Grandpad video

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GrandPad Telehealth Platform

Trusted connections drive telehealth engagement

Circle of Trust Whitelist of contacts provides a safe and secure connection to family, friends, care providers

A telehealth device is only effective if providers and patients use it. GrandPad delivers high engagement rates because the device and platform is simple, fun, engaging, and trusted by seniors. In fact, 80% of healthcare providers are able to successfully connect with senior patients on their first attempt when using GrandPad for telehealth visits.

GrandPad overcomes the engagement challenge by operationalizing trust for healthcare companies. Here’s how: Each GrandPad is programmed with a Circle of Trust for the user, so every time the device chimes, they know it’s someone who loves or cares for them and who has been approved by their family. This increases the likelihood seniors will answer the call. That, in turn, improves telehealth engagement, workflows, and outcomes.

The trusted GrandPad platform also facilitates family connections for healthcare providers with its simple video calling feature that makes it easy to support care connections and conduct family care conferences.

The GrandPad Telehealth Platform

The GrandPad Enterprise Edition is a complete telehealth solution designed to increase engagement and connections between caregivers and older adults, improve well-being, support cognitive health, and improve the lives of millions of seniors around the world. When you partner with GrandPad, you receive:

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GrandPad purpose-built tablet — Designed specifically to help seniors overcome common physical and technical challenges that traditional mobile devices pose. From the powerful, front-facing speakers to the large icons and specially designed touchscreen, GrandPad removes barriers to telehealth engagement for older users.

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GrandPad software — Each GrandPad tablet comes preloaded with all of the necessary video visit software and apps, at no additional cost. This allows your care team and the seniors you serve to begin using GrandPad immediately, right out of the easy-to-open box. Users of the GrandPad Enterprise Edition can also customize the user experience by turning off certain apps or functionality, as needed. 

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Data analytics platform — The GrandPad data analytics platform delivers actionable information about how your end users are engaging with GrandPad. Every screentap can be tracked, along with duration and time of use. Allowing you to identify changes in behaviors and proactively intervene, if needed.

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Customer care — When you choose the GrandPad Enterprise Edition for your business, your team receives hands-on support for a seamless implementation and guidance as you evolve your telehealth strategy and use of GrandPad over time. And most importantly, senior users receive our high-touch, personalized support that includes regular calls on the GrandPad to answer questions, ensure the GrandPad is working correctly, and to simply visit.

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GrandPad Curated Content — Why is GrandPad so effective at driving sustained engagement? In part because our curated content, including games, music, streaming radio, news, articles, and more make the GrandPad enjoyable and entertaining for seniors. And if they like using GrandPad for fun, they’re more likely to use it to manage their health and well-being.

No Wi-Fi? No problem.

Lack of internet access, poor signal quality, or low bandwidth are primary contributors to the digital divide that keeps seniors disconnected from family, friends, and their communities. Fortunately, GrandPad has built-in 4G LTE so you can stay connected with your users, and they can stay connected with family and friends. GrandPad goes one step farther with secure internet browsing in every device. This protects seniors from phishing scams and hacking, even when they’re surfing the web.

Doctor/patient in-progress video call
Sours: https://www.grandpad.biz/telehealth-platform

We had trouble contacting my mother-in-law for months during the lockdowns. Like many older folks, she still relied on a landline phone. When she didn’t pick up, my wife would wonder whether she was out, couldn’t hear the phone, or was unable to answer. And when she did pick up, we’d still wonder if she was really OK.

She was a professional musician before she retired and can still turn out an impressive tune on the viola, but she lacks confidence with technology. She has a mobile phone, but she insists on turning it off most of the time, despite our protests that doing so renders it useless.

We've tried to set her up with Skype for years, to no avail, and we've spent hours trying to get her up to speed on WhatsApp—only to discover she had forgotten her Wi-Fi password and hasn’t been online for months. Nothing worked until the GrandPad, a walled-garden tablet for seniors.

Designed for Elders

“Smartphones are designed by 30-year-olds for 30-year-olds,” said Scott Lien, GrandPad’s CEO and cofounder. “We set out to design a product from scratch for someone who is 80.”

Lien started the company because his elderly mother struggled to use smartphones and computers. He recruited advisers in their eighties and nineties to learn what they wanted from a device and identify common usability problems.

The GrandPad is an Acer tablet that runs a heavily customized version of Android. The specs are dated. It's about the size of an Apple iPad Mini, with an 8-inch screen, an HD pixel resolution, a Qualcomm 625 processor, 2 gigabytes of RAM, and 32 gigabytes of storage for apps and files. Both the front and rear cameras are rated at 5 megapixels. 

The tablet comes as part of a monthly subscription that costs a hefty $79 per month or $696 for the year, but it’s a complete package. There's 4G LTE connectivity out of the box, so no need to worry about Wi-Fi passwords, and it offers ad-free music streaming—with access to more than 30 million tracks (provided by 7Digital)—radio stations, “safe” web browsing, unlimited photo and video storage, and a library of games and puzzles that includes solitaire, sudoku, poker, and crosswords. If the GrandPad is ever damaged or lost, you'll get a replacement device. 

The tablet rests on a wireless charging cradle with a long power cable that’s permanently attached. My mom set hers up on the table in her living room. The screen comes to life automatically when she opens the folding cover, so she doesn't have to worry about turning it on or off, and she quickly got used to popping it on the charging stand after use to keep the battery topped up. She finds it much easier to use than her phone, thanks to the larger screen and simple interface. 

The front-facing speakers aren’t just loud, they are tuned to a frequency that makes it easier to hear for those with hearing loss. The interface features enlarged icons with text clearly labeling everything, and the contacts have photos with names beneath. There is also 24/7 support available with a real person who talks through issues and provides remote tech support when required. 

We ran through how to use it, but the first time my wife called her mom on the GrandPad she didn't pick up. A quick landline call revealed that she hadn't answered because "it didn't ring, it played a tune.” One explanation later, she started answering and making calls on the tablet, and it has been smooth sailing since.

I added classical music and crosswords, but what my mom loves most is the family photos and videos we uploaded. The GrandPad acts as a digital photo frame when it’s not in use. 

Versatile Video Calls

The GrandPad does audio calls, emails, or recorded messages, but the main attraction is video calls. One-to-one video calls are as straightforward as can be. Our regular video calls have been smooth and stable, but this will depend on your internet connection. The GrandPad has 4G LTE connectivity, which worked great for us because there was no need to connect to Wi-Fi, although this is an option. 

For folks who aren’t very mobile, you can set up the auto-answer feature, so the call will automatically start after a few rings. You can join group calls on Zoom, which works well on the tablet, but the interface has been simplified with arrows to cycle through callers or a grid view. You can also type messages that appear onscreen during a call, which can be very useful for the hearing impaired.

Because it’s portable, the GrandPad can replace a cell phone, and elders can take it with them when they go out. This could be useful if they want you to sit in on a doctor’s visit or another appointment where you can’t be there in person.  

Circle of Trust

Being able to remotely administer the GrandPad is handy. I can log in through the website or the mobile app (Android or iPhone) to tweak what appears on the tablet and review basic usage statistics to see which apps are being used. Everyone who installs the GrandPad app through an invite can call or post messages to a family feed.

Having a closed group also keeps things secure and protects your elders from online scams. Access is by invitation only. There are no cold calls or spam messages to worry about. The GrandPad keeps itself up to date, so the stress of software updates and pop-ups that often confuse older folks with regular phones and tablets is removed. All communications between the tablet and the internet are encrypted, and no phone numbers or email addresses are viewable on the GrandPad.

Is It Worth It?

The GrandPad is not perfect. It feels a lot like a sturdier version of Amazon's Fire HD 8 tablet. There isn't much lag, perhaps because the software is so tightly controlled, so you can't install a lot of junk. (There's no Play Store access.) The screen froze up once during a call, but it righted itself within a few minutes. We've been using it for around six weeks and haven't encountered any other problems. 

The effort to keep things simple is understandable, but a few features are missing. The option to watch video from services like Netflix might be welcomed by some folks, as would the ability to read ebooks. A medication reminder feature would be useful for many. If this is the do-it-all device that an older person uses to go online, these extras would add value.

You could try and cobble together a similar solution yourself and set up a phone or tablet for your elder, but it won’t be as slick or intuitive as the GrandPad. You also have to pay quite a bit for an unlimited data plan, which is included as standard here, and there's the music and games on top.

But deciding whether the GrandPad justifies the cost is about more than a feature list. When my mother-in-law fell ill, the value of face time through video calls came into sharp relief. My wife was very grateful to be able to look her in the eyes and make sure she was coping. It brought us peace of mind. Her mother loves to see the grandkids more often, and she saw her son who lives overseas face-to-face for the first time in a few years.

Ultimately, the GrandPad is a reliable way to stay connected with even the most technophobic of elderly loved ones when you aren’t able to visit in person, and it’s hard to put a price on that.

If you buy the GrandPad direct, it costs $79 per month with a $29 setup and shipping fee, or $696 for the year with free shipping and setup. Buy it through Consumer Cellular and it's $250 upfront and $40 a month. It's also available from TechSilver in the UK and Ireland.

Sours: https://www.wired.com/review/grandpad-tablet/
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Screenshots

Description

IMPORTANT NOTE: Only download this app if you or a member of your family are a current member of the GrandPad service.

GrandPad allows you to communicate with your family in a simple, safe and fun way! With this app, you can send photos, video call, and share with everyone in your family.

A companion application to the GrandPad tablet. Keep grandma and grandpa in the social media and communication loop by means of video calling, emailing, and sharing photos/videos. Also, see instant updates from those in your family circle.


Feature Highlights:

- See photos & videos posted by contacts in your trusted friends & family circle.
- Share memories by posting photos & videos for those in your GrandPad contacts to see.
- Contribute to the conversation by commenting back and forth with friends and family on shared posts. Even listen to voice comments left by your loved ones.
- Link your social media accounts, allowing them to post to GrandPad whenever you share new photos & videos.
- Call, text, email, and make video calls with those in your always up-to-date GrandPad contact list.
- See what the weather’s like where your friends and family live.
- Invite new contacts to the family circle using their phone number and/or email address from your device’s contact book.
- Keep your profile and contact information up-to-date & stay connected with your closed friends & family circle. Add multiple phone numbers & email addresses to your profile to ensure your loved one knows it’s you when you are trying to contact them.
- Get in touch with our member experience team for any questions you have about GrandPad.
- Get notified for new posts, comments, video calls, and updates from GrandPad.

Version 6.379.25464

We are always striving to improve our app so that you can stay connected to your loved ones!
-- Various bug fixes, performance, and usability enhancements
-- iOS 15 support

Ratings and Reviews

Embraced by a technophobe nonagenarian

Over the years we tried to get my mom, now 92, to use various electronics like a laptop or iPad with disastrous results. She’s smart and an avid reader but is practically a Luddite. She barely uses the cell phone. I got her the GrandPad a couple of years ago when I read about its features and design—maybe this will work? It’s been a huge hit with her. Best part: she took ownership of it, figuring out how to use features on her own. I got it in large part because she is extremely hard of hearing and the feature allowing for typing what you are saying so she can read it in real time was a godsend. It turns out, though, that she also loves features that I didn’t think were a big deal, like the weather app and the online encyclopedia—she uses both every day. It’s very secure and the user can only have access to websites the administrator (in this case, me) authorizes. I added CNN and NPR at her request. She also figured out how to take photos and videos with it, which she posts on it for the rest of us to see and comment on; we can also post pics and videos. It’s been especially nice to have during the pandemic—it’s helped a lot with keeping her connected to her family. I highly recommend it; it’s worth trying even if your family member typically struggles with electronics.

Thank you for taking the time to leave a positive review. It is so heartwarming to read how much your mom is enjoying using her GrandPad to stay connected with her loved ones. All the Best, The GrandPad Team

Great to keep in touch

My mom is 87 and has no experience with technology. I was concerned about her during and not being able to have visitors. It has been the best thing. She is hard of hearing and can hear better on this app instead of the phone.
The only thing I would suggest is to contact customer service before purchasing so they can check the signal. The device I got was preloaded with T-mobile and there was no signal where my mom lives. I called customer service and they found ATT had a very strong signal so they sent a new SIM card and it has worked great. She ended up in the hospital a week after she got this and it has been great to check on her and be able to see her. We also love being able to send her pictures. She enjoys the games and articles as well.
And the customer service reps are amazing!

Family Connecting at its Best

I bought the Grandpad for my mom as a way to help her feel less isolated during this awful pandemic. She is a woman who has never owned a computer or knows how to work one. But the Grandpad is so user friendly that she quickly came to love viewing all the photos and videos that I and my siblings have posted and continue to post. She stays updated about her children, her grandchildren and her great grandchildren. She also uses it as a phone and likes to video chat with it which enables her to see her loves of her life. Although, she doesn’t use all the features that the Grandpad has to offer, she seems very satisfied with it. My siblings and I enjoy it immensely as well as it keeps us all in touch as to what is happening in each other’s lives.

Thank you for taking the time to share this wonderful review. We are so happy to hear that the GrandPad is helping your family to stay more connected. All the Best, The GrandPad Team

The developer, GrandPad Inc., indicated that the app’s privacy practices may include handling of data as described below. For more information, see the developer’s privacy policy.

Data Linked to You

The following data may be collected and linked to your identity:

  • Contact Info
  • Identifiers
  • Usage Data
  • Diagnostics

Privacy practices may vary, for example, based on the features you use or your age. Learn More

Information

Seller
GrandPad Inc.

Size
87.6 MB

Category
Lifestyle

Compatibility
iPhone
Requires iOS 10.0 or later.
iPad
Requires iPadOS 10.0 or later.
iPod touch
Requires iOS 10.0 or later.
Languages

English, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, Spanish

Age Rating
4+

Copyright
© 2021 GrandPad Inc.

Price
Free

Supports

  • Family Sharing

    With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.

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Sours: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/grandpad/id904069946
Tablets for Seniors: Introduction

GrandPad is probably the most widely publicized example of a product category we call "Senior-friendly Tablets".

Senior-friendly Tablets are designed to provide the key functions of a consumer "tablet", but with an interface that is designed to be "simpler" than a normal consumer product, and designed to address some specific needs that some "seniors" and non-tech-savvy individuals have.

Our reviewers thought the GrandPad was an excellent product, carefully designed for a very specific demographic. However, to accomplish some of the design goals of ease-of-use and security, the company has made tradeoffs that make it less flexible and capable in some areas than a conventional consumer tablet — as have its competitors in the senior-friendly tablet category.

Each of the products in the senior-friendly tablet category makes different tradeoffs between ease of use and flexibility.

The key questions to consider in deciding whether this is the right product for a specific individual are:

  • whether the individual fits the profile appropriate for a "senior-friendly tablet" at all (rather than a conventional consumer tablet); and
  • which of the available senior-friendly tablets strikes the right balance between available features, and ease of use — for the specific individual.

This product was one of three we compared in "Best "Senior Tablet": Which to Choose?". To learn how to answer the questions above for a specific situation and specific person, read that article.

Below you can read our detailed review of the GrandPad.

GrandPad interface

Caption: GrandPad simple user interface

Virtual Connections: The Killer Apps

Senior-friendly Tablets are one of several types of products that people are using to have better "virtual connections" with older adults — especially with older adults at a distance, or who cannot be visited as a result of COVID.

The "killer Apps" for better virtual connection vary from person to person, but usually include some type of video interaction, and/or some type of photo sharing. In addition to the senior-friendly tablets, there are a variety of other tools that older adults are having success with — ranging from conventional consumer products like Amazon's Echo Show or video calling apps like Zoom or Facetime, to a variety of more special-purpose products such as digital photo frames and special purpose apps that run on a TV.

  • If you are looking for a product to help you have "virtual connections" with an older adult who is not very "tech-savvy", the "senior-friendly tablet" category (which includes GrandPad) represents one type of solution. You can see an overview of this category — as well as other product categories that enable virtual connections — in "Virtual Connections for the Tech-Challenged".
  • If you need virtual connection tools for the "tech-savvy", read Best Video Call Technology.

Our Key Takeaways: GrandPad

This is an excellent product for people who live in a facility or home and need / want a device that does not require support from staff or family members — and see a "simplified" interface and a restricted set of features as a plus not a minus.

It is very "locked down", which means there is much less chance of things going wrong than with a more flexible device. However, the downside of this is a lack of flexibility. For example, you can't just download any old App that seems useful.

It is clear that simplicity of operation, and lack of confusing adjustments was a critical design goal for this product. Overall, we think this is a very good thing, given the target use case of the non-tech-savvy senior, potentially with some cognitive impairment.

There are some instances where we would have liked more adjustability, and we mention that in the observations under each section. Clearly there is a tradeoff, that is dependent on the skills of the specific customer, between simpilicity and adjustability. 

These aspects of the product are especially noteworthy.

  • GrandPad is based on what the company describes as a "Purpose-built Tablet". This is an important detail, as it means that the product incorporates several key features that are hard to find in a conventional tablet. The hardware-related features we think are especially important are improved sound; and wireless charging.
  • It has excellent curated messaging apps that protect your loved one from unwanted email, phone, text, and video calls.
  • It includes wireless charging and an auto on/off power flip-case — which is a feature we really like. 
  • It comes with the typical “big button” display found on most “senior-friendly tablets".
  • It has a selection of curated apps, in addition to the usual curated video calling. However you can not easily add extra Apps if you want a capability that does not come "out of the box".
  • It can be ordered pre-configured for your loved one so that it can be drop-shipped to them — reducing (maybe completely eliminating) the need for anyone at the older adult's house or apartment to interact with the device beyond plugging it in.
  • The setup instructions were self-explanatory.
  • Video-based tech support is excellent. In our opinion, the GrandPad has the best support of any of the products we evaluated in the senior-friendly tablet category. One of the best features for those of you looking for hands-off support is that your loved one can interact with GrandPad’s tech support via an on-screen button push to do a video chat. GrandPad support can also make remote changes to the GrandPad.
  • A number of the product's "adjustment options" are hidden from the everyday user, but can be unlocked or made available upon request from the tech support team at GrandPad. This includes things like volume and brightness adjustability, and access to battery life displays and WiFi and cellular signal strength display. These are NOT well documented. You need to ask.
  • "Nice to haves" that are missing: calendar and reminders with some feedback to caregivers; books you could read (through Kindle or Audible); a music app like Spotify that allows more custom selections of music; option to get a larger screen size.

Finally, GrandPad tells us they recently (as of Dec 2020) enrolled their one millionth customer (including seniors and family members). This is an impressive number, and suggests they might by now have moved well beyond the sort of teething troubles that beset many "new" companies in this space.

Key Questions: Senior-friendly Tablets

Here is our table of some of the most important questions relevant to the "senior-friendly" tablet product category, and what the answers are for this product: GrandPad. Scroll down to see more detail about these issues.

QuestionAnswer for GrandPad
How much "setting up" needs to be done in the home of the "senior", and by whom?

Very little. The GrandPad is configured at the "factory" by the company, in consultation with a designated "Family Administrator" who provides key pieces of information, like contacts to be preloaded, which carrier might work, and whether or not WiFi will be used, and what the WiFi password needs to be.

How "fool-proof" is the connectivity?

It's pretty fool-proof. If your loved one is experiencing a problem with the Wi-Fi connections, GrandPad support can connect through the cellular connection and adjust the Wi-Fi settings.

What happens when it "doesn't work"?If it doesn’t work: GrandPad has an outstanding video chat support right on the GrandPad screen where they can make changes to the configuration. For example. If you plan to use Wi-Fi, but it is not working, the support team can connect through cellular and change the Wi-Fi settings.
If the older adult lives in a senior living facility or has a carer, does that third party need to interact with the product?

No help needed: The only thing that needs to be done when the GrandPad is received is to unbox it and plug in the charging cradle. After placing the GrandPad on the charging cradle, just wait a couple of minutes as the GrandPad turns on and is ready to use. 

How does it get charged, and does that cause possible "issues"?

It charges wirelessly. There is no need to plug the tablet in. It has a neat wireless charging stand (that you do need to plug in) that can charge with the cover open or closed. It has an indicator light plus it plays a sound when charging has started. It also doesn’t matter if it's upside down.

Does it have a simple user interface, that can help avoid confusion when the older adult is using it?

Yes. It has large icons that can start an app and a large back button to exit any of the apps and to get back to the main screen

Does it provide key functionality that makes it an important tool that goes beyond a telephone in value to the older adult and their family?

Yes. The killer app is video chat which is handled though a curated (private) application so that only family members can contact the user. It applies the same principle to messaging allowing only family members to send and receive text messages & emails. GrandPad users can place phone calls to any number, but only receive calls from family members.

Is there a critical "missing functionality" (for the use case of a non-tech-savvy older adult living at a distance from tech-savvy helpers)?Not really. There are some extras we think would make it even better (see below) but overall it has the basics.
In which life situation is this product especially appropriate (more than a conventional consumer tablet for example)?

See "Best Senior Tablet" for an extensive discussion of the appropriate senior tablet for each of several different specific life situations.

Hardware, Set Up, Connectivity, Charging, Support

GrandPad has obviously spent a lot of energy thinking about how to make the basics simple — and you can see the results in the way that the GrandPad tablet handles tasks like charging, adjusting, setting up, and connecting to the Internet.

The Tablet Itself (the Hardware)

The actual tablet on which this is based is manufactured by a well known tablet manufacturer (Acer) rather than GrandPad — which adds its software and provides the entire system plus accompanying services to the customer. The system runs on a version of the Android operating system.

The tablet is a "custom tablet", rather than a regular commercially available tablet, and includes some purpose-built features.

The positive aspects of this approach are that the tablet has unusual and important advantages over competitors in key areas like ease of charging, and quality of sound. And, according to GrandPad, it also has a touchscreen that works better with dry fingers than does a normal tablet touchscreen.

Also, by tightly controlling both the software and hardware, GrandPad can make sure there are not odd compatibility glitches — such as sometimes occur when mixing and matching hardware and software in open ecosystems like the Android and Wintel worlds.

The possible downside (although we saw no evidence of that in our evaluations) is that the tablet might not be the "latest", and the operating system it runs on might not be "the latest version of Android".

Key Observations:

  • The Tablet is an Acer A8202 8” tablet with front-facing speakers which provides great directional sound to your loved one.
  • This larger bezel does tend to make the tablet about 8 oz heaver than other 8” tablets.  Most tablets have thin edge-mounted speakers as they prefer to have very thin screen bezels.
  • Since GrandPad provides all the updates remotely, I am not concerned about what version of Android the device is running.

Setting Up and Configuring the GrandPad

The actual setup process is handled after the order is placed.

One family member, who is designated the Family Administrator (FA), gets an email to log into GrandPad Central, where they add contacts, photos, and app preferences.

When the loved one receives the GrandPad, it is fully personalized. The FA never actually has to touch the GrandPad, as it's drop-shipped to the loved one.

One thing that I’d like to point out is the importance of having an initial configuration discussion with tech support so that they can fully understand how your loved one will use this product.

Here are some examples of settings that can be adjusted during setup to accomodate specific life situations. These are intentionally NOT things the older adult can easily adjust for themselves.

  • Does your loved one have any sight or hearing issues? There are remote adjustments that can be made.
  • Does Consumer Cellular or T-Mobile have good service in their area? Verizon or ATT are options too.
  • Would you like cellular signal strength and battery level indicators? These can be added during setup.

Wi-Fi set up: 

GrandPad comes pre-loaded with 4G LTE so it can connect to the Internet right out of the box. In addition, the user can optionally connect to WiFi.

And here is a feature we especially like. Once any "connected product" arrives at the facility or home where the older adult who will be using it lives, there is always the critical step of getting it connected to the facility or home WiFi network.

For the GrandPad there are several options, none of which need a facility staff or family member to intervene.

  • In the factory configuration, they can pre-enter the WiFi password and network name so long as you find it out in advance and tell them.
  • Alternatively, if the tablet is initially set up to use cellular connection, you don't need WiFi at all.
  • Finally, another option is to start with the cellular connection, after which the support team (from GrandPad) can interact with the GrandPad remotely and configure the WiFi for you.

How "Updates" are Handled

One of the most challenging issues relating to "keeping a connected device running in a remote location where you can't touch it" is how the inevitable regular software updates are handled.

The last thing you want is the phone call from your mother in the senior living facility who says ....

"The tablet doesn't work anymore"

.... because it just did an autoupdate that broke something, or because there is a message on the screen that says something like "do you want to update now?"

Here is how GrandPad handles updates:

  • GrandPad automatically handles all updates, including Android updates. So, the older adult should NOT get pesky messages asking them to "update now", or "accept this".

This is pretty important. We did not experience an update ourselves, so don't have first hand evidence it works as smoothly as the support team tell us it will. But we don't have reason to doubt it either.

Connectivity

While this product can work with multiple cell carriers and or WiFi, it does not come by default with all those options. You need to request them, and get them set up in advance.

Key observations:

  • The tablet is carrier-locked and must be ordered from the correct provider.
  • The default T-Mobile cellular connection did not work well in my area. They sent me a replacement GrandPad that worked fine on Verizon, in certain locations in my home.
  • Tech support was able to add a “Settings” icon to my GrandPad so that I could connect to Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi and cellular signal strength and speed test can be displayed in the optional “Settings” icon. It was nice to have Wi-Fi as an option.

Charging

This product has a well implemented charging stand, that is "always plugged in" and which wirelessly charges the tablet when it is placed on the stand.

Key observations:

  • Very well-designed charging stand that doesn’t require precise tablet placement (although the tablet needs to be in landscape mode not portratit mode);
  • Wireless charging resolves the problem of connecting a charging cable into a small charging port.
  • An optional battery-level indicator near the clock can be added to the display by tech support.

GrandPad off charger

Caption: GrandPad tablet and charger (the tablet sits in the charger stand when in use).

Case

The GrandPad has a special case (the tablet is custom) that is designed to work simply with the charging stand, and that turns the tablet on and off when you open the case (like an iPad case). Overall this works well. There were some features we did not like, but they were not deal breakers.

GradPad case

Key observations:

  • The weight of the device with a case is 1lb 14oz, making it 8oz heavier than an iPad mini with a similar case.
  • The auto on/off feature is very nice but has a thin tri-fold case that is not ideal ergonomically in some situations. It's very similar to a typical iPad case, however.
  • We would prefer there to be more options for case design, including more comfortable ones with a handle. It’s challenging to use the GrandPad seated on a couch for long periods.

Screen & Sound Quality

Both sound and screen are good, but lack of adjustability was an issue in several situations.

Key observations:

The screen is excellent but lacks any adjustment.

  • It’s set to full-bright by default. We would have liked there to be some auto-adjustment of brightness, as we found it too bright when sitting on the couch in reduced lighting while watching TV.
  • It's only available in an 8” screen. We would have preferred the option to have a larger screen (eg 10").

Front-mounted speakers work very well. Volume adjustment is not ideal.

  • Interestingly, the tablet’s volume controls are hidden by design under the cover. We found the volume steps too large and there is no indicator of current setting.
  • The sound is good, but the only volume adjustments are in whatever app is open. It does not appear to remain at the last sound level set. 
  • Tech support can adjust the maximum volume level.

Screen Saver

The GrandPad has a very nice screen saver that acts as a photo-frame, with no buttons obscuring a full-screen display.

Key observations:

  • Alternates with Time/Date/Weather display.
  • The picture display period can be adjusted by tech support.

Support Options

While most senior tablet vendors offer only phone/email/chat, GrandPad offers support through a video link. You can interact via video with a "personal advisor". We thought this was an excellent feature and one which sets this product apart from competitors.

GrandPad Tech Support

Key observations:

  • The tech support person can both view and control the GrandPad.
  • Tech support was very friendly and helpful in a video chat.

Grand Pad Apps & Capabilities

One of the most important aspects of the senior-friendly tablet is which apps exactly are installed on it, and whether or not you can add extra apps.

Video Calling and Messaging

The product has a very well-done, curated video calling and messaging app, that restricts video and messaging to family members.

It only allows one to one calls (ie not group video) but you can add Zoom too if you want a more powerful video solution (see below).

Key observations:

  • Video calls can be initiated from either end (by the older adult or by the family member).
  • Family members can make video calls using the GrandPad App, which can run on either an Android device or Apple device (smartphone or tablet).
  • Excellent options for loved one & caregiver when the call is not answered.
  • Family members can receive calls with the app closed, even on the iPhone!
  • Family members can even record a video call with the loved one to relive the calls.
  • Tech support can add an on-screen keyboard for creating emails rather than the normal voice recorded emails.

GrandPad video messages

Zoom

In addition to the built-in, real-time video calling app, GrandPad also offers Zoom, which allows group video chat. The process for using Zoom is less "easy" than other aspects of the product.

Key observations:

  • Zoom invitations are received via email and can be started by this 4-click sequence:
    • Read the email
    • Click on the Blue Join Zoom Call button
    • Click on the Green Join Meeting button
    • Click on the Join with Video

Photos

The Photo feature is well designed from the point of view of the older adult, but for the "FA", it is a bit less simple than I would have liked.

Key observations:

  • The photos you add will be used in Photo Frame screen saver.
  • I was able to add a video as well as regular photos. In other words, the "photo" feature allows you to upload photos and or videos. I am not sure if there are size limits to how many you can upload.
  • You add photos from the Grandpad mobile app.

The Internet: Senior-friendly Big-controls Browser

To access the Internet, the user sees a version of an Internet browser with BIG controls (large buttons for Quit, Previous, Reload, Up, Down,  Text Size and Volume), and a simple clear interface. This is a strength of the product.

Key observations:

  • No Progress bar on web page loads, which can lead to the loved one tapping a second time in frustration. 
  • The Family administrator can choose which web sites appear with a big button for each site. I added YouTube, and Tech-Enhanced Life buttons.

Weather

The "weather" feature is very nicely implemented, showing the older adult the weather at their location as well as the weather at the location of their family member. Each of the two weathers are clearly shown, together with photos of the people to avoid confusion. 

GrandPad weather

Key observations:

  • Can easily view own weather AND family member’s weather.

Phone

This feature is very well implemented, with big icon screen buttons and a picture of the callee. This is integrated with the Video calling option. 

GrandPad calling

Key observations:

  • Can make phone calls to contacts — or (using a dial pad) to anyone.
  • Can receive phone calls from people who have the GrandPad app and are on the contact list. 

Entertainment: Listen to Music

Being able to listen to music is an important feature, and this product has that capability. It comes with some pre-programmed "libraries" of music, which we found a bit more limited that we would have preferred. However, GrandPad told us that you could manually search a database of 30 million songs, and add those to your list of favorites if you like. 

Key observations:

  • Several genres, but minimal selections (5 songs) per session. 
  • Can save favorites and add more each session.
  • The background music option is excellent, but no volume adjustment on the main screen.
  • Volume control jumps in BIG steps.
  • We could NOT access Amazon Music, or Spotify — both of which we think would be very useful.

Camera

There is a camera button that can be used to take photos or videos using the rear or front camera.

Key observations

  • You can save the photos or share them with your family. Photos you take get saved to your Photos collection that can be viewed with the photos button.
  • Note, you can only share the photo or video before it is saved, not after it's in the “All photos”.

Needs Improvement, Not "Perfect", Missing

While we think GrandPad has done a good job of including the "essential apps" (see above), there were some "extras" our reviewer would have liked to have as well, and some "room for improvement" in some areas.

Entertainment: Watch Videos

While a tablet normally offers the potential for watching videos, this product does not allow you to watch video on the internet at all easily. You can send the older adult a video via the "Photo" capability. But they cannot watch Amazon Prime or YouTube easily.

Key observations:

  • We could not watch videos on Amazon Prime or Netflix or Hulu.
  • If you want to share a video you created with a loved one, you can do that via the "Photos" feature above.
  • YouTube. I was able to logon in and view my YouTube library. This will be great for loved ones who want to enjoy videos. However, to do that I needed to adjust some settings relating to cookies, and enter my YouTube log in information. I am not at all sure the typical user and family administrator would be able to accomplish this easily, but for the tech-savvy it was straightforward.

Entertainment: Read (listen to) Books

While a tablet offers the potential for reading books and newspapers, this product does NOT allow that, as far as we could see.

Key observations:

  • We could NOT find a good way to read books or newspapers. For example we could not add Kindle to the product.
  • In principle you could add the website of a newspaper to the Internet browser, but we are unsure how it would handle login credentials, and think this is likely to be tricky for most people.

Tracking Loved One’s Activity Level

This is not one of GrandPad’s strong points. If you need notifications on your loved one’s daily activities (ADLs), there are better choices.

GrandPad statistics

Key observations:

  • Has a very basic usage tracking feature (Statistics) with no alerts or details.

Calendars & Reminders

This does not seem to be a feature you can have on GrandPad.

Update: The company tells us this feature will be "coming" in 2021.

Some "Nice- to-Haves"

There are a handful of capabilities we see some older adults using, that we think would be "nice-to-haves" in addition to things mentioned above.

Nice-to-haves include:

  • Voice assistant (Alexa, Google).
  • Bluetooth tag tracker for missing items; keys, remotes.

Hearing or Vision Impairments

Many older adults in the target demographic for this product have either vision or hearing impairments or both. While we did not do a detailed evaluation of how well the features worked in those situations, here are some observations.

  • GrandPad has implemented a good solution to those with hearing difficulties through the use of front-mounted speakers and on-screen volume controls for those who have problems with small tablet volume buttons.
  • Availability of an audible book app (like Audible) and of voice interaction (eg Alexa) might be desirable for those with vision impairments. GrandPad does not have these.
  • This product does offer pinch-to-zoom on most screens for those with vision issues.
  • We noted that none of the products we evaluated in the "senior tablet" category really take advantage of built in accessibility features in the tablets for things like connecting to bluetooth hearing aids, or varying text colors and contrasts, or adding speech to icons for those with vision issues. This could be a reason why a conventional tablet (an iPad for example) might make sense for people with vision or hearing difficulties.
  • The lack of any audible feedback may be a problem for those with sight issues. For example, the display message when the video call did not go through would be more effective if there was a voice read out of these messages.

Learn More

Senior-friendly Tablets are designed to provide the key functions of a "tablet", but with an interface that is designed to be "simpler" than a normal consumer product, and designed to address some specific needs that some "seniors" and non-tech-savvy individuals have.

  • If you want to compare the GrandPad with the other products in the "senior-friendly tablet" category — and see which one we think would work best for your specific life situation — go to the "Best Senior Tablet" article.
  • If you are looking for a product to help you have "virtual connections" with an older adult who is not very "tech-savvy", the "senior-friendly tablet" category (which includes GrandPad) represents one type of solution. You can see an overview of this category — as well as other product categories that enable virtual connections — in "Virtual Connections for the Tech-Challenged".

Disclaimer

Tech-enhanced Life was loaned a Grandpad for this review. After completing the evaluation we returned it. Other than that, this review was not sponsored or funded by GrandPad or any other vendor. 

Sours: https://www.techenhancedlife.com/reviews/grandpad-tablet

Video grandpad

She did not miss the opportunity to hug her boyfriend. I always carefully selected clothes for each new meeting. Ruslan spared no compliments.

GrandPad Unboxing v2

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