AARP Debuts RealPad Tablet

AARP debuted its first-ever consumer product at the Ideas@50+ conference in San Diego last month. AARP Tablet, RealPad Front View

Called RealPad, it’s bigger than a smartphone yet smaller than a laptop computer. The tablet was designed with tech-shy people in mind, AARP says, making it easy for them to keep in touch with family and friends — including their grandkids, for whom the art of letter writing is often a lost cause.

Helping people navigate the digital age is important to AARP, says CEO Jo Ann Jenkins: “Technology helps people stay connected and avoid isolation.”

RealPad “fills an unmet need in the technology marketplace,” Jenkins says. AARP estimates there are more than 35 million people over the age of 50 today who are online but not using tablets because they find the technology confusing, intimidating or too costly.

“Our members have frequently said that the complexity, frustration and headaches of using technology just aren’t worth the trouble,” Jenkins said in a statement.  “RealPad is our answer” to address those challenges, she said.

AARP’s device is powered by chipmaker Intel and uses the Android operating system. Among the tablet’s many features are free 24/7 customer service support with a live expert, pre-loaded how-to videos and a free one-year membership to AARP, the nation’s largest group advocating for older Americans. The device has a 7.85-inch screen,  a 2.0 megapixel front-facing and 5.0 megapixel rear-facing cameras and 16GB of memory. The retail price is $189.

>> Get discounts on electronics with your AARP Member Advantages.

To take full advantage of RealPad’s capabilities, you’ll need a wireless (Wi-Fi) connection to access the Web and other online features. You’ll also need a home router. If you don’t have wireless at home, many public places (libraries, coffee shops and others) often offer free Wi-Fi. An exclusive feature of RealPad is the RealQuickFix button, which monitors the tablet’s performance and will let you diagnose and fix problems on the fly.

When you’re not connected you can still play games, read downloaded e-books (including those from AARP), watch stored videos and do other activities on your RealPad.

Preorders for RealPad can be placed at The tablets are available at Walmart stores nationwide.

Introducing RealPad by AARP







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ph1349 5pts

I was hoping there would be an option for entering a review of the AARP I-Buddie tablet. As soon as I saw an ad on TV for the AARP tablet I ordered one. It was exactly what I had been wanting because I couldn't figure out what a tablet would be good for. My grand kids have Apple I-Pads and play games on them all the time. My grand son is a special needs student so he uses his tablet at school so he can enlarge the font of text so it is easier for him to read. But why would I need one? and how do they work? Since this tablet was advertised as having 24/7 live support and many "how to" videos it looked prefect for me.

I love my AARP tablet. I too have found games I enjoy doing, mostly word-search type games. I have added home screen buttons for my favorite websites and it is so easy to go directly to a site by just touching the icon on the home screen. I love the keyboard that pops up whenever I want to enter text on a screen such to do a search on Wikipedia, or find a site I visit often. (But now that I know how to add a button that takes me directly to the site I don't need to search that often.)

I was already familiar with using a computer hooked up to our home network by WIFI so that was easy for me. For someone who is completely new to computers and the internet they will still have lots of questions. I already knew how to add an product to our home WIFI and the one at our daughter's house because we all have Kindles that work at both homes. A friend has an i-pad and she only uses it for paying her bills from her bank checking account and she doesn't have a home WIFI. I don't know what WIFI system she uses because most are password protected and you have to know the password to hook up to them. Maybe her home is near a public WIFI spot, I don't know. Her bank set up her electronic bill pay system for her.

The only concern I have is that the battery life on this tablet is only about 5 hours. That is fine if I am home since I can recharge it while I'm using it with the cord for my husband's phone and my Kindle recharger cord. I gave the shorter cord that came with the tablet to my husband to use on his phone because it is nice and short  and coiled so it makes less of a mess on the kitchen counter where he recharges his phone. I have power strips by my computer and my craft table and needed longer cords to reach them so trading cords worked well.

I bought an external battery from Amazon to take along if I want to use the tablet away from home. I also got a universal power cord for use in the car so the battery won't be used up if I am a passenger on longer trips. I found a foux leather case for less than $10 that also acts as a kick stand to hold the tablet at the right angle for reading. Also earbuds for listening to classical music on Pandora (free radio!). When shopping for the accessories I looked for items that had "Android" in the name or description since the AARP I-Buddie seems to be an Android device (as opposed to Apple products.) 

The only product that doesn't work perfectly is the earbuds but there are so many brands I'll just have to keep looking to find one that works well. I have tried two brands so far and one stopped working on the second day and the other has a button on the cord to press if the person is using them on a phone and wants to interrupt what they are listening to talk on the phone. I found that putting a small binder clip on the button to keep it from doing the phone interrupt worked to keep both ear buds working.

The best accessory item I bought on Amazon was a rubber tipped stylus. When the print for a link is very small on the tablet screen it won't recognize my finger when I try to touch it. Enlarging the text helps but it is still a little sluggish. The solution was an  "AmazonBasics Capacitive Stylus for Touchscreen Devices". "Capacitive" means the stylus passes an electric charge to the screen when the tip is touched to the spot you want. The stylus for older touch screen devices used the pressure of the stylus tip to activate the charge. The newer devices like this tablet send an electric charge from your skin to the device so you don't need to press hard on the screen. This stylus is perfect for touching links and works great on the word search games I like.

So there is my review of the AARP tablet. I definitely would buy it again and recommend it to others. I didn't use the phone help line but watched all the videos. With what I already knew that was all the extra help I needed. I'm sure there are lots of things the tablet can do that I haven't even found yet so I'll just keep touching dots and lines on the screen to see what they do. And for those who are afraid they might actually buy something by accident, as long as you don't enter a credit card number that can't happen. So if you are signing up for something and it asks you enter your credit card info--just don't.