Dear Savvy Senior: Can you recommend any tablets, smartphones or computers that are specifically designed for seniors? I would like to buy a device for my technology-challenged grandmother so she can get online and keep up with her grandkids better, but it needs to be supersimplified so she can use it. — Holiday Shopper
Dear Shopper: Several new tech products on the market are designed specifically for older boomers and seniors who are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with technology.
These devices come with simplified software, big, vivid features, less clutter and better customer support packages, which make them more appealing and much easier to use than mainstream devices.
Here are several top senior-friendly options.
If you’re thinking about a smartphone for your grandmother, check out the new GreatCall Touch3. This Android smartphone, made by Samsung, has a 4-inch touch screen with an organized large-icon menu list on the home screen that gives users simple access to often-used features such as the phone, text messages, camera, pictures, email and Internet, along with your contacts and apps.
It also has a 5-megapixel camera, a full-size on-screen keyboard, and offers a variety of health and safety features such as the 5Star app that lets you immediately speak to a certified agent 24/7 who can identify your location and get you the help you need. Urgent Care, which provides access to registered nurses and doctors for advice and diagnoses. And MedCoach, which sends medication reminders.
The Touch3, available at greatcall.com or 800-918-8543, sells for $170 with a $20 introductory discount, plus a one-time activation fee of $35, and no contract is required. Monthly service plans that include unlimited 5Star and Urgent Care service start at $25. And their data plans start at $2.50 per month for 20 megabytes.
If you’re considering a tablet computer, a top senior-friendly option is AARP’s new RealPad, which costs $189 at aarprealpad.org, walmart.com/realpad or Wal-Mart stores.
The RealPad, produced in partnership with Intel, is an Android tablet with a 7.85-inch touch screen. It provides a clutter-free simplified home page with large text icons to frequently used functions such as email, social networks, weather, news, games, camera and pictures, Google, the Web, apps and more.
It also has a 2-megapixel front camera and 5-megapixel rear camera, and comes with 24/7 phone support, a bunch of tutorial videos, and a “Real QuickFix” tool that connects users to technology support agents over the Internet who can access the tablet and fix problems.
If you think your grandmother would like a desktop computer, the Telikin (telikin.com, 800-717-7640), which has been around for three years now, is an excellent choice.
This all-in-one touch-screen computer, which is ready to go right out of the box, displays a big-button menu on the screen at all times, providing simple access to most functions such as the Internet, email, games, video chat, photo sharing, news and weather, and more.
These computers, available in two sizes, the 18.6-inch Telikin Touch that costs $699, and the 22-inch Telikin Elite II for $1,079, come with built-in speakers, a Web camera, microphone, wired keyboard and mouse.
The computers also offer a “tech buddy” feature so you can access your grandma’s Telikin computer remotely from your computer to help her when she needs it.
The Telikin, which runs on Linux software instead of Windows or the Mac OS, is also virus-resistant, comes with a 60-day trial period, a one-year warranty and free tech support.
It’s also worth noting that Telikin has a partnership with firstSTREET — a senior product direct marketing company — that is also selling the 22-inch Telikin for $1,079, but have rebranded it as the “WOW! Computer for Seniors.”
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit savvysenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the “Today” show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.