My step-father and mother are going to Africa for about 6 months to do some volunteer work.

They've asked me (the "computer guy") to recommend something for them.

I'm a little out-of-date with regard to what are their options, as I haven't purchased a new computer for 5 years (still using an old Lenovo laptop.. it works great!), and I don't really know what is best for them.

First... a little about them:

  • They are both not "computer people". They are the type of people who will try to do something simple, but wind up clicking every link and button they see, opening up a dozen windows and screens.. and then say, "This computer doesn't work" because it crashes or slows down as a result.
  • About 95% (or more) of their computer use is to send/receive email, skype, internet surfing, and playing games.
  • They need something that "just works". I will not be with them to deal with things like updates, malware, figureing out how to connect to wifi, explaining the dozens of settings and buttons in skype, etc...

So basically.. they just need something that they can turn on, use email/internet/skype, and not worry about pushing the wrong buttons.

I'm thinking that maybe an iPad is a good solution for them? They will not have cell phone data connectivity where they will be located (Zambia), but they will have wifi.

Personally, I'm a little hesitant to recommend an iPad... so maybe you think a different "tablet" computer is better? The problem is that a "normal" computer tablet (running Win7, etc..) would not be any better then a laptop (which they already have) since then it becomes too complicated and we're right back to where we started. (They want something super simple that just works.)

Is an android tablet ok? Would that be cheaper? I've never used android before, so I have no idea. (And I've only used an iPad a few times.)

My step-dad has an iphone, so he's already familiar with the "apple interface", but ultimately.. they don't care if it's apple or dell or ibm or android or whatever.. as long as it lets them do internet/email/skype with no problems.

Thanks for any suggestions.