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This is an article featured in AARP magazine. Several of these items would be good for any age, no matter how old you are. If I still had a land line, I would absolutely splurge on the spam blocker. Too bad they have not developed a great one for our cell phones. There are so many spammers and scammers. My next favorite is the tablet holder with an attached keyboard. My other favorite are the headphones for those who love listening to the tv really loud. The products listed are a bit pricey. I’m sure there are much more reasonably priced products

Our sampling of interesting products can help solve your problems

Life Made Easier Tech

A pepper spray canister can call for help during an attack, one home security system doesn’t need an electrical outlet to work and a keyboard that includes a stand can make your tablet feel almost like a laptop.

December 29, 2022

While you might say no to many of the new, gee-whiz devices that you see online and in stores, some are worth a second look.

Four journalists who specialize in technology reporting looked at new products that could offer legitimate benefits to users age 50 and older. They personally tried the products and offer their impressions.

Keyboard Call Blocker and Speaker

A keyboard for your tablet makes life easier, a call blocker for landlines has a satisfying big red button to push, and a Bluetooth speaker for your TV sits on your shoulders, looking a bit like a neck pillow.


1. Lightweight tablets get the benefits of a laptop

The right stand can make using a tablet feel almost like you’re on a laptop. The Magic Keyboard, starting at $300, from Apple is a prime companion for the iPad Pro or iPad Air. The tablet snaps into place and the stand features a built-in trackpad. Still, with the added cost and extra weight, you’re close to just owning a laptop.

While many Apple enthusiasts prefer to buy only Apple accessories, a much less expensive product with many of the same features is the Typecase Touch from $70. The keys aren’t as sleek, but they are backlit. I won’t be giving up my laptop yet, but I can see a future where I might.

Lexi Pandell

2. A device to block phone scammers

If you have a landline phone, it can be tough to block spam and robocalls. The Panasonic Call Blocker, $110, connects to your phone and comes with a pre-blocked database of 14,000 robocall and telemarketing numbers.

When a suspicious call does get through, hit the big red button to block it forever. Another option is AT&T’s cordless answering system with smart call blocker, $45, which allows you to blacklist numbers. These are not perfect solutions — robocallers often mask their true numbers and location  — but I found that the big red button makes it satisfying to reject calls.

— Risha Gotlieb

3. TV sound that’s tailored to your ears

If you jack up your TV volume to hear the dialogue better and revel in surround sound but annoy your family or even your condo neighbor, one solution is a wireless neckband speaker.

These connect to the optical output of your TV, which means the audio syncs to the video with no lag. And they can be comfortably used while wearing hearing aids.

Sony’s SRS-NS7 Wireless Neckband Speaker, $300, has tweeters pointed up but also includes twin subwoofer-like speakers pointed down that stimulate your clavicles during tense television moments. Another option is BeHear’s Proxy and its HearLink Plus wireless audio transmitter, from $200, which is designed as a PSAP — or personal sound amplification product — for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.


Both of these neck speakers can pair with your smartphone for listening to music or talking on the phone. And they are so comfortable I even forgot I was wearing one.

— Stewart Wolpin

Home Security

Now it’s possible for you to install a security system that will work for the farthest reaches of your land without having to worry about where to plug in the base station.


4. Safety without Wi-Fi, electricity worries

If you live in a rural area, your security needs might be at a distant gate or shed door — places your home’s Wi-Fi signal can’t reach. A new type of battery-powered security sensor that works with a cellular signal can ease that concern.

These sensors hook up to gates, doors or windows and alert you electronically when a breach occurs. Flex IO sensors from start at $160, plus activation and service fees. I found these worked so well that I began wondering what else around my home needed security.

If the Wi-Fi signal isn’t a concern, another inconvenience can be a lack of power outlets for some sensors. Some products, such as the $80 SKK Home Security System 2nd Gen, have battery-powered sensors, and its base unit with up to eight hours of battery backup connects with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant system without monthly subscription fees.

— Risha Gotlieb

Air Tags Security Cameras and Pepper Spray

Tiny Bluetooth and GPS trackers can do big work, a light for your porch also is a video camera and pepper spray that pinpoints your location can help law enforcement when you’re under attack.


5. Trackers, not new but very handy

GPS or Bluetooth trackers, little devices that attach to just about anything and signal their location via a phone app, have been around for nearly a decade. But 2021’s release of Apple’s AirTags in particular has heightened interest in these products.

Bluetooth trackers, such as an AirTag, Chipolo One Spot or Tile, cost $30 or less. When a Bluetooth tracker is in range, it communicates directly with your phone. When out of range, the tracker relays its signal through other people’s compatible devices, creating a network effect to reach you and show its location.

Bluetooth trackers may not work well in remote areas. GPS trackers, a variant, can be better because they use cellular signals instead.

Lexi Pandell

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