Picking the best notebook for seniors and the aging population can prove challenging, but there are several notebooks that deliver an easy to use experience for seniors and users who need a notebook that meets different needs than a younger user.
We’re not looking to dumb down the computer for seniors and the aging population. Instead we want to walk through the best notebooks for seniors and the accessories you may need to buy to make sure that the notebook meets their needs.
To find the perfect notebook for the aging population we want to start with something that offers a huge screen. After helping many aging users select a new computer we’ve found that many users want a bigger screen, even if that means the notebook is not as portable. A large screen allows for larger font and menu options while still showing plenty of information on the screen. If the computer is hard to see, it will be hard to use.
Another factor to consider is an ergonomic setup and accessories. If the senior plans to use the notebook at a desk make sure there is also a good chair and look at important accessories like an external mouse and a large print keyboard. The touchpad on many Windows notebooks are still finicky and may prove troublesome for an older user, especially if their hands shake, while a good external mouse offers easier control. We highly recommend a password management tool like Lastpass to save passwords so that the user doesn’t need to keep track of every password they make. With Lastpass the user only needs to remember one password to unlock all of their passwords.
Best Notebooks for Seniors
All of these notebooks include WiFi so you can connect around your house without a cable, as long as you have a WiFi router or wireless built in to the internet connection you pay for. Each of these notebooks for seniors also includes a webcam and microphone for video chat.
Finding the right computer also includes thinking about what operating system to buy. If you are helping a senior pick a new notebook, it is often a good idea to talk about this with them. If they are already familiar with a computer, sticking with something similar can deliver easier use, but if this is a first computer or the first computer in years, it may be time to look at alternatives.
Chromebooks offer an easy user experience that handle the basic tasks of web surfing, emailing, creating and editing documents and looking at photos very well, and they are priced competitively. Windows computers may offer a more familiar experience for some users, although there is a new Windows 10 update that changes the look of Windows in 2015. A Mac notebook is also another excellent option, but it is more expensive than a Windows computer.
Acer Aspire 17.3-inch Notebook
The Acer Aspire E17716458 at Best Buy is under $500 with a large 17.3-inch display and the specs will deliver more than enough power to handle basic needs like web browsing, email, Facebook, editing documents and looking at photos. There is plenty of room to store photos as well.
This notebook includes a SD card reader to connect to a digital camera, a DVD drive and it comes with Windows 7, which is easier for some users to adjust to.
HP 15-inch Notebook
When friend started looking for a new computer for her aging mother, this 15.6-inch HP Notebook was at the front of the list. The screen is still large enough for most users and there is enough power and storage to meet her needs of, “games and Internet email and some word processing.” Although she did not want a touch screen on a notebook that is a tablet only, we like that this includes a touch screen and a regular keyboard. Windows 8 and Windows 10 are easier to use on a touch screen.
Like the larger option above, this includes WiFi, a DVD Drive and a SD card reader to download photos from a camera.
Acer Chromebook 15
A Chromebook is a very nice notebook for seniors that offers easy use, fast access to the web and casual games, plus a large screen. There is less local storage because everything is backed up to the web and there is no DVD drive in this notebook, but don’t let that dissuade you. There are great Chromebook apps and many things you can do with the Chromebook.
There is a large touchpad on this notebook that some users will find easier to use. The 15.6-inch display is big enough for many users and it is anti-glare so it should handle a little better in harsh lighting.
MacBook Air 13-inch
For seniors who want to use a Mac with OS X, the 13-inch MacBook Air is the best option on the table. It starts at $999 new, but it does offer a more portable experience that will appeal to elderly users who travel often.
There is a 13-inch display and a high resolution that allows users to boost the font size fairly high. Apple includes an SD card slot, but no DVD drive in this model.
If you need to save money, you can look for an older model or sales and find one for as low as $700 on occasion.