We all want a tablet that's intuitive to use with a decent-sized screen - and older users are no exception.
These features - as well as a device's portability, camera quality and assistive tech - are where we've focused our search.
In our opinion, the standout device is the iPad Air 10.9". It combines an anti-reflective screen with 500 nits brightness, a camera that finds you wherever you are in the room, voice recognition technology and weighs less than a loaf of bread.
Which tablet is best for an older person?
We've selected five of the best multi-purpose tablets, with specifications and features that will be helpful to older users. All of the devices are the latest models available in 2022.
|iPad Air 10.9"||Fire HD 10||Lenovo Smart Tab M10 FHD with Alexa||Lenovo Yoga Tab 13||Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 10.5"|
|Screen resolution||2360 x 1640p||1920 x 1200p||1920 x 1200p||2160 x 1360p||1920 x 1200p|
|Camera||12MP rear-facing camera & 12MP front-facing camera||5MP rear-facing camera & 2MP front-facing camera||8MP rear-facing camera & 5MP front-facing camera||8MP front-facing camera||8MP rear-facing camera & 5MP front-facing camera|
|Maximum battery life||10 hours||12 hours||9 hours||12 hours||12 hours|
Verdict: Apple iPad Air 10.9"
Apple's iPad Air 10.9" (5th gen) has a range of attractive features that make it easier for aging bodies to get to grips with - these include a camera that doesn't require you to have it perfectly placed, a screen that's easy to see and use, and a well-placed fingerprint scanner.
However, if you're not sure whether you'd get on with a tablet - or if you're buying one for someone else - it's hard to go wrong with Amazon's Fire HD 10, which is particularly good value for money.
1. iPad Air 10.9" (5th generation)
Best for: Those who don't mind spending a bit more for a superior device.
|Apple iPad Air 10.9" (5th gen)||£569||Space Grey, Blue, Pink, Purple, Starlight||64GB||WiFi|
|Apple iPad Air 10.9" (5th gen)||£719||Space Grey, Blue, Pink, Purple, Starlight||64GB||WiFi + Cellular|
- Bright screen
- Clever camera
- Relatively expensive
- Battery isn't the best
- Limited storage
Apple's latest incarnation of its iPad Air 10.9" has a refreshingly bright screen, coming in at 500 nits. For comparison, smartphones typically have 300 to 400 nits brightness.
It also boasts an anti-reflective coating, which really does reduce glare, and a fingerprint-resistant coating, which reduces the need for constant wiping.
The image quality is nice and crisp, which is thanks to a combination of the 2,360 x 1,640-pixel screen, LED backlighting and Apple's proprietary True Tone colour management.
Passwords are a pain at any age and more so as one gets older. We love that Apple has integrated Touch ID into the top button of the iPad Air, making authentication and secure payments very simple.
The iPad Air 10.9" also enables you to control it with just your voice. Setting up voice control lets you speak commands to perform gestures, interact with screen elements, and dictate and edit text.
Apple cameras have a solid reputation, and the iPad Air is a good example of why. The 12MP back camera is great, but what we really like is the boosted ultra-wide, 12MP HD front camera which automatically pans to keep you in the frame and expands or zooms in as others come and go - just ideal for video calls to family or friends.
We've assumed that the camera will be used primarily for video calls but, if you do want a tablet for photography, it's worth noting that the iPad Air's storage is limited to 64GB. As it's an Apple device, this can't be expanded. The only option for additional capacity is storage in the cloud.
The iPad Air 10.9" supports the 2nd-gen Apple Pencil, which is a great little add-on if you'd like to use your tablet for making notes or writing messages.
Apple also offers magnetically-attached keyboards - the Smart Keyboard Folio and Magic Keyboard - that may be handy if you find writing on a touchscreen difficult. The keyboards also essentially provide a stand for the screen too.
Note that the keyboards and pen are sold separately, to the tune of £179 and £279 for the keyboards and £115 for the pen.
|Size||24.8 x 17.9 x 0.6 cm|
|Operating system||iPadOS 15|
|Processor||Apple M1 chip|
2. Amazon Fire HD 10
Best for: Those on a budget or first-time tablet users.
|Amazon Fire HD 10||£159.99||Black||32GB||WiFi|
- Great value
- Poor camera
- Subscriptions encouraged
The Fire HD's 10.1" screen has a pixel density of 224ppi. and can emit up to 420 nits of brightness - still plenty bright enough for use around the home.
Perhaps more importantly, there's plenty of contrast so that individual shapes are easy to pick out.
The Fire HD has a VoiceView screen reader that enables access to the vast majority of the tablet's features for users who are blind or visually impaired. A screen magnifier enables viewers to zoom in and out, and pan around the screen.
Fire tablets also include accessibility settings for Subtitles, Font Size, High-Contrast Text, Colour Inversion, Colour Correction, and Convert Stereo to Mono audio.
Amazon's voice assistant, Alexa, can be a helpful asset if interacting with the screen physically feels a bit much.
The Fire HD is good in this regard as Alexa can be woken even when the tablet screen is on standby, providing access to tablet content as well as the news, weather, recipes etc. without having to move.
Although it's an improvement on the previous version of the Fire HD 10, the 5MP rear-facing camera still isn't very good.
The front-facing 2MP camera is acceptable, and works well enough for video calls. If camera quality is important to you, it's probably best to look elsewhere.
Amazon has started selling a Bluetooth keyboard with detachable case for the Fire HD 10. The case acts as a stand, which is itself useful for things like video calling. The keyboard is magnetic, so doesn't require any fiddly connections.
A note of caution while we're talking about Amazon selling things - it's very easy while using this tablet to sign up for subscriptions to various Amazon services, such as Audible, Kindle Unlimited (yes, you can use the Fire HD like an e-reader) and Amazon Music.
Offers of free trial subscriptions come regularly and, once accepted, will turn into paid subscriptions if you don't actively cancel them.
|Size||24.7 x 16.6 x 0.9cm|
|Operating system||Android 9.0|
|Processor||MediaTek MT8183 (64-bit octa-core)|
|Storage||32GB (expandable to 1TB with microSD)|
3. Lenovo Smart Tab M10 FHD Plus with Alexa
Best for: Those who regularly stream movies.
|Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus 10.3" FHD with Alexa Smart Dock||£199.99||Platinum Grey||32GB||WiFi|
- Docking station doubles as stand
- Nice screen
- Relatively heavy
- Battery isn't great
- Disappointing camera
The Smart Tab has a full HD display, with a pixel density of 220ppi. In a nutshell, it's clear, crisp and bright - and stays that way even when viewing the screen obliquely.
Lenovo says that the display is TUV-certified for eye protection, meaning it's flicker-free and has reduced blue light emission.
The Smart Tab we've looked at here comes with a dock that, as well as charging the device, allows you to connect to the Amazon smart assistant, Alexa.
Alexa is handy for everything from setting reminders to keeping up with the latest news.
The dock also acts as a stand, which means you can do things like stream movies (providing you have a relevant subscription) without having to lift a finger.
A fingerprint scanner enables you to unlock the device without having to remember a password.
Similarly, there's also facial recognition tech that can unlock the tablet when you look at it (though it does take quite a while, admittedly).
The Smart Tab's 5MP front-facing camera is usable, though not great. You'll be able to see who you're calling, but expect plenty of noise and washed out colours.
The rear 8MP camera is similarly a little disappointing, with images lacking detail and focus.
It's worth pointing out that while the Smart Tab can be bought without the Alexa Smart Dock, you won't be able to subsequently buy it as an extra.
The next step down in pricing for this device gets you the tablet plus a charging station. This can also double as a stand, though there's no voice assistant included.
|Size||15.3 x 24.4 x 8.2cm|
|Operating system||Android 9.0|
|Processor||MediaTek P22T Tab Processor (2.30 GHz)|
|Storage||32GB (expandable to 256GB)|
4. Lenovo Yoga Tab 13
Best for: Those who want / need a large screen.
|Lenovo Yoga Tab 13||£649.99||Shadow Black||128GB||WiFi|
- Large screen
- Built-in stand
- No rear camera
The Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 features a 13" screen with 2K display and Dolby Vision. Images are clear and well-defined when streaming video - which is primarily what the device is aimed at doing.
The Yoga Tab is certified for streaming Netflix HD, and performs at its best when playing HDR Dolby Vision content.
The 60Hz refresh rate is a little underwhelming - we might expect a device at this price to offer double that. However, unless you're a gamer, you're unlikely to notice.
The screen's size and weight makes the Yoga Tab unwieldy to hold for extended periods. Happily, there's a movable metal bar at the back of the device which folds out to enable it to stand.
Extending the bar fully means it can be used as a handle to carry the tablet from place to place, or even to hang it somewhere convenient - for example, on a cupboard handle while cooking in the kitchen.
The Yoga Tab 13 is a little lacking in some of the things we might expect from a powerful tablet. Most noticeably, there's no fingerprint scanner or facial recognition tech.
The Yoga Tab has no rear camera, which isn't altogether surprising given its size and weight - you wouldn't really want to spend time holding it aloft.
It does, however, have a 8MP front-facing camera. This works well for video calls and it's nice to be able to see who you're talking to on the larger screen.
If you find using a touchscreen tiring, there's a dedicated stylus available for sketching, drawing and note-taking.
The Lenovo Precision Pen 2 is easy to use and, at £49.99, won't break the bank. It offers 4,096 levels of pressure and tilt detection, and is a handy little tool for jotting things down or just doodling.
|Size||29.3 x 2.5 x 20.4cm|
|Operating system||Android 11|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 (3.2GHz)|
5. Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 10.5"
Best for: Those who like to multitask.
|Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 10.5"||£219||Grey, Pink Gold, Silver||32GB||WiFi|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 10.5"||£259||Grey, Pink Gold, Silver||32GB||WiFi + Cellular|
- Good battery
- Screen splittable
- Poor camera
- Relatively dim display
- No fingerprint scanner
The Galaxy Tab's 10.5" display with 1920 x 1080p resolution qualifies it as Full HD. However, as the screen consists of a TFT LCD panel, you don't get as good contrast as you would with an OLED screen.
The 327 nits of brightness is just about ok - though you wouldn't want to use it outside or if you have bad eyesight.
There's no fingerprint scanner with the Tab A8. While it does have facial recognition tech, it's not very reliable.
We do like the multi-window feature, which enables you to split the screen - having multiple windows viewable makes it easy to keep track of what you're doing.
There's an unsophisticated Voice Assistant that reads everything you touch, as well as subtitle settings that can be used to change the size and position of subtitles.
An Assistant menu is designed for people with motor control impairments. This allows access to physical buttons and all parts of the screen by simply tapping or swiping.
The front-facing 5MP camera is acceptable for video calling, but nothing more. Similarly, the 8MP rear-facing camera is nothing special. It has autofocus, and that's about it.
Samsung does make a cover that doubles as a stand. The downside is that there's only one viewing angle, so you'll have to be careful where you put it if video calling or streaming video.
|Size||24.7 x 16.2 x 0.7cm|
|Operating system||Android 11|
|Storage||32GB (expandable to 1TB with microSD)|
Summary: Which tablet to buy for an older user?
Overall, the iPad Air 10.9" is the best tablet for older users. It's both powerful and lightweight, and performs well across the board - a good attribute if you're not certain which features you most need.
We like the bright screen, fingerprint reader, and the camera that can point itself at you rather than you having to direct yourself at it.
The two Lenovo tablets are worth looking at if you plan on regularly streaming movies - the Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 in particular has a built-in adjustable stand meaning you can view it from any surface, be that bed or a kitchen surface.
Amazon's Fire HD 10 is the best option for those on a tight budget. For the price there's nothing that can beat it - particularly as it can double as a capable e-reader.