More and more seniors are embracing technology these days, especially mobile devices such as tablets and laptops. There are lots of activities seniors can do online, such as emailing and social media; and there are also some things that can no longer be done offline. When choosing a laptop for a senior person, there are a number of factors to consider: level of familiarity with laptops and computers in general, what tasks need to be done with the laptop and what specific software will be installed, if the person has any accessibility issues…and of course the budget.
Things to take into account when looking for a laptop for seniors:
- Familiarity with technology: Before the purchase, it’s very important to take into account how tech-savvy the person is. Most baby boomers have had some kind of exposure to technology and computers, and some of them have been using computers for years. In this case, the person may not be facing difficulties using the system, but rather have accessibility issues to consider. However, for novice users, computer lessons should also be considered. Tablets and touch-screen laptops are also more suitable in this case, because they have a more intuitive interface.
- What will the laptop be used for: This is directly linked to the previous question, just because a person is of a certain age, it doesn’t mean they are completely illiterate to computers. A tech-savvy person will normally use more applications than a novice user. You should also consider if the laptop will be used for home or professional use, ask the person if they have any specific programs they use, and check the processing power requirements of each program. For novice users and those owning a computer for the first time, a budget laptop will be fine. If it’s only for browsing the internet and reading emails, you can also consider a Chromebook. Chrombooks are easier to use for seniors, and also considerably cheaper than PCs and Macs.
- Accessibility: Most senior users have some accessibility considerations; this can vary from a person to another. For example, consider buying a mouse if the person is not too keen on touchpads. Most senior users will also prefer a bigger screen size, and a keyboard with bigger keys. There are also settings you can do to make the laptop more accessible to an older adult, such as using bigger icons, bigger font size, adjust mouse speed…etc.
- Budget: Price is usually the deciding factor when buying a new laptop. While it is expected to pay extra if you want a powerful laptop, always compare different models and make sure the laptop ticks all the boxes before making the purchase.
Top 5 best laptops for seniors in 2017:
HP 17-x127cl: A 17.3 inch touch screen multimedia station
The HP 17-x127cl has three features that make it a perfect laptop for older adults. First, it has a beautiful 17.3 inch touch screen; it runs windows 10 which makes use of the touch screen feature but still gives you the performance of a full desktop; and it has a big backlit keyboard and a touchpad with clickable buttons.
For seniors who need laptop with a big display to watch movies, browse the internet, and work, the HP 17-x127cl has enough computing power to provide seamless performance. It comes with a 7th generation intel core i7 7500U processor, 12GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and a dedicated AMD Radeon R5 M430 graphics card.
The 17.3 inch screen has a full HD resolution (1920X1080 pixels), and has IPS technology which helps provide richer colors and better viewing angles. The touch feature is also very responsive. The HP 17-x127cl does NOT come with a 360° hinge however, and can’t be used like a tablet or in tent mode. If you definitely need a laptop with a “flip around” screen, we recommend checking the Dell Inspiron 17 7000 (7778) 2-in-1, which is slightly more expensive, but has 17 inch display with a 360° hinge. You can check the Dell Inspiron 17 7000 on Amazon here.
The HP 17-x127cl has a full size keyboard with a separate number pad. The keys are big, and the letters are easy to see for an older adult, it is also backlit, which helps see the letter when typing in low light environments. The touchpad is very responsive, and comes with two separate clickable left-right buttons, which is easier to use for older adults. The laptop also comes with 3 USB ports, and you can easily connect an external mouse.
|Intel Core i7-7500U Processor
|Dedicated, AMD Radeon R5 M430
|17.3 inch, 1920X1080, IPS
|Connectivity and Ports
|1 – USB 3.1 port
2- USB 2.0 port
1 – HDMI port, DVD/RW
Card reader, Bluetooth 4.2
|up to 5 hours battery life
Apple Macbook Pro 15 : The ease of use Mac OS
There is a reason the Macbook pro 15 is highly rated on Amazon: simply put, it is high quality product that comes with great support. Support and ease of use are the main reasons we recommend this laptop for seniors. The Macbook Pro 15 is powered by Apple’s Mac OS X, which is undeniably easier to use for the elderly, especially if they only used macs before. Apple’s laptops are very pricey, but you get a great product support/ customer care, which is a big advantage for seniors.
The Macbook Pro MPTT2LL/A comes with powerful specs: a 7 gen I7 7820HQ quad core processor, 16 GB of RAM, a blazing fast 512GB solid state drive, and a dedicated Radeon Pro 560 graphics card. There is no need to say that the Macbook Pro 15” is capable of running even intensive programs.
Another reason we recommend the Macbook pro 15 for seniors is because it comes with a great screen, a great keyboard and a great touch pad. The keyboard does not come with a separate number pad, but has a simple layout and the keys are bigger than usual. There is also a very intuitive touchbar that provides access to app controls and settings according to what you do on the laptop. The Macbook Pro MPTT2LL/A comes with 4 USB type C ports (also Thunderbolt 3 compatible).
|Intel Core I7 7820HQ Processor
|Dedicated, AMD Radeon Pro 560
|15.4 inch, 2880 x 1800, IPS
|Connectivity and Ports
|4 – USB Type C/ Thunderbolt 3
|up to 10 hours battery life
Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C09S: Simple laptop for basic use
The Acer CB5-571-C09S is a 15 inch Chromebook (largest yet). If you don’t know what Chromebooks are: Chromebooks use Google’s Chrome Operating system. They are mainly designed to be used while connected to the Internet, with most applications and documents stored in the cloud. They are very easy to use, budget friendly, and offer a simple way to browse the web, and thus are a great choice for the elderly, but also for kids.
The Acer CB5-571-C09S is powered by an Intel Celeron Dual-Core 3205U Processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 16GB SSD. It comes with 2 USB ports, HDMI, and a card reader. As mentioned before, this is a machine for accessing the internet, watching youtube, and maybe word processing. As long as you don’t need to run any PC specific applications, you’ll be just fine with the Acer CB5-571-C09S.
Battery life is also very good, you can easily get about 7 hours in real world use. There is also a 11,6 inch version, in case 15 inch is too big for you.
|Intel Celeron Dual-Core 3205U
|Integrated, Intel HD Graphics
|15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080, IPS
|Connectivity and Ports
|1 – USB 3.0
1 – USB 2.0
HDMI, Bluetooth 4.0.
|up to 9 hours battery life