iMac for the Elderly - Screen size?

quasinormal

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 26, 2007
736
4
Sydney, Australia.
I need to replace a 1st gen 17" intel imac that my 80 year mother has used for the last 5 years.

What is the best size for the elderly? A 27 " or 21.5"? I guess Universal Access is must for both resolutions.
 

firedept

macrumors 603
Jul 8, 2011
5,606
454
Somewhere!
I would say the 27" if you have the real estate for it. I am older (please do not ask specific age) and my eyes have been going down hill over the last several years. I have a 20.5" and a 27" and let me tell you there is a difference. The 27" has been real nice to work with. Now if your mothers eye sight is good I would say go with the 21.5". My darling wife and children have no eye sight problems and quite like the 20.5".
 

Fester1952

macrumors member
Jul 22, 2012
99
9
Adelaide, Australia
I am up in the over 60 category, my eyesight certainly isn't what it used to be, but I have just come from a PC world to a Mac world and I find the 27" screen perfect for me. Admittedly I have reduced the resolution to 1920x1080 but I find that ideal for me.
 

forty2j

macrumors 68030
Jul 11, 2008
2,585
2
NJ
My mom uses the 27", but I needed to show her how to put the resolution menu in the top bar. The native is too tiny for her.
 

Moriarty

macrumors 6502
Feb 3, 2008
418
128
She's 80... a 27" iMac really seems like overkill. Get a Mac Mini and a separate monitor.
 

gnasher729

macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
16,594
3,217
I would go for the smaller one; 27" is really huge and the pixel really small. I think the 21"fit better.
However, you can buy the 27", and turn it into "HiDPI" mode. That is the technology behind the Retina display, just without an actual Retina display. The iMac will behave as if it had 1280 x 720 pixels on 27", but with the same extra quality for text and graphics as a retina display.
 

Ddyracer

macrumors 68000
Nov 24, 2009
1,783
31
I need to replace a 1st gen 17" intel imac that my 80 year mother has used for the last 5 years.

What is the best size for the elderly? A 27 " or 21.5"? I guess Universal Access is must for both resolutions.
The 27 inch has a high res but it makes everything look small. The 21.5 has a lower res but makes the GUI look bigger.


Go with the 21.5. Your Mother will have less difficulty using it.
 

plucky duck

macrumors 6502a
Jan 5, 2012
576
107
I would go with a 21" model if I were to get one for my parents. They don't really need the super large display or the higher resolution. The lower res and larger UI is actually a better fit for their daily use. The UI element is where they'll experience eye strain. In Safari browsing is not so much an issue since you can scale your content to your eye's content.
 

philipma1957

macrumors 603
Apr 13, 2010
6,271
191
Howell, New Jersey
However, you can buy the 27", and turn it into "HiDPI" mode. That is the technology behind the Retina display, just without an actual Retina display. The iMac will behave as if it had 1280 x 720 pixels on 27", but with the same extra quality for text and graphics as a retina display.
This This This This. I have had double cataract surgery. I did this with my 27 inch iMac which I kept for 18 months before selling.

I set the screen at 720p and all was well. Go to an apple store and ask a genius to do this on a store iMac. Takes seconds to do and undo.
 

laserfan

macrumors member
Jul 13, 2012
60
0
This This This This. I have had double cataract surgery. I did this with my 27 inch iMac which I kept for 18 months before selling.

I set the screen at 720p and all was well. Go to an apple store and ask a genius to do this on a store iMac. Takes seconds to do and undo.
I agree with this, get the 27 unless it can't possibly be made to fit her space.

Don't have an iMac yet, but glad to know you can set it to a "lower" resolution.

For me, a "huge new display" is akin to a "much faster processor": you get used to it in minutes. I have a 30" 2560x1600 HP and my new iMac will be AT LEAST 27".

;)
 

philosopherdog

macrumors 6502a
Dec 29, 2008
571
356
You don't really say if this person has vision difficulties. If she does then take the advice of changing the resolution which can make everything a lot bigger without distorting it. Also notice that Apple is about to release a new iMac within the next month. So wait a month and see. Who knows, maybe they may have a retina iMac on offer, but that looks doubtful. Depending on what the person is doing on the computer you may find that a retina iPad does the trick. You can hold it as close as need be, and it has lots of accessibility enhancements. Great for most light weight computing such as browsing, email, video, audio, etc. If you live near an Apple retail store consider making an appointment with a genius. It's free and they can help you with everything. Remember, Apple has brilliant service too.
 

lannisters4life

macrumors 6502
May 14, 2012
298
0
Sydney
I would overwhelmingly say the 27". With a small download from the Apple Dev site (Quartz Debug) you can set the 27" to a retina-style 1280x720, making the user interface enormous and very clear.

Edit: Great to see others recommended before I'd posted. Apple could have a major marketing coup with the visually impaired if they had the 27" HiDPI modes in the Universal Access/Accessibility preference pane.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,984
5,945
"What is the best size for the elderly? A 27 " or 21.5"? I guess Universal Access is must for both resolutions."

BOTH of these are going to have high-resolution (well, higher than it used to be, if not retina) displays that are going to make text difficult to read (for an older person with aging vision) when used at "native resolution".

Chances are, your mother will want to use a "lower-than-native" resolution for easier viewing.

An alternative, if I may suggest:
Get her a Mac mini, and for a monitor get one of the "mid-rez" 27" displays. These have TN panels, but the number of pixels is the same as it would normally be on a 24" monitor -- 1920X1080. Here's a sample:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824116524

To you, the lower-than-normal resolution on one of these monitors might look "grainy" and displeasing.

But to her, it might look "just right".
 

laserfan

macrumors member
Jul 13, 2012
60
0
Nah, she's had an iMac; she deserves another iMac. If my mum was still with us at age 80 and needed a new iMac, by God I'd get her the biggest & best one money could buy!

:)