Best Laptops for the Elderly

In the US, an estimated thirty per cent of the elderly live alone and a whopping eighty percent of the elderly have no younger generation staying with them. Due to work considerations, we often have to move out of our parents’ home after college. Or, after retirement, your parents may want to move away from the din and bustle of the city and settle in the outskirts. In either case, it is technology that helps us to continue to communicate with them regularly, through the myriad audio or video call applications on our phones or laptops.

HP 14" Touchscreen Home and...
Editor's Choice
Acer Chromebook 15...
Popular
2019 Newest Lenovo IdeaPad...
ASUS Chromebook Flip C434...
ASUS Vivobook Flip 14 Thin and...
Dell Inspiron 14 5481, 2 in 1...
Laptop
HP 14" Touchscreen Home and...
Acer Chromebook 15...
2019 Newest Lenovo IdeaPad...
ASUS Chromebook Flip C434...
ASUS Vivobook Flip 14 Thin and...
Dell Inspiron 14 5481, 2 in 1...
Screen Size
14 inches
15.6 inches
15.6 inches
14 inches
14 inches
14 inches
Touchscreen
Processor
AMD Ryzen 3.5 GHz
Intel Celeron N3350 Dual-Core 2.4GHz
AMD A9-9425 Dual-Core 3.10 GHz
Intel Core m3-8100Y 1.1 GHz
Intel Quad-Core Pentium N5000 2.7 GHz
Intel Core i3 3.9 GHz
RAM
8 GB
4 GB
4 GB
4 GB
4 GB
4 GB
Hard Disk
128 GB
-
128 GB
64 GB
128 GB
128 GB
Product Weight
3.25 pounds
3.97 pounds
4.60 pounds
3.30 lbs
3.30 pounds
2.90 pounds
Operating System
Windows 10
Chrome OS
Windows 10
Chrome OS
Windows 10
Windows 10
Prime
-
-
-
HP 14" Touchscreen Home and...
Laptop
HP 14" Touchscreen Home and...
Screen Size
14 inches
Touchscreen
Processor
AMD Ryzen 3.5 GHz
RAM
8 GB
Hard Disk
128 GB
Product Weight
3.25 pounds
Operating System
Windows 10
Prime
Editor's Choice
Acer Chromebook 15...
Laptop
Acer Chromebook 15...
Screen Size
15.6 inches
Touchscreen
Processor
Intel Celeron N3350 Dual-Core 2.4GHz
RAM
4 GB
Hard Disk
-
Product Weight
3.97 pounds
Operating System
Chrome OS
Prime
-
Popular
2019 Newest Lenovo IdeaPad...
Laptop
2019 Newest Lenovo IdeaPad...
Screen Size
15.6 inches
Touchscreen
Processor
AMD A9-9425 Dual-Core 3.10 GHz
RAM
4 GB
Hard Disk
128 GB
Product Weight
4.60 pounds
Operating System
Windows 10
Prime
-
ASUS Chromebook Flip C434...
Laptop
ASUS Chromebook Flip C434...
Screen Size
14 inches
Touchscreen
Processor
Intel Core m3-8100Y 1.1 GHz
RAM
4 GB
Hard Disk
64 GB
Product Weight
3.30 lbs
Operating System
Chrome OS
Prime
-
ASUS Vivobook Flip 14 Thin and...
Laptop
ASUS Vivobook Flip 14 Thin and...
Screen Size
14 inches
Touchscreen
Processor
Intel Quad-Core Pentium N5000 2.7 GHz
RAM
4 GB
Hard Disk
128 GB
Product Weight
3.30 pounds
Operating System
Windows 10
Prime
Dell Inspiron 14 5481, 2 in 1...
Laptop
Dell Inspiron 14 5481, 2 in 1...
Screen Size
14 inches
Touchscreen
Processor
Intel Core i3 3.9 GHz
RAM
4 GB
Hard Disk
128 GB
Product Weight
2.90 pounds
Operating System
Windows 10
Prime

Last update 2020-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Laptops for the Elderly

Smartphones, though great for a quick call, may not be so comfortable for the elderly for long use, due to their smaller screen sizes. For example, you may be celebrating your kid’s birthday and, unfortunately, your parents could not be physically present at the party. Well, they can do the next best thing – join in through a Skype or a Google Hangout call. The laptop will make it easier for them to comfortably fit in front of the camera, which is often a bit difficult in case of a smartphone. And your child will be happy to hear them sing happy birthday to her.

While very few products exist in the market which are dedicated to seniors,  some laptops are better suited for their use or can be better customized to suit the needs of the elderly. But, first, we will look at a few considerations which you need to take into account while buying a laptop.

What to Consider When Buying Laptops for the Elderly

  • Operating System: If your elderly parent is already accustomed to an operating system like the Windows or Mac, it may not be a good idea to learn a new operating system at this stage. And Windows and Mac differ a lot among themselves. So, any change in the OS may just lead to a lot of frustration while using. If the user is a first-time user, I recommend that you start with the Mac or the Chrome operating system from Google, as they are simpler and more resource efficient.
  • Type of Use: This is a major consideration and easily the most important criteria to define the technical specifications that you would need for the laptop. The elderly mostly require entertainment-based capabilities like good video playability and good audio (for movies and music), a good browser (for social media, email and YouTube), apart from good screen resolution. If your loved one is reasonably active, she may also require a good document editing and photo editing software. None of these activities require a lot of processing power in laptops and is not likely to stretch your budget. Instead, you will do well to invest in a good internet connection with sufficient bandwidth to support uninterrupted video calls.
  • Disability: You may want to consider whether your parent’s disability, if any, requires any special feature or capabilities on your laptop. For example, if you have a loved one who is suffering from a neurological disease, she may have to contend with hand tremors and reduced limb control. In that case, it will be greatly beneficial for her to have a laptop with a touch screen, rather than a keyboard and mouse set up. As another example, if your parent suffers from short term memory loss, it will be difficult for her to remember passwords. You may want to invest in a laptop which unlocks through fingerprint (through integrated fingerprint reader on touch-pad) or retina authentication (through laptop integrated camera), rather than a password.
  • Still Using Compact Discs? While we have come a long way from using floppy drives, some of us may still be using compact discs and may not have fully upgraded to USB drives. If your loved one has that CD library of movies or music and it will not be easy to transfer that to a pen drive, you may want to buy a laptop with a CD drive. Mind you, most laptops, now-a-days, do not include a CD or DVD drive.

Minimum Laptop Specifications

Modern operating systems use more resources and require extra bit of temporary memory and processing power. Accordingly, you must ensure the following minimum specifications for your laptop.

  • RAM: If you buy a laptop with anything less than 4GB of RAM, you run the risk of slowing down your laptop while using multiple applications in parallel. This will lead to a lot of frustration as the mouse pad and keyboard will frequently stop responding.
  • Display: This may be the determinant of your laptop budget and try and get the best display for your budget. Also, as discussed above, you may want to invest in a touchscreen display if that makes your loved one’s life more comfortable.
  • Storage: Storage has, over the years, become very cost efficient and you can easily get 128 GB of internal storage with any basic laptop. That is expected to be sufficient for a years’ worth of movies. I suggest that you do not make this specification a determinant of your laptop budget as external storage can be bought.
  • Processor: Processing speed should not be a problem unless you are anticipating heavy-duty use like video editing or running large software. Otherwise, most basic processors will serve your purpose.
  • Battery: In case you are anticipating that the laptop will be used a lot outside home, you may want to buy a laptop with good battery life.

Even though some laptops are better for seniors, it is essential that you configure the new device as per their needs and make it as comfortable for them to use as possible.

#1 HP 14-inch Touchscreen Laptop

This laptop has good processing power with an AMD Ryzen processor with maximum output capacity of 3.5 GHz. It will comfortably be able to support multiple applications running in parallel with an 8 GB RAM. This is sufficient memory to run heavy applications like video and photo editing software. The laptop weighs about 3.25 pounds.

PROS:

  • Touchscreen capability with high definition screen resolution of 1366 x 768
  • 8 GB RAM provides sufficient memory to run more applications in parallel
  • Comes pre-installed with full Windows 10 operating system
  • Lightweight at just over 3 pounds
  • Good processing speeds with performance up to 3.5 GHz

CONS:

  • No fingerprint scanner
  • No CD or DVD playing drives

HP 14" Touchscreen Home and...
  • AMD Ryzen 3 3200U Processor (2.60 GHz base clock, up to 3.50 GHz max boost clock, 4 MB Cache, 2 Cores) Smart dual-core, four-way processing performance for HD-quality computing
  • 14" Touchscreen, typical 1366 x 768 HD resolution. Natural finger-touch navigation makes the most of Windows 10. Energy-efficient LED backlight screen
  • DDR4 2400 MHz RAM Memory with Solid State Drive (SSD) combo brings the muscle for gaming, creating, and advanced multitasking, so you can do it all, anywhere. To smoothly run your games and photo- and video-editing applications, as well as multiple programs and browser tabs all at once
  • 1x Headphone-out & Audio-in Combo Jack; 1x Built-in HD webcam with microphone; 1x Built-in fingerprint reader; 1x Built-in media reader for simple photo transfer; 1x RJ45 LAN Jack for LAN insert; 1x HDMI 1.4b 4K Output; 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C; 2x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type A. 12.75 x 8.89 x 0.78 in (323.85 x 225.81 x 19.81 mm), 3.25 lbs. (1.47 kg)
  • Realtek RTL8821CE 802.11b/g/n/ac (1x1)(19a) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 and RJ-45 LAN Ethernet combo. Connect to a Wireless-AC router for nearly 3x the speed, more capacity and wider coverage than Wireless-N. Backward-compatible with all other Wi-Fi networks and hotspots

Last update 2020-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#2 Acer Chromebook 15-inch Touchscreen Laptop

The laptop is powered by the Google chrome operating system and comes with high integration with the entire google product suite from gmail, hangout, google drive and more. The OS comes with its own top-of-the-line security features which are free and constantly updated over the internet, which helps to minimize your maintenance cost.

PROS:

  • Chrome is a cleaner operating system to learn; should be your choice if you are new to computing
  • 4GB RAM in Chrome gives better performance compared to windows OS, as windows typically requires more resources to run
  • Best in class screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Extremely fast boot up with Chrome operating system
  • Cost efficient laptop at sub-300 $ range
  • Screen can be easily cast to a larger monitor using chrome cast enabled devices (like a TV)
  • Long battery life

CONS:

  • Internal storage of 32 GB which is not much. However, the laptop comes with 100 GB space on Google drive
  • Laptop is heavier at just under 6 lbs; Not suitable to travel

Acer Chromebook 15...
  • Chromebook runs on Chrome OS - an operating system by Google that is built for the way we live today It comes with built-in virus protection updates automatically boots up in seconds and continues to stay fast over time (Internet connection is required)
  • All the Google apps you know and love come standard on every Chromebook which means you can edit download and convert Microsoft Office files in Google Docs Sheets and Slides
  • With the Google Play Store you can access a rich library of apps games music movies TV books magazines and more all from your Chromebook
  • Chromebooks come with built-in storage for offline access to your most important files and an additional 100GB of Google Drive space to ensure that all of your files are backed up automatically
  • Intel Celeron N3350 15 6” Full HD IPS Touch Display 4GB Memory 32GB eMMC and Up to 13-hour Battery Life

Last update 2020-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#3 Lenovo IdeaPad 15.6-inch Laptop

The Lenovo IdeaPad is a series of high performance easy to use laptops, which are cost efficient. It runs on a 7th generation dual core processor and comes with 4 GB installed RAM.  You will have to pay extra for a full range of Windows 10 operating system (model comes with OS in ‘S’ mode)

PROS:

  • Large display with good screen resolution lets you enlarge objects without getting pixelated
  • Bluetooth capable for easy sharing of files between devices
  • RAM can be upgraded up to 16 GB. There are two slots available (you have to replace existing 4 GB RAM with 2 8 GB RAMs). For general use, 4 GB (or maximum 8 GB) is more than enough.
  • SSD storage makes it faster to access files saved on the internal disk

CONS:

  • CPU speed, though sufficient, is on the lower end for this range of laptops
  • The laptop is on the heavier side at over 4.5 lbs and is not suitable for carrying around.
  • Comes pre-installed with Windows 10 operating system in S mode, which means you will be able to install only Microsoft owned applications

Sale
2019 Newest Lenovo IdeaPad...
  • Windows 10 Home; AMD A9-9425 processor; 15. 6" display; 4GB memory; 128GB solid state drive; Bluetooth; outdoor screen; HDMI output

Last update 2020-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#4 Asus Chromebook 14-inch Touchscreen Laptop

This is a touchscreen laptop, running on google chrome operating system and has a full 14-inch HD display with screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and the ability to rotate 360 degrees.  The laptop has a graphics card with 1 GB internal memory that lets you run gaming or photo / video editing software with ease.

PROS:

  • Fast processor with speeds up to 3.4 GHz
  • Can run multiple applications without slowing down
  • Lightweight laptop weighing just over 3 lbs
  • Minimal boot time required; easy and comfortable to use for the elderly
  • Comes with 100 GB space on Google Drive (free for 1 year)

CONS:

  • No CD or DVD drives
  • Internal storage of 64 GB may seem less if you store a lot of video content;

Sale
ASUS Chromebook Flip C434...
  • 14 inch touchscreen Full HD 1920x1080 4-way NanoEdge display featuring ultra-narrow bezels (5millimeter thin) around each side of the display that allows for a 14 inch screen to fit in the body of a 13 inch laptop footprint
  • The Full HD display has a durable 360 degree hinge that can be used to flip the touchscreen display to tent, stand, and tablet mode
  • Powered by the Intel Core m3-8100Y Processor 1. 1 GHz (4M Cache, up to 3. 4 GHz) for super-fast and snappy performance. If you use a ton of tabs or run lots of apps, this has the power to get it all done with ease
  • 4GB LPDDR3 RAM; 64GB eMMC storage and 2x USB Type-C (Gen 1) and 1x USB Type-A (Gen 1) ports plus a backlit keyboard (USB Transfer speed may vary. Learn more at ASUS website)
  • The lightweight (3 pound) all-aluminum metal body makes the C434 both durable and beautiful for a timeless look that will never go out of style

Last update 2020-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#5 Asus Vivobook 14-inch Touchscreen Laptop

This is a 14-inch HD touchscreen laptop with quad-core processor from Intel Pentium, 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB storage. The laptop weighs about 3.3 lbs and screen resolution is 1366 x 768.

PROS:

  • HD touchscreen display, great for seniors with vision impairment or hand tremors
  • Equipped with Bluetooth
  • Extremely flexible laptop with up to 360 rotatable screen
  • Long battery life
  • Speakers are good, powered by ASUS SonicMaster
  • Comes with 1 year accidental damage protection; please remember to register online within 60 days of purchase

CONS:

  • Processing speed, though sufficient, is on the low end of up to 2.7 GHz
  • No optical drives, that is CD / DVD drives

Sale
ASUS Vivobook Flip 14 Thin and...
  • Powerful & efficient Intel Quad-Core Pentium N5000 Processor (Upto 2.7 GHz), 128GB eMMC storage, and 4GB DDR4 RAM
  • 14 inch Glossy screen in a 13 inch frame with Nano Edge HD Wide view technology and a touchscreen display with upto 178° viewing angle optimized for entertainment
  • 13 inches wide, 0.6 inches thin with 0.3 inches bezel for a stunning 73% screen-to-body ratio; aluminum chassis and lightweight at 3.3 pounds
  • Portable and convertible 2-in-1 laptop with four viewing modes: Tablet, tent, stand, and laptop. Power Adapter - Output 19 V DC, 1.75 A, 33 W. Input - 100 -240 V AC, 50/60 Hz universal. Networking - Wi-Fi Integrated Wi-Fi 5 (802.11 ac). Bluetooth - Bluetooth 4.1
  • Comprehensive connections including, USB 3.1 Type-C (Gen1), Micro HDMI, Micro USB 2.0, SD card reader, Plus headphone out and audio-in Combo jack

Last update 2020-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#6 Dell Inspiron 14-inch Touchscreen Laptop

This is a touchscreen laptop with intel i3 8th generation processor, with 4 GB of RAM (expandable to 16 GB) and 128 GB of internal storage. The screen is 14 inch in width and the laptop weighs only about 2.9 pounds. HD Screen resolution is 1366 x 768.

PROS:

  • RAM is expandable to 16 GB; However, be careful to buy compatible RAMs
  • Fast processor, with processing speeds up to 3.9 GHz
  • Comes with 2 USB 3.0 ports
  • Good speaker audio quality
  • One of the most lightweight laptops

CONS:

  • Screen display not up to the mark; Video content not clearly visible from the sides; that is, you cannot see clearly unless you are sitting right in front of the laptop
  • Comes pre-installed with Windows S mode, that lets you only download Microsoft store apps and lets you use Microsoft Edge as the browser. You will have to pay extra to jump to full Windows 10

Dell Inspiron 14 5481, 2 in 1...
  • Fun and functional 2 in 1 laptop
  • Windows 10 S Home operating System.Dell Mobile Connect is not available on Windows 10 in S mode
  • 14.0-Inch HD (1366 x 768) LED-backlit Touch Display
  • 8th Generation Intel Core i3-8145u Processor (4MB Cache, up to 3.9 GHz)
  • 4GB (4Gx1) DDR4, 2666MHz

Last update 2020-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#7 Acer Aspire 15.6-inch Laptop

The Acer Aspire 15.6 inch laptop is a high performance device with AMZ Rizen Dual Core processor, 4 GB RAM and 128 GB storage. It also comes with a Vega 3 graphics card which may not be of much use to seniors but is a good to have feature. It is one of the best priced laptops in its performance range.

PROS:

  • Good processing speed at up to 3.5 GHz
  • Large screen with high resolution (1920 x 1080)
  • Comes with pre-installed Windows 10 operating system
  • Long battery life of 7.5 hours
  • USB 3.0 port available for super fast transfer of data
  • Good speaker sound quality
  • Back-lit keyboard for better visibility

CONS:

  • At just under 4 lbs it is not the lightest laptop and may cause strain on wrists if not carried with care.
  • No CD or DVD drives
  • No touchscreen display

Sale
Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop,...
  • AMD Ryzen 3 3200U Dual Core Processor (Up to 3.5GHz); 4GB DDR4 Memory; 128GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • 15.6 inches Full HD (1920 x 1080) Widescreen LED backlit IPS Display; AMD Radeon Vega 3 Mobile Graphics
  • 1 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Port, 2 USB 2.0 Ports & 1 HDMI Port with HDCP support
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Backlit Keyboard; Up to 7.5 Hours Battery Life
  • Windows 10 in S mode. Maximum Power Supply Wattage 65 W

Last update 2020-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#8 HP 15-inch Chromebook

The HP 15-inch laptop runs on the google chrome operating system and has a 15-inch touchscreen display with resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. It runs on dual core processor with RAM capacity of 4 GB and internal storage of 64 GB.

PROS:

  • Best in class display resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels for sharper pictures
  • Touchscreen monitor helps prevent mistyping and clicking for the elderly with neurological conditions
  • Long battery life of up to 13 hours
  • Backlit keyboard for better visibility in low light
  • 4 GB RAM is sufficient on chrome operating system, given the resource light nature of the OS

CONS:

  • Processor speed is not high at 2.3 Ghz, but is not a problem unless you are running heavy software
  • Memory cannot be upgraded beyond 4 GB

HP Chromebook 15-Inch Laptop,...
  • Power to work and play all day: all the power you need to stay productive and entertained on a seamless Chrome experience
  • Designed to look as good as you: find strength and durability in a stylish, ceramic-like finish with a 3D metal design
  • Processor: Intel Pentium gold 4417U Gold Processor, dual-core, 2.3 GHz
  • Display: 15.6-Inch diagonal FHD IPS bright View micro-edge WLED-backlit touchscreen display (1920 x 1080)
  • Memory: 4 GB ddr-2133 SDRAM

Last update 2020-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#9 Acer Swift 13.3 inch Ultrabook Laptop

The laptop is a basic model with a 13.3 inch screen and resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. It runs on intel quad core processor with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB internal storage.

PROS:

  • Fingerprint reader integrated with touchpad; no requirement to remember passwords
  • Quad core processor for better processing speeds
  • Good screen resolution providing sharp and clear pictures
  • Extremely lightweight laptop at just 2.9 lbs; suitable to be carried along
  • Long battery life; runs for 6 – 8 hours on full charge, depending on usage
  • Comes with full version of Windows Home operating system

CONS:

  • Laptop does not have a touchscreen for ease of navigation
  • You may want to buy an external hard drive to supplement storage

Acer Swift 13.3" Full HD Intel...
  • Acer Swift 1 Ultrabook Pure Silver featured fingerprint reader;
  • 13.3" Full HD IPS Anti-Glare ComfyView LED Backlit Display (1920 x 1080) | HD Webcam and HD stereo speakers;
  • Quad-Core Intel Pentium N4200 (1.1GHz - 2.5GHz) with Intel HD Graphics 505;
  • 4GB DDR3L SDRAM 1600MHz | 64GB eMMC flash drive | Built in WiFi 802.11 ac | Bluetooth 4.0| Windows 10 OS;
  • SD card reader | 1 x USB 2.0 | 2 x USB 3.0 | 1 x USB-C 3.1 | HDMI.

Last update 2020-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Accessories

If your laptop does not have a feature that you would want, most likely there exists an accessory which will let you have access to that feature by using USB compatible devices. For example, if you would need a fingerprint reader to do away with the hassle of remembering passwords, but maintain strong security, you may buy a fingerprint reader which is a plug and play device (device driver will be automatically installed once you plug it in an USD drive). Similarly, many users may be more comfortable with a mouse, than being on the touch-pad of the touchscreen. Also, if you want short term expansion of a bit of storage, USD storage drives up to 32 GB are available widely to address your problem.

Tweaks to Get the Laptop Set Up for Your Loved One

Finally, once your new laptop arrives, you need to set it up for the user in a way that will suit her needs. For example, you can increase font size, screen resolution, adjust volume settings as per hearing requirements, fingerprint authentication etc. – things which will make the life of your elderly parent easier. You may also want to install Skype and Google Hangout or any software which is likely to get used, and do not forget to add a logo shortcut on the desktop or the taskbar where it is easily visible for the user to find.

Conclusion

Depending on how active your elderly parent is, it is also useful to teach a few basic hacks to make life easy with a computer. Like how to search for an application if you have mistakenly deleted the shortcut from desktop. Or, how to use Cortana – Microsoft’s AI powered assistant on Windows operating systems. The laptops that we have reviewed above are all sub-500 $ and will most likely not put a dent on your savings. However, it will make it much easier for your loved one to communicate with you and keep herself entertained!

Prosenjit has extensive experience in clean energy financing, banking and data science. He is driven by making an impact on lives through data powered decision making. He is passionate about working at the cross section of healthcare and data science and has deployed machine learning models in hospitals as decision support systems, which have the capability of automatically identifying patients with COVID-19 from X-ray and CT-Scan images. He believes that machine learning can be utilized to significantly improve and automate senior care. By education, he has completed his MBA and B. Tech. in Computer Science and Engineering.

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