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Ask Slashdot: Easy Wi-Fi-Enabled Tablet For My Dad? 370

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-only-the-weather-channel-made-a-tablet dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I'm looking to pick up a tablet for my father. He is in his 70s and the internet is a bit of a mystery to him, but he asked me about a way to send/receive email and watch online videos. He is not interested in getting a smartphone or changing his cheap phone plan that doesn't include data. But he is interested in getting a tablet and using the free Wi-Fi that is available in his building. Here is my question: can you recommend a tablet equivalent to those phones with the big numbers that they sell to older people? Does there exist a tablet with an interface that would be simple and easy to use for someone who has very little experience with computer GUIs?"
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Ask Slashdot: Easy Wi-Fi-Enabled Tablet For My Dad?

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  • by ColaMan (37550) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @06:25AM (#45631615) Homepage Journal

    1. Pick any android tablet.
    2. Select "Font Size: Huge"

    The interface is dumbed-down pretty well already because it's touch based.

    (Yes, you could go an iPad I suppose. *rolls eyes* :-P)

  • Get an iPad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KliX (164895) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @06:26AM (#45631621)

    Got one for my mum - problem solved.

    Didn't even have to explain how to use it!

  • Re:iPad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dreamchaser (49529) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @06:37AM (#45631645) Homepage Journal

    Sure, an iPad, if the OP wants to spend twice the money that he has to. A decent Android tablet using large fonts or even a replacement launcher would be perfect.

  • Re:Get an iPad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thegarbz (1787294) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @07:15AM (#45631753)

    I tried that. No end of frustrations. It's supposedly the easiest interface in the world but she simply couldn't figure it out. When dad got his Nexus 7 she stopped playing with her iPad.

    My advice to the ask slashdot poster is find someone willing to give up their tablet for a few days as a trial before you commit to something.

  • Re:iPad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @07:25AM (#45631785) Homepage

    For gods sake man, just get him an iPad. The 9.7" model has lower DPI/bigger buttons. It's easy to use.

    The older models are cheap. Get a 2 or an Air, the other ones haven't got enough GPU power.

    Hate to agree, but yes.

    Sometimes the right tool for the job is just that, the right tool for the job.

  • by houghi (78078) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @07:46AM (#45631851)

    When my dad asked what he should buy as a computer as per normal I asked what he would be doing with it.
    Most people will answer email or web or games. His answer was "I don't know, but everybody has one." I ahve waited all my life to respond to that and the response was "Just because everybody jumps of a bridge, would you too?"
    Well, not in those words. I explained that there were better options for him. I do know that there are many old and elder people who are interested in learning how to work with a computer. My parents are just not the type. Buying a phone is a challenge. I was just able to buy a 'normal' cellphone for them. Previously I bought a phone designed for the elderly and that was too complicated. A smart phone? No way! No idea what I am going to do in the future. Perhaps I have an old Nokia lying around somewhere that I can send them.
    The ATM is going OK, but was also a challenge. It is technical after all.

    So what was the solution I have for them? Something they already have: peoples skills and a phone. If they want to contact anybody, they can call them. No need to send an email and get no reply because people forget to answer. If they want to look something up, they can go to the bar/restaurant (they live in Spain where people live more outdoor anyway) and ask somebody. The worst case scenario is that they have to buy the guy or girl a glass of wine (and get one back).

    Instead of calling me on how to turn on the screen to get to the googly page, they have (another) excuse to call me and I do the search for them. Or even worse, explain them that they have been had by entering their credit card to protect their PC and in 10 years still get charged for a program they no longer use. Or thought they were helping this nice Nigerian gentleman.

    As I know them, I knew they would not be using the computer anyway. They have never used or worked with a computer at work. So absolute zero experience. So that is why I advised against it. To me it was a technical solution for a social problem. So no-go. Computers are not always the answer. Obviously YMMV.

  • This ^ (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 08, 2013 @07:46AM (#45631855)


    My mother struggled like mad with an ipad after I lent her mine, that she decided that after all she didn't want one and stuck with her laptop. It also kyboshed her desire for an 'iphone' when after I explained that while all her friends may have one, an iphone is just a very small ipad - smaller screen, smaller icons.

    Dexterity is a problem, holding the tablet withoyt realising that your contact with the hand you are holding it with is preventing the finger on the other hand from being able to move the icons. She just ended up putting on a table flat to use in case she accidentally touched the screen in the wrong place.

    It was quite suprising as I hadn't considered that using an ipad would be that hard.

    Turns out my father also struggled with the touch-screen environment on my sister's iphone.

  • Re:Get an iPad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <> on Sunday December 08, 2013 @07:51AM (#45631867) Homepage

    If the guy in question really is that clueless the challenge will likely be explaining the internet from scratch. A cheap but good tablet like the Nexus 7 doesn't risk too much outlay if he decides to give up.

  • Re:iPad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Monoman (8745) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @08:38AM (#45631995) Homepage

    I am no Apple fan but I tend to agree just for the fact that he can take it to the store and get help if/when you are not around.

  • Re:Get an iPad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 08, 2013 @08:48AM (#45632039)

    Things that should be simple are made unnecessarily complicated on an iPad.

    To copy photos from my SLR to my iPad you should be able to just plug in the camera and copy the files over.

    Apple won't let you do that. There isn't even a USB port on the iPad. Instead, you have to copy the files to your computer, sync the files with iTunes, and have iTunes copy the files over. That seems counterintuitive. Why should I have to open up my "jukebox" program to copy photos?

    Want to share a bunch of photos from your iPad to a computer? It should be simple, you should be able to plug in the iPad into your computer, where you should see your iPad as an external drive, open it to find the folders with photos, and copy them over. iPads don't show up as external devices. Instead, you have to either 1) email the photos one by one. 2) set up an iCloud account, access the iCloud from your computer, and then download the photos from iCloud to your computer.

    On any other tablet you can just plug it in and copy files. Go with a Kindle Fire.

  • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @09:46AM (#45632247) Homepage

    For this case I think I would disagree. While I would never use it myself, iPad would be best. Having a Nexus I have to say it takes a lot of configuration and knowledge to get it working. It does not even come with working email out of the box, and needs third-party email and other apps installed to even do basic things like email.

    And these third party apps are almost certainty going to be 10 times more confusing and complicated than the built in iOS ones.

  • by the_B0fh (208483) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @09:55AM (#45632287) Homepage

    It's sad, but true. iOS still has the best accessibility options for blind and low vision users. Well, you might as well say it's the only option as it's completely unmatched.

    I don't get the hurt. Why is it sad but true? Apple puts the time and resources into doing it right, and it is a sad thing?

  • Re:iPad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tverbeek (457094) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @09:58AM (#45632315) Homepage
    Did you read the question? How are the cameras and higher resolution worth anything to a man in his 70s who just wants to read e-mail and watch movies? The high pixel density on the latest displays is wasted on someone with declining eyesight and presbyopia (and encourages app developers who don't understand this to use tiny fonts, just because they can). And I can't recall the last time I used a camera while reading e-mail or watching a movie. He was asking about a tablet for his father, not for you.
  • by the_B0fh (208483) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @10:02AM (#45632331) Homepage

    Wow. When you were growing up, they spent their time and resources to teach you and help you learn. Now that they're old, you are not willing to help them and teach them, and actively fight to keep them away from a computer because they might call you for help.

    What a whiny little asshole.

  • Re:iPad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by xenoc_1 (140817) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @10:05AM (#45632349)

    And updates and patches matter in this use case, exactly why? Elderly person wanting to send some emails, browse some sites. Not needing nor wanting nor likely even aware of "latest and greatest"?

    Get out of your own headspace and into that of the person using it.

  • Re:iPad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xenoc_1 (140817) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @10:08AM (#45632363)

    My Samsung galaxy tab 2.

    I installed cyanogenmod and its going to get "kitkat" shortly.

    Which expensive tablet only allows you to run what the vendor says you can?

    Same thing I said to the iPad guy. Being able to install new ROMs matters exactly why, to this use case?

    No, OP's dad isn't going to give a crap about cyanogen mod. Nor about any of the other "latest and greatest" that Android fanboyz and iFans each seem to thing is so important as you rush down to give the retailers more money every few months, and then root/jailbreak/mod the shiny you just bought.

    Everyone is not you.

  • Re:iPad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alfredo (18243) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @12:31PM (#45633187)
    iPads have VoiceOver, Zoom, Large Text, White on Black, Speak Selection, Speak AutoText, Mono Audio, AssistiveTouch, and Triple-Click Home. What they don't provide, third party developers provide.
  • by Mr_Silver (213637) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @02:46PM (#45633765)

    I don't get the hurt. Why is it sad but true? Apple puts the time and resources into doing it right, and it is a sad thing?

    A not-so-small subset of the Slashdot crowd don't like the direction that Apple, driven by actually understanding the needs of the average customer, are moving general computing.

    They seem to dislike it even more when Apple can charge a premium and millions will more than happily pay it to escape (what they perceive as) the mundane and bizarre decisions fostered on them by decades of techies who never really understood or listened to what the largest segment of the customer base actually wanted - or didn't want to think about.

There is hardly a thing in the world that some man can not make a little worse and sell a little cheaper.