Laptops aren’t just for the younger folk anymore. As computers continue to occupy an increasingly larger role in our lives, it’s become more mainstream for everyone to have one -- young and old. Another growing trend is the favoring of laptops over desktop versions.
There are plenty of reasons for this that we aren’t going to go over here. But, it is worth mentioning that our senior citizens are now more reliant on laptops. So what exactly are the best laptops for seniors? The answer to this depends on a mixture of factors, with each addressing some of the more unique needs that seniors have when using laptop computers.
We’ve come up with a short list of some newer laptop models that are great for seniors, but before we get to that, let’s first go over some of the factors that play a role in determining if a particular laptop is suitable for a senior or not.
The following factors are all aspects one should consider before buying a laptop for a senior. Although most laptops operate essentially the same, there are some notable characteristics that can favor a senior laptop user the most.
This is something that can vary quite a bit depending on who the laptop is for. Some seniors may have an an older computer that they are much more comfortable with, such as an old desktop PC running Windows XP, or even Windows 2000 in some cases.
In that case, you may want to find a laptop that runs a simple operating system, such as a Chromebook that runs Chrome’s operating system. That’s not to say that the new operating systems on Mac’s and PC’s are that complicated, so they may be willing to learn the ropes.
Still, you’ll want to avoid any laptops that come with a bunch of unneeded, advanced, or irrelevant features that may confuse the person getting it. This can include gaming laptops, and other laptops that are more geared for professional and media use. Just try to use your best judgement, and communicate when shopping.
While many seniors will have no problem using a laptop in a normal way, others man need adaptive hardware devices, or certain physical features on the computer that are more pronounced. This can include larger keyboards, and of course, larger screens.
For those that may have trouble using a trackpad, or the included keyboard, make sure the laptop has connectability support for things hard devices such as external mouses, keyboards, or even separate trackpads. These can provide the person with a much more comfortable way to navigate the screen.
In some cases, the senior may even prefer a touchscreen, rather than messing with a physical keyboard, touchpad, or mouse. It’s all about preference.
Some seniors may just want a laptop that does a few basic things, such as word processing, internet browsing, and well, that’s it. Others may want to use their laptop as a media center, or even play games on it.
For those that want a laptop for basic uses, they won’t need a computer with all of the fastest hardware. A smaller, more affordable laptop is probably the best idea, otherwise you’re letting all of that processing power go to waste.
On the other hand, if they want a more modern laptop that can handle large programs, store all of their audio and video files, and play movies and streaming television with smooth visuals and stunning clarity, they’ll need a more powerful laptop that’s capable of doing so.
This may not initially seem like a big aspect to consider, but it may matter more than you think. The overall battery life has improved across the board for all laptops, but there are some that can last a lot longer than others.
For seniors who may not be as mobile anymore, the idea of having to constantly reach down and plug their laptop in every few hours isn’t very ideal. With an extended battery life, they can remain relaxed for a longer period of time, and enjoy nearly a full day’s worth of use without having to plug in.
A minimum battery life of at least 5 hours is recommended, and there's plenty of laptops that reach 10 hours or above.
This is obviously a big one. How much are they willing to spend? If you want to keep things as cheap as possible, a notebook laptop is the best way to go. This will still give them a way to browse the internet and do smaller tasks, without spending over $300.
For those that want more, a $500 or above laptop can provide a lot more speed and data storage, along with more features and media playing capability.
The best course of action is to first determine what the maximum spending limit is, and then create a list of priorities for the laptop. This will help you narrow things down quickly.
These three laptops are all among the newest on the market right now, and each one provides numerous aspects and features that are beneficial to senior laptop users. They are all under $750 as well, so they offer an affordable price point for most.
The newest version of the Dell Inspiron is on the higher end in terms of a senior laptop, and it’s got plenty of power and speed to handle both basic tasks and media. Not only that, it also has a convenient touchscreen that is very easy to use, and on a large screen that’s easy to view.
The Intel Core 2.5GHz processor is more than capable of taking on a number of processes and tasks, ensuring a smooth operation that will rarely cause any lagging, if ever. Throw in 16GB of RAM on top of that, and you have yourself a powerful system that is lighting fast no matter what you’re using it for.
Storage space is very impressive too. With 1TB of data capacity, this laptop has enough space to store pretty much anything, whether it’s an entire music collection, or backups to every digital image one may have. The user will never have to worry about running out of space.
The screen of this laptop is one of the most appealing features. The 17.3 inches gives it a huge surface space, perfect for watching streaming shows, movies, and videos. The touchscreen is very responsive, and easy to use when navigating through programs, menus, scrolling, and whatever else.
The media features are superior to many laptops in its class. Waves MaxxAudio provides one of the best sound quality you’ll encounter on both speakers and headphones, and a HD webcam with microphone is perfect for connecting with family via video chat.
If you’re willing to spend around $700, this HP laptop will ensure an added sense of versatility, with lots of speed and storage amounts. Seniors who are more proficient with computers will love everything this laptop is capable of.
The 2017 version of the Dell Inspiron 5000 is another great example of a feature-rich laptop that is perfect for the technologically proficient senior who wants a quality laptop with plenty of speed.
This Inspiron laptop benefits from a powerful Intel Core i7 Dual Core processor that operates at an impressive rate of 2.5GHz. This is a good complement to the 16GB of available RAM, which means you’re getting a laptop with enough speed and memory to ensure smooth operating when running any program.
With 1TB of hard drive space, users have more than enough capacity to store basically every file they’ve ever had. Pictures, videos, music, games, whatever you have, it’ll likely all fit on here. That also makes it a great laptop for the long haul, as you’re not likely to run out space anytime soon.
The Inspiron 5000’s display is one of its biggest strengths. With its 17.3-inch size, nothing to too small to see, and you can always increase text size in the setting if needed. The 1920 x 1080 resolution is vibrant and detailed, and makes using the touchscreen a breeze.
6 hours of battery life is fairly average, and gives the user enough time in between charges. The 4-cell lithium battery charges back up relatively fast as well.
The Inspiron 5000 comes with plenty of ports and media support, and that includes ultra-fast USB 3.0 compatibility, as well as basic USB, HDMI, and Bluetooth connections. If that’s not enough, you also get 802.11ac wireless support for an incredibly fast connection. An SD card reader and DVD drive is included too.
Overall, the Dell Inspiron 5000 is easily one of our favorite senior laptop computers. Even if the user is still a bit unfamiliar with modern laptops, the Windows OS and touchscreen make it easy to use, and also get used to.
If you’re looking to keep things under $500, this Lenovo laptop is a great buy. While it’s a step slower than the previous two laptops we’ve gone over, it still has more than enough speed, processing power, and features to be considered an upper-tier laptop that’s perfect for the elderly laptop user.
The laptop’s Intel Core i5 2.3GHz processor is a level down from it’s i6 and i7 cousins, but you still have solid processing ability that is capable of supporting numerous programs and tasks. The included 8GB of RAM provides enough memory space to prevent any lagging, whether you’re browsing the internet, or watching a movie or television show.
Storage is on par with high end laptops, as the Lenovo comes with a full terabyte of space. This should be more than enough space to store one’s data spanning any format.
The 17.3-inch screen provides a massive display, which many elderly users will appreciate. The 1600 x 900 HD+ resolution isn’t the best you’ll see, but it’s certainly enough to get the job done. The internal Intel HD Graphic 520 GPU provides an excellent frame rate for videos.
Battery life is on the lower end at 5 hours, but this is still an acceptable amount. The laptop has all the key ports, including USB 3.0, USB, HDMI, VGA, Ethernet, and a 4-in-1 card reader. A DVD/RW drive is also thrown in for good measure, which is good if the user has a large DVD collection.
This Lenovo may not be on the level of more expensive laptops in its class, but it definitely isn’t considered an entry-level computer. You’ll be hard-pressed to find this much storage, speed, and multimedia support with other laptops in this price range.
Seniors can enjoy and utilize laptops just as much as anyone else. While some may require varying degrees of features and capabilities, there are more than a few core aspects that you should always keep in mind when shopping for a laptop for seniors.
We’ve gone over three models that we strongly recommend for seniors, but it goes without saying that there are plenty of other laptops that are perfect for seniors as well. Do you have any you’d like to recommend? Perhaps you have some other suggestions about features one should look for in a laptop for a senior?
Let us know in the comments below! We’d love to hear your feedback, and may even do a review of the laptop you suggest at a later date.