Computer Tablets Popular Among Older Adults

There are an increasing number of tablets available on the market, and these differ widely.   So, how do you decide which tablet to choose?  The answer is that it depends on what you want to do with your tablet.  Do you just want to read e-books?  Or, do you want to check email and surf the web?  Or do you want to take and catalog photos? Below we discuss characteristics of tablets so that you can make the decision that’s right for you.  

The size of tablets varies from 7 inches (about the size of a large greeting card) to 11 inches (a sheet of paper).   Generally, tablets are less than a ½ inch in thickness.  In choosing your tablet, you should consider if you want to carry it around with you (meaning you might want a smaller one that fits in a purse or glove compartment) or if you want to leave it on your nightstand (meaning it can be larger).   Tablets have touchscreen keypads, but offer accessories including optional wireless keyboards, carrying cases, and covers.

Tablets are available in 8 GB, 16 GB, and 32 GB varieties. If you are going to spend a lot of time on the web, or anticipate multi-tasking with your tablet, you should consider a larger GB version, like the 16 or 32GB.  

There are a wide variety of apps available for tablets.  Popular apps include games (either played alone or with friends), organizational assistants (such as for store reward cards, photographs, and more), maps and GPS, and many others.  Although thousands of apps are free, users may pay from cents to several dollars for others.

Cameras in tablets can be in the back of the device for taking photos, or in the front for video conferencing and chatting online. For example, users can video chat using Skype or, for Apple users, FaceTime, with a front-facing camera.  Tablets may have one or both cameras installed. The range of megapixel quality varies from a low 1 megapixel to a high 8 megapixel.  If you plan to use your tablet to take photos, you should aim for a high megapixel camera.

Recent J.D. Power consumer rankings indicate that Samsung tablets are the most popular and preferred, closely followed by Apple and Amazon Kindle. The Samsung Galaxy tablets are available in 8 GB, 16 GB, or 32 GB.

It should be expected that tablets range in price based on their GB size. Tablets start in the range of $150 and can exceed $700. Among the least expensive tablets there is good variety, and users can select from products such as the Hicense Sero ($99), Asus ($129), Acer ($177), and Nexus 7 with 16 GB ($229). Some of the most expensive tablets are the Sony Vaio Tap 11 ($950+), Panasonic Toughpad (16 GB Android; $1500+), and HP Slate 2 (64 GB Android; $1600+). In the middle of the pack, are the ubiquitous iPads that range from $299 to $929.