Need a cheap tablet for 70+ year old woman

My mom currently uses a laptop and mp3 player mostly to listen to sermons that she downloads from a website (desiringgod.org in case it matters). Before Christmas my dad and I had discussed getting her an iPad. However, at the time we decided that the cost , as well as my understanding that it doesn’t have USB ports, outweighed the benefits (being lighter and easier to move around than the Dell laptop).

My niece got a Kindle Fire HD ($120) for Christmas, and her sister got a regular ol’ Kindle ($50). Last year their brother got the Kindle Fire. My mom spent some time reading a book on the Kindle and likes it OK. My sister brought up getting mom a tablet for Mother’s Day (or sooner. No point in waiting for some arbitrary future date.)

So, it needs to be able to play audio and video from this website (which I’ve already confirmed that the Kindle Fire will do), download MP3’s to the device for playback when they are away from the home network (I’m pretty sure the Kindle Fire will do this). It would also be nice if she could check her FB profile to see updated pictures of relatives and their babies. Checking e-mail would be nice, but she doesn’t really do this much. Anything else would be gravy.

Also would like for it to be as cheap as possible. We’re not spending $350 for a giant iPod just so that she doesn’t have to transfer songs from the PC to her MP3 player.

I searched some threads.

In this one everybody recommended the iPad http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=708435
This one seemed to settle on the Nook HD+ http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=707908
The Nooks seem to start at $150.

Can anybody recommended something cheaper than the Kindle Fire? I checked out the offerings at Best Buy and Wal-Mart and the only things that I’ve found cheaper are knockoff brand tablets that everybody says not to buy in those threads that I found.

Any advice would be appreciated.

IMO, you’re not going to get anything useful for cheaper than the Kindle Fire. Amazon loses money on all of them in the expectation that they cause people to spend money on other stuff at Amazon.

The only alternative that may net a cheaper, quality tablet is to buy used. I highly recommend iPads for people who are unsophisticated computer users. Perhaps you can get a decent used iPad from Craigslist/ebay/Kijiji/whatever.

If the Kindle Fire is what you want, Amazon is offering $30 off on Fires today (check out the offer on Amazon’s homepage). There are often sales on Kindles for Mother’s Day if you do want to wait until then to purchase.

We got my grandmother a nexus 7. She seems to like it so far. We downloaded specific apps for her (Skype, Laudate, Path, etc) and set them up for her.

Trust everyone-- do not get a cheap tablet. Really. Do not get a cheap tablet.

The really cheap ones are junk and basically unusable. It’s not a matter of them being slightly less fun. They just don’t work the way tablets should, and it won’t get used. It’s like trying to get away with buying flip flops to train for your marathon in. It’s haut gonna hurt till you give up and buy what you actually need.

Kindle Fires are cheap! Seriously, there is real, expensive technology in a tablet and you can’t buy that for fifty bucks. Maybe you and your sis can save a Jackson a month till Mother’s Day and get her something useful.

Aldi has a low-priced tablet that was a major hit in Europe and Australia; not sure when/where it will be available in the U.S. Like most of their stuff, it’s a private label edition from some established supplier.

My uncle got our grandmother a cheap tablet. It constantly broke and was unusable. She was calling us every week with bugs. We got her an iPad over her objections. It’s her baby now. Her preeecious.

Maybe go to the store and test the Kindle Fire on her website, just to make sure it works. It should though. And remember, iPads still hate Flash.

I’m happy with my Radio Shack purchased (something or other cheap manufacturer) Trio. It cost me 49, down from 59. That brand needs you to download some files to utilize the old version of Google Play Store.

I love it, but, it’s only 4 gig, and a wee bit slow.

nexus 7 isn’t bad, I had a family member but one for a present and I got to play with it before it was given away. They are $130 if you shop around.