Contrary to popular stereotype, seniors are more than capable of making use of modern technology and frequently outperform their younger counterparts.
Whether you've recently taken a class at the local community center on using Microsoft Office, want to upgrade a computer you already have, or simply want to be better equipped to keep up with friends and family, there is a laptop to fit everyone's needs.
From large keyboards to high-contrast displays, accessibility features are always available and you won't have to use a simplified system unless you choose to for your own convenience.
In this article, we'll show you some of the best elderly friendly laptops and point out some tips along the way.
- An Apple fan, or interested in a laptop that touts reliability, clarity, and sleek design? MacBook Pro 13" has a retina display to make viewing easy on the eyes, while offering the security of a macOS system and plenty of accessibility features.
- If you want to interact more with your laptop, ASUS Zenbook 13" Touchscreen lets you touch the screen instead of just using the built-in trackpad. You can also convert it into a tablet to easily watch movies or play games more comfortably.
- For a powerhouse with the specs to get any job done, go for HP Pavilion FHD 15.6", which comes with 1TB of storage, 8GB of RAM, and i7 processing chip to tie it all together. The laptop is weighty but packs a punch in terms of its capabilities.
Should Seniors Get a Laptop?
You don't have to have grown up with a cell phone in order to use technology these days - laptops are available and accessible for seniors of all knowledge levels!
Whether you're a computer whiz or prefer to let other people use them for you, having your own laptop can open a lot of doors. You can see family whenever you like the video chat program Skype, watch movies online, browse the internet to learn new skills, or check your email on a whim. It's a great tool for connecting with those around you and opens a world of opportunities for your free time.
Regardless of who you are and whether you are in your 60s or 70s, a laptop is a great investment and we would advise getting one as soon as you feel comfortable.
That said, a laptop may not be necessary if your needs can also be fulfilled with a tablet. Because a tablet is usually cheaper and easier to carry around. Learn more from this best tablet for elderly roundup we have.
Best Laptops for the Elderly: What to Look For?
When glasses are an everyday necessity and eye strain is more than an occasional problem, having a high-quality display is extremely important. You'll want one that's capable of a high level of contrast to make text and images show up more clearly, as well a high resolution to sharpen the edges.
It is recommended that you look into HD screens, which are those that have a resolution of 1920x1080p or more, as well as screens that have a high brightness rating (usually measured in nits).
If your laptop will actually be spending most of its time on your desk, you may be less concerned with the weight and size of your computer. In this case, get a large screen (at least 15") for clarity, which will also have a larger keyboard size that will be much easier to use.
However, if it will be traveling with you frequently, such as when going to see family, make sure to get something that doesn't weigh more than a pound or two. In this case, you may want to settle for a 13" screen, and perhaps consider a laptop stand for when it's at home to reduce neck strain.
While you likely won't be performing any high-level professional editing or running graphics intensive games, there are still different levels of need in the power department. If you just plan on surfing the web, checking email, and skyping, 4GB of RAM is a good place to start. If you want to edit slideshow videos, run more intensive applications such as online games or frequently watch movies and multitask, you'll want 8GB or more instead.
You'll inevitably want to Skype with your family, so looking for a laptop with a built-in high-quality webcam will reduce the amount of trouble spent trying to connect an external one. Other helpful features to look for include ports for a flash drive and a CD (optical) drive for playing music or movies.
Best Laptops for Seniors: Our Picks in 2018
You won't worry about screen quality on this retina MacBook, which produces extremely crisp images while working against glare and including plenty of magnification features to make everything easier to read. It carries a reputation for speed and reliability as well, so you won't be wasting any time looking for repairs.
What We like:
- Clean, sleek design looks at home anywhere it goes and brings an element of class to the table.
- Lightweight and easily transportable, plus the macOS operating system is easy to learn (or continue learning), with integrations and accessibility features abounding.
- It has an incredible retina display that will make viewing it a dream.
What's Not Great:
- It's on the pricier end of the spectrum.
If you have shaky hands or don't enjoy using a trackpad, a touchscreen laptop is a perfect solution. It allows you to make choices without necessarily using the trackpad and also opens up a lot of possibilities in terms of productivity. The ZenBook will allow you to work in Windows for PC while giving you the flexibility of a tablet.
- Great i7 processor paired with integrated graphics will lead to great performance, and the 8GB of RAM will allow you to run just about anything you want to.
- Touchscreen display means you can interact directly rather than using a mouse.
- Has 360 degrees of rotation.
What's Not So Great:
- Screen is on the smaller side at only 13".
Got a lot of family photos or plan on using your computer a good deal once you have it? This model of the HP Pavilion comes with 1TB of storage space, 8GB of RAM, and an i7 processor to provide you with a powerful computing experience. The sleek design is thin but weighs in at 4 lbs.
- Tons of storage space, along with the processing power to make good use of it.
- Beveled edges are easy on the wrist, while the overall build maintains a sturdy frame.
- Comes with a webcam, and the keyboard is full size (includes a number pad).
What We Dislike:
- Arrow keys are a little cramped, particular the up and down arrows.
- At 4.2 lbs, it's fairly heavy.
Additional Tips & Tricks
Many seniors wish to use their laptops for Skype, which is a computer program that allows you to video-chat with your loved ones completely for free (you can also do voice-only calls if you like).
Getting started with Skype and talking to your children and grandchildren even when they're miles away can be very rewarding, and Sunrise Senior Care offers a great and simple tutorial for how to make an account and arrange your first video call.
If you have difficulty with the size of the content on your screen, you can also fix this very easily. On Windows 10 it's a matter of changing just one setting, and you see a step by step process of how to access the scaling here. If you're using a Mac, you can activate the magnifying glass tool by following these instructions instead.
You've got all the details - now it's time to get down to business! Whether you're upgrading, a first-time buyer, or simply trying something new, we hope this article has been able to help you find what the best fit for you is.
As a senior, how do you use your laptop most? Any challenges or problem along the way? Tell us in the comments below, we'd love to hear about it!
Influenced by the startup culture in the Silicon Valley, Jessica loves building things from zero to one and is keen on following news related to the Big Five tech giants and many SaaS startups.