7,040mAh battery with Fast Battery Charging, which is also ideal for extended use.

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.

There are 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. Several tablets come with a 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.

If you're using a Samsung device, you can download apps by visiting the Google Play store or by browsing the pre-installed Galaxy apps on your Galaxy tablet.

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 Air 13-inch (M2) has Touch ID so it can only be unlocked with your unique fingerprint. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 has Face Recognition, so you can unlock your device quickly and securely.

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

If you’re buying a tablet for an older person and you’re an existing Vodafone customer, you can enjoy a 15% discount on selected additional devices and plans - log in to your My Vodafone account to apply the discount. 

If you’ve decided a tablet isn’t quite what you need, you might find a big button mobile phone will do everything you want and need to stay connected.