Friday, January 26, 2018

Computing for Seniors

 What should a senior have in a computing device?   I get this question all the time.

Working with many different senior users and a wide variety of equipment, I have come up with the following.

More and more,  the iPad is taking the lead,  especially with the reduction to $250.

Up to now I had concerns about the iPad’s lack of a control panel, limited file access, lack of  heavy duty apps like  Windows PowerPoint, Scrivener, and others,  some concerns about  proprietariness,  and the $500 price.

Those concerns are gone.     

I have given the iPad some serious challenges and it has met or exceeded expectations.    Using it for a presentation proved far easier than any of the old alternatives.

I do recommend that users do not restrict themselves to limited “iPad only apps”  when they can run what they call “cross-platform apps” which run anywhere.

What about old Windows?

With its confusing Windows 10 screen and security challenges, along with the demise of the Windows phone,  Microsoft has had some setbacks in devices for seniors.

Now,  for some seniors it is possible to go cheaper.      The $50 Nook from Barnes & Noble tablet can even be made to phone over WiFi using Google Voice.     That way it works like a large smartphone.      The Kindle Fire 8 is a larger alternative at $80.      Both are frequently discounted.

For those who want a keyboard,  Chromebooks are the obvious choice at under $200.      I like my big brand new HP 15 inch which I got for $90.

The big point rows here is that these devices need not cost that much money,  whereas  seniors often think they need to spend a good deal more based on past purchases.    

Even a good Windows laptop can now be had under $200.    Problems occur too often with Windows however.    They need to be ”nursed along”  to work well.    Do you want to do that?
Going smaller, most seasonewd users like a 4”  smartphone, not a bigger one.     There are far more Android phones than Apple iPhones out there, but Apple has a great iPhone SE at under $200.      For a larger phone go to an Android Moto phone.    Get one with a large battery or replaceable battery.    

 Good plans have dropped as low as $25 a month,  but you don't need any plan if you always phone in a WIFI area.    With almost all devices and apps like Hangouts will do your phoning for you where there is WiFi.

Practically all devices can use a large screen or TV screen with an adapter so that a PC or Mac is not so much desirable anymore.     LG makes a cheap 24 inch smart TV which doubles as a computer display.

What is often highly desirable is the kind of support and helping hand  that Apple alone provides for its devices.   It is worth the extra cost.

More and more attractive to seniors are those voice devices  which are on the rapid rise.     Amazon’s Echo is very cheap for $35 and switches to control appliances are dropping under $20.  
Nowadays everything needs to work with voice and does.

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