These are some of the best laptops you can buy for seniors in August 2021
If you’re looking to buy a new laptop for your elderly parents or grandparents, it’s important to consider a few factors before making your choice. There are some fantastic laptops out there, but that doesn’t mean they’re all the greatest choice for older users. Finding the best laptop for seniors is a bit more tricky than just getting the latest and greatest specs.
For one thing, you need to take into account the familiarity the user has with specific operating systems. If they’re more accustomed to a particular interface, changing it dramatically can mean trouble. It’s also important to choose something with a large screen that’s easy to read. It’s even better if it’s a touchscreen, since that’s the most natural input method you can get. In fact, it’s good to consider all input methods like the keyboard and trackpad, because you want things to be as seamless as possible. Finally you also need to figure out their use case, which will help you narrow down systems based on the performance capabilities.
Based on these factors, we’ve curated this list of the best laptops for seniors that you can get right now.
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- Best overall: HP Envy 17
- Affordable Windows alternative: Samsung Galaxy Book Go
- Best Mac laptop: MacBook Air
- Best Chromebook: Acer Chromebook Spin 713
- Affordable Chromebook alternative: Dell Chromebook 3100 2-in-1
- Best Windows tablet: Surface Go 2
- Best for iPhone users: iPad Air (with a keyboard cover)
- Best for Android users: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 (with keyboard cover)
Best overall laptop for seniors: HP Envy 17
A big screen can be a big help when it comes to using a laptop. With a bigger screen, you have bigger text that’s easier to read and larger targets to click or touch. This can help make the experience less frustrating for someone who might have some trouble reading small text or hitting small buttons. Touch isn’t included on all models, but you can add touch support to this laptop for just $40, which can also go a long way to make things more intuitive. That combination helps make this one of the best laptops you can buy for seniors. This laptop also has the benefit of having a backlit keyboard, so even in darker rooms, it’s easy to see the keys.
As a bonus, this is also a very high-performance machine, with Intel Core i5-1135G7 processors at the base level and 8GB of RAM enabling some multitasking. The base configuration also includes a 128GB SSD and a 1TB HDD, so you have a lot of storage to store documents and pictures for years. The trackpad isn’t all that big, but Windows laptops come with Precision drivers, so you should still get a good experience. Finally, you get a healthy selection of ports, with three USB Type-A ports, one USB Type-C, HDMI, SD card reader, and headphone jack. And, like all the Windows laptops on this list, it will support the upgrade to Windows 11 once it releases.
Affordable Windows alternative: Samsung Galaxy Book Go
Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to spend over $800 on a laptop, especially if you’re not going to use it for powerful tasks. If you want something light, well-built, and powerful enough for basic tasks, the Samsung Galaxy Book Go is a fantastic option that was introduced recently. It costs just $349.99, but it’s still very capable. It has a 14-inch Full HD display that’s great for viewing content, and a large trackpad too. Something else to appreciate is that the Up and Down arrows on the keyboard aren’t squeezed between the side arrows, so they’re easier to press without accidentally touching the others.
It has a sleek and slim design, partly thanks to the fact that it doesn’t need a fan for cooling. It’s powered by an ARM processor, the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2, and that also means you get very long battery life — up to 18 hours. Plus you get 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, which makes this a very capable machine for day-to-day tasks.
If the person is already using a Samsung smartphone, this is an even better choice thanks to dedicated apps that improve the experience across devices. It has a decent amount of ports, with two USB Type-C ports, one USB Type-A, a microSD card reader, and a headphone jack. If you’re looking for an affordable laptop for seniors, this is one of your best options.
Best Mac laptop for seniors: MacBook Air
Not everyone is used to Windows, and if you know someone who prefers macOS, the MacBook Air is the way to go. Not only that, but it might also be the best option for first-time owners of a PC, or those who haven’t had one in a long time. macOS offers more of a hassle-free experience so it’s easier to get started and get things done without interruptions. macOS is also great for security because not a lot of viruses are designed for it. If you’re worried about accidentally downloading malware, this option can help prevent problems with your computer over time.
That’s to say nothing of the fantastic performance the latest MacBook Air offers. Apple recently redesigned the laptop with its in-house Apple M1 chipset, which has proven to be very fast and efficient for a device of this size. It’s much more powerful than the Intel processors in previous generations, but it offers up to 18 hours of battery life on a charge. You also get 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage, which is good enough for most people. Of course, you get a 13.3-inch display with a super sharp 2560 x 1600 resolution and a 16:10 aspect ratio. This is great for reading articles and generally viewing content online. IO is a little lackluster with two USB Type-C/Thunderbolt ports, but you can use a Thunderbolt dock to expand that if you need to.
Best Chrome OS laptop for seniors: Acer Chromebook Spin 713
When it comes to premium Chromebooks, it’s hard to recommend anything other than the Acer Chromebook Spin 713. It’s already been on this list for a while, and the latest refresh makes it even better. For $699, you get an Intel Core i5-1135G7 with Intel Iris Xe Graphics, which is already a great start. Then you add 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage, and you have a much more powerful PC than you’ll ever need for Chrome OS. This is a very lightweight operating system and mostly browser-based, but you can install Android apps too, making it great for someone who’s familiar with Android phones.
It has a solid metal build and a convertible design that makes it great for use with touch, which tends to be more intuitive. It also meets the military standard MIL-STD-810H for durability, so even drops and bumps won’t break it easily. Another highlight of this machine is the display, a 13.5-inch panel with a resolution of 2256 x 1505 and a 3:2 aspect ratio. For $699, you won’t find anything that sharp anywhere else, and the tall aspect ratio makes it great for reading and browsing the web. And this is another one of those rare devices where the top and bottom arrows are on separate rows, so you’re less likely to press the wrong key. Again, that’s good news for older people who may have trouble hitting the right keys.
Affordable Chromebook alternative: Dell Chromebook 11 3100 2-in-1
If $699 can get you a Chrome OS laptop as good as the Acer Chromebook Spin 713, you can definitely save a buck and still get a solid experience. The Dell Chromebook 11 3100 is a very affordable option, but it’s still got a lot to offer. As we’ve mentioned, Chrome OS is a lightweight operating system, so even with an Intel Celeron processor, it should be just fine for day-to-day tasks on the web. It also comes with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of eMMC storage.
This is enough if most of the things you’re doing are web-based and you’re not downloading many files. Plus, this is a convertible, so you can spin the screen around and use the touch screen for a more intuitive experience. The smaller 11.6-inch screen may not be easy to see for everyone, but on the flip side, it helps make this computer lighter and more portable. You can always change the text size and scaling to make things easier to read if you have to.
Once again, this is one of those PCs where the arrows on the keyboard use a proper inverted T layout, which might make it easier to hit the right keys. The trackpad is small of course, but there isn’t a lot of space on a machine like this for more. You do get a lot of ports for a PC of this size though — two USB Type-A, two USB Type-C, HDMI, microSD card reader, and a headphone jack. As a bonus, it’s also built to be durable, so it can take some hits without breaking. It’s one of the best affordable laptops for seniors who only occasionally use a PC.
Best Windows tablet for seniors: Surface Go 2
As we’ve mentioned, touchscreens can be more intuitive than a keyboard and mouse. So why not go for something that revolves completely around the touchscreen? The Surface Go 2 is an affordable Windows tablet that’s powered by an Intel Pentium 4425Y processor (unless you want to upgrade to an Intel Core m3). It also has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage at the base level, but there are upgrade options for that, too. Even then though, this is a computer that’s fast enough for lightweight tasks like browsing the web or the occasional video call with the family. In fact, webcams are one of the strong points for Surface devices, so it’s great for that.
It’s got a relatively small 10.5-inch display, which may not be ideal for everyone, but that also makes it easy to carry and hold in one hand without straining. That display is pretty sharp thanks to the 1920 x 1280 resolution, plus the 3:2 aspect ratio makes it great for reading and browsing the web. You can even get a Surface Pen if you think you’ll get a use out of it, or complement the tablet with a Type Cover for when you do need a physical keyboard. For portability and overall convenience, the Surface Go 2 is definitely one of the best laptops for seniors.
Best for iPhone users: iPad Air (with keyboard cover)
Familiarity with an operating system is one of the key factors we’ve mentioned when buying a laptop for seniors. If you know someone who hasn’t used a PC in a while (or ever), a great option might be getting them a tablet. Apple is known for making intuitive software, so there’s a good chance you’re buying a laptop for someone who already has an iPhone. In that case, getting an iPad Air can help bring that familiar experience to a larger screen. These days, a tablet can be as capable as most basic laptops, so this is definitely a valid option for older users. They can use it to browse the web or get the apps they’re already familiar with.
With the Apple A14 processor, the iPad Air is definitely powerful enough for anything you might need to do. It’s also great for calls thanks to its HD cameras and stereo speakers. And the 10.5-inch display, while somewhat small, is incredibly sharp with a 2360 x 1640 resolution, so everything will look crisp and clear. It also supports the Apple Pencil, if you like taking notes or drawing more naturally. But if you want a more traditional laptop experience, you’ll need to add a keyboard cover. Apple sells its own Magic Keyboard for iPad, but there are alternatives from Logitech and Brydge if you want something a little different. Regardless, for someone who’s already familiar with iOS, buying the iPad Air makes a lot of sense as a laptop.
- It's more of a tablet than a laptop, but the iPad Air is a very capable and versatile device, It can do almost anything a basic laptop can, and has a thin and lightweight design. The experience will feel familiar for iPhone users, and you can also add a keyboard for a more traditional laptop experience.
Best for Android users: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 (with a keyboard cover)
If the person you’re buying a laptop for is an Android user rather than an iPhone user, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is the way to go. There really isn’t a lot of competition in the Android tablet space, especially in the high-end segment, so Samsung easily stands out. The Galaxy Tab S7 is the company’s rival to the iPad Air, and has a lot to offer. For one thing, it includes Samsung’s S Pen out of the box, so that’s something you don’t need to buy separately. Plus, Samsung has recently added something called DeX mode. By using DeX mode, your Galaxy Tab S7 can change to a more PC-like interface, so it feels more like a regular laptop. Of course, you can stay in the regular mode so it feels more like an Android phone.
Again, the Galaxy Tab S7 has a fairly small screen at 11-inches, but it favors portability if that’s more important to you. It’s still a very sharp display at 2560 x 1600 resolution, and it’s the only device on this list with a 120Hz refresh rate. You might not notice the difference right away, but the extra smoothness can help reduce eye strain. Just like the iPad Air, you’ll need to buy a separate keyboard cover for a more traditional laptop experience, but it may be worth the trade-off if the user is already familiar with Android.
- For users who are already familiar with Android, the Galaxy Tab S7 might be the right kind of laptop experience. It feels just like a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, but using DeX, it can also have more of a traditional PC interface. You can also get a keyboard cover to get closer to a traditional laptop form factor.
Whether you’re buying for someone who’s already familiar with laptops or a first-timer, these options are all great for different kinds of users. It’s all about knowing who you’re buying for, and what they might value in a laptop. You could make the argument that tablets aren’t laptops, and in that case, the HP Envy 17 or the MacBook Air are probably the best options for you. But if tablets can handle most of the tasks you’d be doing on a PC, then why not choose something that’s more familiar like the iPad Air or the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7?
Ultimately, it’s up to your use case, so make sure you know who you’re buying for before making a choice.