Tablet for all generations? Would the Surface Pro 3 work for my parents?The secret is out, the Surface tablets are not just for the young any more. Oh sure, Microsoft is still targeting college students by offering Surface Pro 3 is really a tablet for all generations, including the elderly.
Our retired parents have finally gotten into the digital age and apps like Facebook have become favorites for both keeping up with the rest of the family, i.e. kids and grandkids, but also for those “oh so fun” Facebook games – I can’t tell you how many Candy Crush and Farmville invites I get from them every day! I finally had to block the notifications.
They also discovered Amazon shopping, books online, and penny stock investing. Oh and don’t forget the daily news and showing off the grandkids’ pictures to all their friends!
And why not? Why should the young be the only ones enjoying the benefits of technology?
In a recent article on the Grain of Salt site titled “Would that also be something for me?” Beginner’s tablet (for all generations) the author reviewed the Galaxy Tab 3 from the prospective of a best tablet for her parents. She touched on things like display size, couch use, wireless connections with the TV and more.
I liked her review so much that it got me thinking…would the Surface Pro 3 be a good tablet for our parents? The answer is a clear YES. I think I would go so far as to say that the Surface Pro 3 is the perfect tablet suited for all retiree/elderly needs.
Here are some of my reasons why I think Surface Pro 3 is the best tablet for all generations:
- Large screen size
- The pen
- Ease of use
- Light weight
- Skype integration
- Facebook and other apps
- Type covers/docking stations
Let me take these one at a time…
1. The Surface Pro 3 – Tablet for All Generations: Large screen
The screen on the Surface Pro 3 simply cannot be beat. It is a 12” widescreen and about as close to an 8.5”x11” sheet of paper as you can get on any tablet – let’s face it, our parents grew up with paper. You can adjust the screen resolution to make everything look bigger all the way down to 1024 x 768 – not for me but for someone with eyesight problems that could be the thing – or all the way up to its native 2160 x 1440. You can also zoom in and out on just about anything specific that you may want to see in large scale.
Oh and let’s not forget the Windows tiles size adjustability, most can be set from small to medium to large to wide – that’s a nice range to find the sweet spot for those aging eyes. The colors of the screen are exceptional and video streaming and Netflix watching is superb. And the adjustable kickstand is quite nice for adjusting the viewing angle to your preference.
2. The Surface Pro 3 – Tablet for All Generations: The pen
OK, I don’t know if our parents would like to draw or even write with this pen but, it is very close to the “pen and paper” experience. More than anything, though, the pen makes it super easy to click on things – even easier than with the finger. I mean try to get your grandma to use her fingers to tap on any touch interface and then give her a pen to tap with – which do you think would be easier for her?
Right, I think it’s the pen too.
If you teach her how to operate the back button or double-click the top button to take screen shots, the sky is the limit! Watch out, you may be getting lots of emails with cool recipes all of a sudden – not that I have any experience with that.
3. The Surface Pro 3 – Tablet for All Generations: Ease of use
I have had iPads, I have had Android tablets, and now I have Surfaces, which run Windows 8.x. By far, I think the Windows touch devices are the easiest to use. This would be especially true for the majority of the elderly who usually end up with a hand-me-down PC from their kids to use for “fun”, so they already have some experience with Windows.
The learning curve is just much smaller. Windows 8.1 is easy and intuitive and it only takes a few minutes to get comfortable with it – I can’t imagine what my folks would do with an Android device, I don’t think they would even know where to start.
4. The Surface Pro 3 – Tablet for All Generations: Light weight
The Surface Pro 3 is amazingly light at 1lb 8oz, its weight rivals even the smaller-screen tablets. I, for one, put it in a sleeve and stick it in my purse… OK, it’s a tote ( Don’t tell her I edited this but it’s more like Hermione’s bag from Harry Potter – Tim 🙂 ) …and off I go.
This would be a nice, light tablet for my mother-in-law to log around to lunches with her friends. Then she can share all the awesome pictures of the grand kids with all them. The light weight also makes the Surface Pro 3 very nice for couch surfing; it rests lightly on the lap and is far less likely to be dropped because of heavy weight.
5. The Surface Pro 3 – Tablet for All Generations: Skype integration
Skype is something we introduced Tim’s parents to earlier this year. It provides us with an easy way to reach them, even if we can’t be there in person. They seem to really like seeing us, rather than just hearing us, and besides Tim’s mom is always on the computer so it’s easy to give her a quick Skype call.
When we move abroad (if you haven’t heard about this check out our blog AbroadDreams.com) Skype will be a far easier and cheaper way to keep in touch. The Surface Pro 3 comes with the Skype app pre-installed and with the front and rear cameras it makes a video call super easy.
6. The Surface Pro 3 – Tablet for All Generations: Facebook and other apps
First, since Surface Pro 3 is a full blown Windows 8.1 device, pretty much any Windows program can be installed. For example, your favorite games, reading materials, or Facebook. I don’t mean just Windows Store apps either, though they can also be installed, I mean the millions of programs created for the full-blown Windows Operating System.
In addition, it also uses the “full-version” of browsers (i.e. Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome) so using Facebook online and its many great games provides the same experience as on any PC. This is far better than the often scaled-down mobile version of these apps you find on other touch devices.
7. The Surface Pro 3 – Tablet for All Generations: Type covers/docking stations
If your parents are used to using a keyboard and like it, the type cover is a great plus for Surface Pro 3. It essentially turns the tablet into a laptop and makes typing easier.
If the small keyboard is not enough, a docking station for the Surface is excellent for setting up a small home office with a full size keyboard, monitor and mouse. I set mine up recently and love it! See post, My New Home Office with Surface Pro 3.
I think the Surface Pro 3 is an excellent option for all generations, and by far the best one out there for the older folks. It offers a large screen, light weight, a laptop or desktop equivalent usability, and much more. If you happen to have one, try letting your parents use it and let us know how it goes.
Do your elderly parents or grandparents use a tablet? Tell us about it..
Joanna is a former IT Director for a major public university, who gave up a high paying career to blog full time. She is proud to be a professional geek. Joanna loves all things technology and Surface tablets are her passion. She and Tim created LoveMySurface.net to help others be more productive using these awesome tablets.