Monday, January 20, 2014

Advice on Smartphones for those with Poor Eyesight?

I've never tried asking for advice here before, and I don't even know how many people actually read this, but does anyone have any idea which smartphone is best for someone with poor eyesight?  I have vision problems and even after 2 operations on my eyes and with glasses, small print and fine detail remain a problem.  At home I use a 27-inch computer monitor; when out and about I've been using an unsmart Nokia phone for years for voice calls, but I rarely use SMS as the screen is too small for comfort.

Now my phone is showing signs of dying on me, plus I really need to be able to access my email when I'm out for meetings or whatever; it would also be nice to use WhatsApp.  I don't care so much about photographic capability, as I generally carry a neat little Canon S100 everywhere with me.  Music capability is not a deal-breaker either.

So, time for a smartphone (several generations behind everyone else!), but which one?  After a bit of Googling, which mostly uncovered recommendations for already-obsolete models (isn't it time everything on the Internet carried a "use by" date?), I have reached a few conclusions:
  • A big screen should help, but is not always better if the resolution is not good enough.  Contrast and brightness are important, not just size (and other factors, too).
  • Most phones made specifically for those with poor eyesight appear to assume that the user is a senile centenarian who's deadly afraid of technology.  I'm not.
  • Both Apple and Android operating systems offer some features or apps which can help (e.g. by magnifying text or reading it aloud), as does Windows Phone, but none has a definitive edge over the others in this area.
Does anyone have any comments on the following, which look like the best possibilities?
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 or Galaxy Mega 6.3
  • HTC One Max
  • Nokia Lumia 1520
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
  • LG G Flex

Experiences and alternatives welcome.  Incidentally, I have big hands so a relatively large phone is not a problem - in fact, smaller phones tend to be too fiddly for my fingers.

By the way, am I the only one who wonders why, in a world where the proportion of elderly people is steadily increasing, with the inevitable deterioration of visual functioning that comes with age, we are nevertheless being expected to read ever smaller print?  (Shrinking screens, bank terms and conditions printed in 6-point type - not to mention the teenage website designers, probably descended from Douglas Adams' telephone sanitisers, who think that pink on purple is a really cool colour combination.) 


Foamier said...

Note 3. Great screen and long battery life.

Troika said...