Technology Series: Tablet VS Computer

shutterstock_23529769Elderly people wanting to get more technologically savvy is both a beautiful and frustrating thought. I experience this first hand every week with my elderly Grandmother who is over 80 years old and wants to learn how to shop online.  In this case, I make technology way scarier than it actually is, in reality I don’t want her spending her fixed income on useless items and exposing herself to all sorts of scams, virus’ and whatever else lurks out in the internet world, especially when I won’t always be there when she opens her email or enters in her credit card number.

There are so many options out there for adults to choose from that muddling through some of them can be hard. I do not subscribe to the belief that you buy something and learn what it does, especially with those who are less technologically savvy than I. I do however believe that you should figure out what you want to do and buy something to fit that.  With that, there is the question of Tablet VS Computer.


Tablets are handheld devices made by a variety of manufacturers.  Tablets are great for minor document work, camera, social media, some shopping, watching videos and face to face virtual chatting with Grandchildren. There are thousands of apps (short for applications) you can buy to do a variety of things on tablets.  You can also have your tablet connect to the internet without being in a Wi-Fi network, mostly offered through your cell phone carrier, which will eliminate you needing to have a Wi-Fi model at home or finding an area that has Wi-Fi available for you to use. I truly enjoy the mobility of these devices, if you already have a smartphone, the capabilities are very similar however the tablet has a larger screen.  The best thing about tablets for the purpose of this article, you can pick it up and learn how to use it almost instantly. Increase the size of apps and text with a few swipes of your finger.  Some manufactures make it so the tablet comes with voice commands without having to purchase an app.

I am not a fan of using Tablets for document work, some is fine but if you’re always typing it’s much easier and faster to use a computer.  You also have a lot more formatting options with computer document generation, which is limited in tablets. Not all websites, especially those where you enter a lot of information such as work reporting and private sites like those for colleges or certain groups, are not tablet friendly. There are also software that you would buy for a computer that offer lighter versions for tablets, or apps, however not all software are offered as apps.  So if you’re buying a tablet to do design work, you might be limited in some of the things you want to accomplish.

Price Range roughly $45-$1500 depending on the features, brand, etc. Remember the lower priced tablets will be slower and have less capabilities.


Computers can be both mobile (laptops) and stationary (desktops).  Computers can do everything that tablets can do, minus some of the available apps, and more. So much more sometimes that if you don’t have previous computer experience, you’re facing a large learning curve.  Just to change the size of icons and fonts can take a while to find, if you find it at all.  There is also a lot more regular maintenance with having a computer.

Price Range roughly $200-$$$$ depending on the features, brand, etc. Check to see what you are purchasing, if you are looking at desktops you will want to make sure to get a monitor, keyboard and mouse as well, you may even be able to find a set.


These are smaller and lighter versions of laptops with limited capabilities. Most of the time you don’t have the ability to insert a disc as these don’t come with disc players, this keeps netbooks cheap and lighter in weight. I have seen a variety of netbooks with on board web cams.  If you’re looking to communicate with children or grandchildren, this feature will be important to you.

Price Range roughly $120-$$$ depending on the features, brand, etc. If you are looking for something with an on board camera, verify that this is available in the models you are looking at.

Computer and Tablet Classes

No need to be embarrassed about your lack of knowledge or wanting to learn more. Classes are usually offered by local community centers or adult education learning classes in your area, best part is that you get hands on training and smaller classes to assist you in learning your new equipment.

Additionally manufactures such as Apple offer training and support, called the Genius Bar, for your equipment (smart phones known as the iphone, computers/laptops known as MacBooks; iMacs; G5, tablets known as the iPad, tv known as Apple TV and mp3 players known as iPods) at their retail locations for free, however if you need more advanced support and/or repairs outside of your warranty period, this may cost you. I would check with the manufacturer of the device you are looking to purchase to see what their warranty and support can do for you if ever needed.  Let’s face it, technology can be difficult for even the most advanced user such as myself but remember that we all have something to learn.

Written by Valerie Michel Buck


About National Care Planning Council

The National Care Planning Council and its affiliated members are dedicated to helping families recognize the need for long term care planning. We are committed to raising awareness and providing information on common eldercare issues. Integrity, honesty, and a genuine concern for the elderly and their families are at the heart of our services.

Posted on June 9, 2014, in Technology Series and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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