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The best laptops for seniors

Finding the right laptop for you isn’t always easy, no matter what age you are, but if you’re more senior in years, there are some laptops that may be better suited to you than others. A bright and easy-to-read display is a must, and larger keys on a keyboard can make typing a little easier and more comfortable. A lightweight design and the option for touch-screen inputs are a nice touch and can improve ease of use, too.

The best laptops for seniors

Best overall: Dell XPS 13 9310

If the intended user is looking for a Windows laptop — whether because they are already familiar with the operating system or want something more flexible — there are plenty of excellent laptop options out there. Apple isn’t the only company that has refined its designs to near perfection, as evidenced by Dell’s XPS 13 series. The XPS line consistently makes “best of” lists year over year, and for good reason. The XPS 13 is light, attractive, and has powerful specs to push it to the limit.

The XPS 13 9310 comes with the latest 11th-generation Tiger Lake Intel processors, so users will get ample performance no matter what configuration they choose. The base model has a 13.4-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200) anti-glare display that goes up to 500 nits. That makes for a crisp and very bright image, but you can bump that up to 4K for an even better image if you want — just make sure to set the scaling so that everything remains legible.

The XPS 13 9310 has a lot and lacks very little. That’s why it’s consistently the go-to laptop for Windows users. That is still the case for older generations.

Best iOS option: iPad Air

iPad Air 4th Generation
Andrew Martonik/Digital Trends

The iPad Air may not seem like the most obvious choice, but it is one of the most compelling options for older generations. This is especially true if the intended user isn’t particularly tech-savvy and doesn’t want to spend all day fiddling with their device. iPadOS is nearly identical to iOS, so it’s a great companion if the user also has an iPhone. Plus, with iPads supporting mice and keyboards, the iPad Air can work like a laptop, too.

The A14 chip in the iPad Air gives the machine plenty of power, and Apple will continue to support it with updates for years to come. And if you want a keyboard, Apple has several options like the Magic Keyboard and Smart Folio. There are also many third-party vendors that offer affordable Bluetooth keyboards.

For an affordable, functional, and convenient device, it doesn’t get any simpler than the iPad Air. The only real drawback to the iPad Air is that you will have to buy the keyboard separately, such as the Magic Keyboard. If you like the iPad as an alternative to a laptop but want to save some money, an entry-level iPad will get you a very similar experience at half the cost.

Best MacBook: M1 MacBook Air

Macbook Air M1
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The M1 MacBook Air is one of the best overall laptops available right now, so it’s a no-brainer that it is also one of the best laptops for seniors. As it turns out, many of the things that make the M1 MacBook Air a fabulous computer are also the reasons it is great for seniors. The MacBook Air is thin and light, which makes it easy to carry and travel with, and it has great performance and long battery life.

The keyboard on the MacBook Air is also spacious and comfortable, and it’s one of the most comfortable typing experiences around. The Retina display on the MacBook Air remains one of the best on the market, and the crisp image makes it easy to navigate and make out details.

The only real drawback of the M1 MacBook Air is the webcam. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but it isn’t good, either. If video calls are really important, we recommend the device below.

But as far as overall experiences go, the M1 MacBook Air is one of the best computers you can get, and it is a great companion for seniors.

Best for videoconferencing: Google Pixelbook Go

Google Pixelbook Go portability
Riley Young / Digital Trends

Video calls have become far more commonplace since the pandemic hit, and they will likely continue to be relevant into the future even after life returns to normal. If you like to check in with your family or you manage a team, getting a computer with a solid webcam is a must for clear images. For that, we recommend the Google Pixelbook Go, which is at the top of our best videoconferencing laptops list.

The webcam is 1080p, so the image is clear and crisp on the other end. It’s a surprisingly high-quality webcam for such an affordable laptop. The Pixelbook Go is also lightweight and durable, thanks to its magnesium chassis. ChromeOS is fluid, simple to use, and perfect for web browsing. It’s a bit limited for heavy tasks, but for users who primarily want to make video calls and browse the web, it’s a near-perfect solution.

Best 2-in-1: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Detachable

Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

This would usually go to the Microsoft Surface Pro 7, but with its latest upgrade, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Detachable is a far more compelling purchase. It isn’t as refined as the Surface experience, and the pen is less than perfect. However, the ThinkPad X1 Detachable is still an exceptional 2-in-1 with a lot of great features. It has an 11th-gen Intel processor, making it a snappy performer, and the display is 1920 x 1280 with 400 nits max brightness.

The big selling point is the X1’s keyboard. Lenovo has dominated the typing experience with its ThinkPad series, and the X1 Detachable is no different. Best of all, it’s actually included in the package and doesn’t require a separate purchase like the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 (or even the iPad Air).

Since the keyboard is detachable, the ThinkPad X1 makes an exceptional tablet with its roomy and bright display. If you’re looking for a solid 2-in-1 with a great detachable keyboard, this is the preferred one for now. You can get it for a steep discount with an eCoupon on Lenovo’s website.

Best budget option: Acer Aspire 5 with Ryzen

There are many compelling budget laptops out there, but the Acer Aspire 5 series are among the most compelling. The lineup can be confusing because laptops of the same name will have wildly different configurations, but we recommend the latest 2021 model with an AMD Ryzen 3 3200U processor. At $500, it has everything you need for a laptop, and its display is clear and bright.

The physical hard drive will make boot times notably slower, but that may not be a massive deal to some users, and it can always be upgraded to a solid-state drive later. The keyboard is also decent, but the real story is the robust I/O. It’s a thin and light laptop, but it also comes packed with two USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.1 port, an HDMI port, and even an Ethernet jack. It’s great for users who have a lot of older accessories and peripherals and don’t want to use a dongle.

For $500, it’s one of the best laptop experiences you can get, and it’s perfect for seniors.

Best 17-inch option: LG Gram 17

If you are looking for something with a larger display, the LG Gram 17 is going to be the sweet spot for most seniors. It has a big and beautiful display but is still incredibly light. It’s called the Gram for a reason — at just under 3 pounds, it’s a thin and light laptop that doesn’t compromise on performance to get that thin frame.

The new LG Gram 17 comes with an Intel 11th-gen Tiger Lake i7-1165G7 and 16GB of RAM. That’s a beefy chip that is going to handle just about anything you throw at it, and the 1TB NVMe SSD offers plenty of storage with exceptional read/write speeds. The 17-inch display is the real story, though. At 2560 x 1600, images are clear, and text is easy to read. With all of this combined, the LG Gram 17 is an impressive option for those looking for a lightweight option with practically zero compromises.

If you plan on traveling a lot or just want a powerful computer with a large and vibrant display, the LG Gram 17 comes highly recommended.

What makes a good laptop for seniors?

When you’re looking for laptops for seniors, there are a few things you want to consider. For one, you don’t want to get anything overly heavy. This is especially true if the senior has any sort of physical disability.

Finding a laptop with a bright and clear display is also essential if the user has poor eyesight. You will want to find something that is at least 300 nits and no lower than 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution. This ensures that the image is always bright and crisp, even on larger displays.

Other than that, it’s just about finding what is suitable for the individual. What will the laptop be used for? Is it just for surfing the internet? Will the webcam be used? Are there hobbies to consider, like photography or gaming? These questions will shape what is and isn’t right for them. If you want to know more, check out our laptop buying guide.

Can seniors get a discount on laptops?

If you are shopping online, you may want to see if you qualify for any discounts. For instance, Amazon doesn’t offer a specific discount for senior citizens, but it does offer discounts on its Prime membership for recipients of EBT cards or Medicaid patients. This gives you a significantly lower $5.99 per month membership compared to the regular $12.99. That may not sound like much initially, but Prime members get exclusive discounts, including those on the annual Prime Day. That means you can get significant discounts on all kinds of electronics, including laptops. If you qualify for the discount, it’s worth getting the membership, especially if you want to use Prime Video.

Editors' Recommendations

Caleb Clark
Caleb Clark is a full-time writer that primarily covers consumer tech and gaming. He also writes frequently on Medium about…
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