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What Is The Easiest Laptop For Seniors?

What Is The Easiest Laptop For Seniors?
Older adults and seniors may face challenges when wanting to use new technology. They might think it will be too difficult, or not realize the benefit that could be gained.
But that shouldn't stop anyone wishing to utilize a new computer or laptop.

In fact, technology adoption among older adults has grown significantly. According to "Today, 67% of seniors use the internet – a 55-percentage-point increase in just under two decades".

Anyone can learn and find enjoyment using the latest technology. This article is intended for those senior citizens who are unsure, but want some clarity, about laptop computers.

How can a laptop help senior citizens?

A laptop computer simply helps seniors connect.
Helps them connect to friends and family, connect to email, online banking, and social networking sites. They can also use a program like Skype to make video calls to loved ones. There are on-line games to play, news to read, and of course search Google.

What to look for when buying a laptop for seniors?

Before you go out to buy a new laptop let's begin by narrowing down all the choices.
We'll start with defining your personal requirements and wants. Next, we'll discuss the options in laptop computers today. This should arm you with enough information to purchase the right laptop for you.

It might be helpful to start a list to keep track of your decisions as we progress through the selection process.

The Basics
Let's first ask a few questions so we know where our starting point is. 
We can then begin to know the scope of our available laptop selections.
We'll start with looking at your price range, how you wish to use a new laptop, the available sizes and what operating system may be the best fit for you.

Price Range -
Laptops are available in various sizes and configurations and therefore their price's range wildly.
If you already know or have a budget in mind, that is a good starting point to dive into all the offerings. An average price for a decent laptop is roughly $400 - $600 US.
Add your budget to the top of the list you're creating.

Laptop Use -
How you intend to use a new laptop will partially determine it's cost.
I would venture a guess to say most senior citizens are not looking for a top of the line gaming system. I'm going to break this down into just two categories: Everyday Use and Work Use.
Everyday Use:
It's likely a modest laptop capable of day to day tasks, such as email, word processing, and perhaps Skype video conferencing will be sufficient. This will be a mid-range laptop.
Work Use:
For work, a business laptop with more processing power may be right for you. This will be a higher end laptop.
You will need to decide, and add to your list, what you want to do with a laptop.

Size and Portability -
A smaller laptop is more portable but it also has a smaller screen.
Think about an LCD screen size in the range of 13" to 15".  This will be large enough to be read easily for seniors. A 15' screen is a great size, but may be a little to large of a laptop to carry around.
Think about how often and where you will carry this laptop, then choose an appropriate size, and add it to the list.

Operating System -
The operating system (OS) is the software that runs the laptop. The most common and widely used OSes today are Microsoft Windows, Apple MacOS, and Google's Chrome OS.

Are you familiar with any operating system now?
If so, perhaps stick with what you know and purchase a new laptop with the same OS.
If not, there are a few questions we can ask.
- Do you use a smartphone?
  Smartphones run an OS. Common one's are Apple iOS for iPhones, and Android for most others.
  • If you use and are comfortable with an iPhone, then consider an Apple Mac laptop.
  • If you use an Android based phone, perhaps Google's Chrome OS would feel right.
  • Microsoft Windows is hugely popular and a great choice as well.
If you already know your preference for an OS add it to the list.
If you don't know yet which OS is right for you, that's okay. We'll move on and look at other options.

Laptop Components
Laptops are made up of many components. We'll talk about them here so you will understand what's important to you.
Again, I will define these in terms of an everyday laptop vs. work laptop for simplicity.

Computer Specs -
Laptops contain the CPU or processor, memory, hard drive storage, battery, onboard camera, keyboard, display, and ports among other things.
Instead of going into a deep dive about each of these components, it will be easier illustrate what to look for in an everyday laptop and a more powerful work laptop.

An everyday laptop will be powerful enough and capable of performing your day-to-day tasks. It will handle word processing, emails, Skype video calls, online banking, visiting social networking sites, surfing the web, etc.

Work laptops are generally more robust, have a more powerful processor and probably more memory, and better battery life. These might be used for video editing, running several programs at the same time, etc.

What to look for in everyday laptop
Processor: Any Intel or AMD chip will be fine. The least powerful are the Atom and Celeron series.
Memory: 4 to 8 GB, while 8GB is preferred.
Storage Space: Around 240GB HDD. If you intend to store a lot of data and pictures, think about 500GB to 1TB.

What to look for in work laptop
Processor: Look for a newer Intel  or AMD chip. Intel i5 and above will be sufficient.
Memory: 8 to 16 GB, if you plan performing intensive applications buy 16GB of memory.
Storage Space: At least 500GB, maybe 1TB. for plenty of storage.

Additional Considerations
Display size: as mentioned above 13" to 15" screen is recommended.  A 15" screen is easier to read and you can increase the font size.
Keyboard: Look for a large enough keyboard that will be easy to type on.
Ports: Newer laptops have plenty of side ports and should be enough for your uses. One of the newest ports is the USB-C, and more devices will incorporate this in the future. If interested, you can read all about the different versions of USB ports in a previous article.
Weight: Pay attention to the weight of the laptop if you intend to travel or carry it often. Also consider purchasing a backpack for this purpose.
Camera: Most laptops have onboard cameras for video conferencing and Skype. And most cameras are not very good, but a few laptops are Skype certified, meaning their audio and camera are up to speed.

Standard Laptop Or A 2-in-1 Laptop?
You are familiar with a standard design laptop, the type where the display opens and closes. Well, a 2-in-1 laptop is one where the display can open up almost 360 degrees, and is also a touchscreen.
This allows it to act as a laptop and also a tablet, so it's worth a consideration if you have an interest in this.

OS Differences
Chromebook Laptops:
  • Run Google's Chrome OS
  • Generally cost less than the others
  • Automatically download and install updates
  • Rely on an active internet connection more than the others
Windows OS Laptops:
  • Run Microsoft Windows 10 OS
  • Generally priced less than MacBooks but more than Chromebooks
  • Very widely used OS, supported on a wide range of laptops
MacOS Laptops:
  • Run Apple's MacOS only on Apple's hardware
  • Priced higher than the others
  • A very stable OS

In Summary

Choosing a new laptop as a senior or older adult can be overwhelming. But seniors have shown to be eager to adopt new technology and thrive with it. There are many factors to consider when trying to find the easiest laptop for seniors. Start a list with your basic requirements and filter out the options that don't fit. Any senior citizen can find a laptop that will be the best fit for them.


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