What Is the AARP RealPad for Seniors? - dummies

What Is the AARP RealPad for Seniors?

By Kacey Kroh, Abshier House, Abshier House

The RealPad is a tablet computer recently developed by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), a trusted advocate of adult issues for people over 50. The RealPad tablet computer is designed specifically for the “tech-less” or “tech shy” senior community.


AARP boosts the value of the RealPad’s $189 USD price tag by including one year of premium AARP membership, a $16 value, as well as free 24/7, easy-to-understand, live customer support for as long as you own the device. This is great for when you get stuck and need a helpful hand to walk you through getting back on track with your new tablet computer.

RealPad comes with several applications and “how-to” videos preloaded on the device. The preloaded videos walk new users through setting up and using applications like Facebook, E-mail, and Browser as well as many others. Since the device comes preloaded with the most popular apps provided by both Google and AARP, the need for creating an account with Google is not necessary (but it is recommended).

Keep in mind that no new applications can be downloaded from Google Play store unless a Gmail account is created and added to the device; however, any POP/IMAP e-mail services will still work inside the e-mail application.

The AARP preloaded apps display news, membership info, quick-fix tools, and a remote desktop client so the people at AARP 24/7 Live Support can access your device and fix any issues you can’t deal with on your own, which is great for someone who can’t ask or is embarrassed to ask a friend or family for help.

What kind of touchscreen does the RealPad have?

AARP’s RealPad comes equipped with a 7.85-inch multi-touch, multi-directional, LED capacitive screen (standard mini tablet size.) Slightly above average in quality for its size, this screen is great for viewing at any angle and compatible with standard sized screen protectors and carrying cases. The RealPad’s native resolution is 1080×768, and the on-board video card is capable of displaying games, photos, and videos in 720p high definition.

RealPad does not support magnetic cases.

What does Android 4.4 KitKat mean for RealPad?

Compared to other mini tablets, the RealPad offers a tweaked build of Android 4.4.2(KitKat) using the same operating system user interface as most tablets on the market but with enlarged icons, an AARP app dock, and larger fonts for readability.

The KitKat operating system offers ease-of-use options like “OK Google” voice activation; this means you can control different applications by talking to your tablet rather than tapping or swiping. This feature utilizes activities like “Remind Me. . .”, “Listen To. . .,” “How’s The Weather?” and many more!

What are RealPad’s photo and video capabilities?

The RealPad comes equipped with two cameras; one front-facing, 2-megapixel lens and one rear-facing, 5-megapixel lens.

The front-facing, 2.0-megapixel camera is not recommended for taking pictures but is great for video chatting with friends and family through mobile applications like Skype or Google Hangouts (make sure that you are in a well-lit area.)

The rear-facing, 5.0-megapixel camera is capable of capturing stunning HD photos and videos up to 720p resolution. Also, many photo or video editing applications can be downloaded from the Google Play store, making this an easy-to-use “go-to” device for all your personal photography needs.

What’s inside the AARP RealPad?

The RealPad comes equipped with all the standard features you would come to expect from tablets of the same size. Hundreds of dollars less than its top competitors yet priced well above the low-end models, the RealPad is a mid-grade classified device. The handheld computer includes

  • Bluetooth 4.0 — Capable of connecting to headphones, headsets, keyboards, mice, and speakers as well as in-dash automotive devices.

  • Wireless Internet/Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n — Device is WEP and WPA/WPA2 security compatible.

  • 1.5 GHz Intel Dual-Core mobile processor — Plenty of power to run any app or game.

  • 16GB memory/9.5GB available free space — Limited built-in storage for the average user.

  • Micro SD slot/up to 64GB of flash memory expansion supported — Great place to store personal files like music, photos, and videos to keep the space on the device free for mobile applications only.

  • Micro USB input — Primarily used for charging the device but also capable of connecting wired accessories like a mobile micro USB keyboard (built into some carrying cases.)

  • Dual stereo speakers and 3.5mm mono headphone jack — Headphones not included.

What makes RealPad different from other Android tablets?

If comparing the AARP RealPad to some similarly priced competitors, you will notice that the device specifications nearly mirror that of all other Android mini tablets in its class. The user interface is the same, and the applications preloaded on the device can be downloaded for free onto any Android 4.4 device.

What you don’t get from other tablets that the RealPad offers is peace of mind that the device will be usable for people who are afraid to learn how to “go digital” and embrace technology. Tutorial videos, quick-fix tools, remote desktop support, and free 24/7 live phone support as well as a 1 year free AARP membership are the added features that other devices can’t lay claim to.

If you utilize the annual membership included using all applicable membership discounts available to you; the discount savings will outweigh the cost of the device, making this product a good buy.