Inexpensive Tablet For The Visually Impaired

A reader has a question about  tablet options for the visually impaired. She writes: “Our Lions Club president is nearly blind (can see light and dark only). He really needs to get into the digital world so he can be on a level playing field with the organization. He also volunteers at a local hospital, volunteers at blood drives, food bank volunteer. He really needs a tablet, our local blind lions club has tried to give him help but I think he’s afraid of the technology. He uses his home phone however to play games and communicate on a web with other visually impaired. The iPhone is what has been suggested, but it is too expensive. Is there a cheaper tablet that will do what he needs (receive email, send email) text etc.?

Tablet-Security

I have good news for you. If an iPhone or iPad is out of your price range, there are less expensive Android and Windows tablets that should work just fine.

I’m not clear if he already owns a smartphone or not. (you said that he uses it for playing games) If he already has a smartphone, that device can be used for sending and receiving e-mail as well as texts and visiting the web.  After all, a smartphone is really just a small tablet that makes phones calls.

All Android phones and tablets have multiple accessibility options available. If you go to settings and tap accessibility.

android accessibility

You’ll get see a menu with categories for Vision, Hearing and Dexterity.

android-accessiblity-vision

Under Vision you can turn on features like TalkBack. When turned on it describes what you’ve touched, selected and activated.

talkback-android

Text-to-speech options allow you to dictate e-mails and messages. Using Google now, you can ask questions and open apps.

You can also find accessibility apps for the visually impaired int he Google Play store that can be downloaded onto any Android device.  Given the Lions Club history of working with the visually impaired, I wouldn’t be surprised if the organization might have some suggestions as to which apps are best.

apps-for-blind

You should be able to find a decent Android tablet for under $100 and possibly for as low as $50. A Windows 10 tablet is also a great choice. There are an amazing variety of accessibility features in Windows 10, including the able voice assistant Cortana. You can find decent tablets for less than a hundred and VERY good ones for around $200.

If your friend is already using a smartphone, it may be easier to find him a tablet that uses the same operating system. That way, he’ll already have a degree of familiarity with the device. It he happens to have an iPhone, you could consider a less expensive iPad mini or perhaps a refurbished model.

Now I’m going to turn to our readers.  Those of you with vision issues, I’d like to know which tablet and apps you use and what you recommend for someone with visual impairments who is new to tablets. Let us know in the comments.

~ Cynthia

0 thoughts on “Inexpensive Tablet For The Visually Impaired

  1. I am hoping your readers will comment as well. I have a 91 year old aunt who has severe macular degeneration. She has been declared legally blind but still can see some things, some days better than others. She has a computer and still sends email to me every day – some days I can read it all or most of it and some days I haven’t a clue, it is just a lot of jumbled up letters. Her computer is made for seniors but not for vision issues. I would love to help her find something she could see better just for her own amusement. She is, like many older people, afraid to try new things, but we keep telling her it is pretty impressive she can do what little she does. When she could see, she even had a FB page, never wrote on it, but enjoyed everything we all put on it for her to read. So any and all suggestions will be appreciated by me as well.

    1. Hi, great that your senior is still techy. I suggest installing text to speech software so she can hear each letter or word she is typing. I believe you cannot read some emails because her fingers are missed placed on the keyboard. by having a text to speech she he can hear what she is typing and the same software will read your emails to her along with everything on her computer including the web. hthere are some free Text to speech software but their voices are not always easy to get used to but with any Text to speech there is a period of getting familiar with the voice that is chosen. more expensive Text to Speech software have good voices. try Free NVDA to start. hope this helped.

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