Which tablet, if any, is best for elderly user?

Posted on 2011-05-10
Last Modified: 2012-05-11

My mother who is a computer novice needs a simple, easy solution for basic computing needs.  Essentially, she needs a computer to be able to access the internet, write and print letters, and email.  A simple word processing package like MS Works would be fine.  She does not need MS Office.  She has used a PC on and off for years, but there is always something going wrong with the computer (often times due to "pilot error").

Would be better off with a tablet?  Would an iPad or Android device, with an external keyboard, meet her needs?  I do not want to spend any more than I have to - but I do want her to have a system that performs well.  A solution that has minimal software costs would be nice.  

Overall, is a tablet the right choice?  Please feel free to make other suggestions.  
Question by:MrChip2
    LVL 8

    Assisted Solution

    i'm not too familiar with Android devices. The iPad IMO is simple and user friendly and there is not too much that a user can do wrong. You can install Pages for Word processing. Keep in mind you will need iTunes (Mac/PC) for making backups and updates of the iOS operating system.
    LVL 8

    Expert Comment

    Make sure the printer supports Air Print!
    LVL 14

    Assisted Solution

    by:Michael Dyer
    I had the same issue with my mother-in-law and went with an entry level MacBook Apple laptop for $999.00.  It's worked well for her, and the Apple OS seems to be really stable.  I also installed the free version of on her computer so when questions do arise, I can easily reach out and help her. allows you to remotely control an Apple computer from a Windows computer, so it works well for this situation.  And, the price is right!  

    Author Comment

    Thank you both for replying so quickly!  I must admit that I like the price of the iPad much better.  I would probably add on an external keyboard, protective case, and stand if needed.  It would also be worth it to buy one for her and one for me if we could set up Facetime.  My mom lives far away and my family would love to see her more often.  

    I have a few (I hope easy) questions then I will close this up.

    1) Does iTunes back up her entire iPad or just the music/videos she purchases?  My mom would never buy movies or videos.  It would be great to have a way for her entire iPad to be backed up in case she somehow corrupts it.  My niece has a PC in the house that could be used for this.

    2) What happens when you are reading email on an iPad with an external keyboard?  Does your email expand to the full screen?  Without a keyboard the onscreen keyboard seems to take half the screen.

    3) Am I correct that you use any web-based email with the iPad (like Google)?

    4) Does Logmein run on an iPad?  That sounds like a very useful feature.

    Thanks again!
    LVL 14

    Accepted Solution

    1)  yes, iTunes backs up the entire device.  It's easy to reset and restore if necessary, just like with an iPod.

    2) yes, when you have an Apple wireless keyboard, you press the eject key to hide or show the onscreen keyboard.  I recommend the wireless keyboard over the docking ones because it gives you more flexability and you can use it in any orientation

    3) yes

    4) Unfortunately, I do not know of any product to remotely access an iPad. has an iPad app that lets you remotely access other computers from your iPad, but it does not go the other way.  
    LVL 32

    Assisted Solution

    Other choices, checkout the Barnes and Noble tablet with Android.

    There's also a tablet at Walmart the archos 10.1"

    A lot lower in cost over the others and a good starting point..

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