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 laptops 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.
Best overall laptop for seniors: HP Envy 17
As we mentioned above, a big screen is one of the features seniors are likely to appreciate. Making everything bigger means it’s easier to read, and that’s why the HP Envy 17 is at the top of this list. Of course, it’s also a very good laptop in almost every other way, so you’re getting a fantastic deal here.
For starters, the HP Envy 17 is powered by 12th-generation Intel Core processors, either from the P series or the U15 series. The P-series processors go up to an Intel Core i7-1260P, which gets you 12 cores, 16 threads, and boost speeds up to 4.7GH, making for fantastic performance overall. Meanwhile, the U15 series goes up to a Core i7-1255U, which gets 10 cores and 12 threads, with similar boost speeds. The P series is naturally faster, but the U15 series processors are paired with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2050 GPU, so if you need some graphics power for whatever reason, you might prefer that. Aside from that, you get at least 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD (up to 32GB and 1TB, respectively), so you have everything you need for a great experience overall.
Laptop displays don’t get a lot bigger than 17.3-inches, and that’s what you get with the HP Envy 17, making it ideal for anyone who has difficulty reading smaller text. The base model has Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution, so it should be pretty sharp already, and touch support is available as an optional upgrade, if you want a more intuitive way to interact with the laptop. If the person using this laptop appreciates a sharper screen, there’s also an Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) panel option, too.
Staying in touch with family is one of the reasons you might buy a laptop for an older person, and the 5MP webcam on the HP Envy 17 also makes that experience that much better. This camera support 1080p video so you look great during video calls, and there’s also Windows Hello facial recognition, making it very easy to unlock your laptop whenever you need it.
Another advantage of this larger size is that the HP Envy 17 has a number pad on the keyboard, which may be an easier way to enter numbers for some people. The laptop as a whole looks fairly basic, but it’s also very premium. A downside to having a machine this big is that it’s a bit harder to carry around, and at 5.49lbs, this one is a bit heavy. But if you’re mostly using this at home, that’s probably not a big deal. The laptop is also just under 20mm thick, so it’s not too chunky.
All in all, the HP Envy 17 is one of the best 17-inch laptops you can buy, and as such, one of the very best options if you’re buying a laptop for seniors.
HP Envy 17
The HP Envy 17 has a very large 17.3-inch display with optional touch support, a full backlit keyboard, and plenty of storage for all the files you could want. It’s a fast PC too, and it has a lot of ports for peripherals.
Affordable Windows alternative: Lenovo IdeaPad 3
Many older users may be buying a laptop for casual and occasional use, so it doesn’t always make sense to spend over $1,000 on something like the HP Envy 17. If you want something a bit cheaper, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 may be the best choice for you. Of course, it has to cut some corners, but it’s still a great laptop all around.
Performance-wise, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is powered by AMD Ryzen processors, specifically going up to an AMD Ryzen 7 5825U. This is a very powerful laptop processor with 8 cores and 16 threads, capable of boosting up to 4.5GHz, and it’s going to handle everyday tasks just fine. Even the Ryzen 5 5625U is a very capable processor, so you can’t really go wrong here. On top of that, you get 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD in the base model, which is a solid starting point for basic use. For more avid users, 16GB would be ideal, but for more casual use, this is great.
Once again, this is a 17-inch display, giving you plenty of screen real estate to read and see everything comfortably without having to strain your eyes. This is also a Full HD (1920 x 1080) panel, so everything should look sharp enough, and up to 300 nits of brightness make it easily visible indoors. There’s no option for touch support in this one, unfortunately, but that’s not very surprising considering the price point we have here.
One of the big downsides of going with a cheaper laptop is the webcam, which is a more typical 720p sensor. To be clear, this should still do the job fine for video calls, but it won’t have the best quality around. There’s also no Windows Hello facial recognition, though if you want an easy way to unlock the laptop, there’s a fingerprint reader built into the power button for that.
Design-wise, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is somewhat basic, but it’s pretty different from the HP Envy 17. For one thing, it’s made of plastic instead of aluminum, so it feels a bit cheaper on the whole. Conversely, the plastic build helps it be much lighter, at 4.51lbs, so you should be able to carry it around a bit more easily. It’s ever so slightly thicker than the Envy 17, but it’s still under 20mm, so nothing is very different on that front. In terms of looks, though, the IdeaPad 3 gives you the option to choose an Arctic Grey or an Abyss Blue model, so you may be able to get something a bit more suited to your preference.
The port setup is also a bit more limited compared to HP’s laptop, but you still have a few options here. One USB Type-C port, two USB Type-A ports, HDMI, a full-size SD card reader, and a headphone jack allow you to connect all kinds of peripherals, or move files around from an SD card easily. The USB ports aren’t super fast, but they should get the job done just fine.
While it does make some sacrifices to get to a lower price point, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 still gets a lot of the basics right, and with a large Full HD display and other great specs, it’s still a fantastic choice. If you want one of the best laptops for seniors on the cheap, this is it.
Lenovo IdeaPad 3
The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is a great 17-inch laptop that’s still somewhat affordable. It has powerful AMD processors and a large 17-inch screen that’s great for older users.
Best Mac laptop for seniors: MacBook Air
We noted at the start that familiarity plays an important role in what laptop you should choose for a senior user. So, if you know someone who’s more familiar with Macs, it makes total sense to buy a MacBook instead. Or even for someone who’s never had a laptop before, since macOS is often seen as more novice-friendly than Windows. It doesn’t have a huge screen, but that’s just not a viable option with MacBooks, so the MacBook Air is your best choice.
Starting with the internals, the latest MacBook Air is powered by the Apple M2 chipset, which is a very fast and very efficient processor. It has a total of eight cores, four for performance, and four for efficiency, but it’s still very fast. And that efficiency is no joke, as you’ll get better battery life out of this than just about any other laptop of this size. It has a fairly powerful GPU, too, starting with an 8-core configuration but with the option to upgrade to a 10-core model that’s up to 35% faster than the Apple M1 in the previous iteration. Aside from that, you start with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, but you can go up to 24GB and 2TB respectively, so you can make this a very fast and capable laptop.
Apple doesn’t make a lot of big-screen MacBooks, and the 16-inch MacBook Pro would be overkill for the majority of users. That’s why we’re going with the MacBook Air, which has a smaller 13.6-inch panel, and this is still a great one. For one thing, it’s very sharp, with a resolution of 2560 x 1664, and it’s also pretty bright with up to 500 nits of brightness. There’s only one configuration available, but it’s all you really need, because it’s truly great. There’s no touch support, however, and that’s a bit unfortunate if you want something a bit more intuitive.
A small intrusion at the top of the display makes way for a 1080p webcam, which is also great to see. if you’re buying this laptop to stay in touch with family and friends, this camera will ensure you look great during those video calls with the people you don’t get to see that often. Unfortunately, there’s no facial recognition here, but like all other MacBooks, it does have Touch ID to give you an easier way to unlock the laptop.
This iteration of the MacBook Air has a completely new design, too, and it looks great. It’s still an all-aluminum chassis, but now with an even design that has the same thickness all throughout the laptop, so it feels a lot more balanced. It’s also very thin – at 11.3mm – and light, weighing just 2.7lbs. It’s a great device for portability, and it looks great, too. It comes in four colors to choose from, including the classic Silver and Space Grey, along with newcomers Starlight and Midnight. This should let you get the laptop that looks how you want it to, or at least a bit closer to it.
A potential downside of this laptop is the ports, because this small chassis doesn’t have a ton of space. You get two Thunderbolt/USB4 ports, a MagSafe port for charging, and a headphone jack with support for high-impedance headphones. Having such a short supply of ports is a bit unfortunate, but MagSafe is very welcome in case you accidentally trip over the charging cable. Some users probably would have liked some ports for older peripherals, but you can get a USB-C hub for that.
While it doesn’t have a big display, the MacBook Air is a great choice for anyone who’s already more familiar with macOS, or for those using a computer for the first time in a long time. It’s very fast and it looks great, and it’s bound to give you a great experience.
Apple MacBook Air (2022)
The MacBook Air is a lightweight laptop that might be more suited for those using a laptop for the first time in a while. It’s very fast and very efficient, too.
Best premium Chrome OS laptop for seniors: Acer Chromebook Spin 714
For many of us, there are really only a handful of things we need to do with our laptops, and most of them are based on the web. That’s where Chrome OS shines, making it easier than ever to browse the web (since it’s based on the Chrome browser) in addition to allowing for laptops to be cheaper than you might expect them to be. Chrome OS provides a straightforward experience for basic tasks, and the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 is easily one of the best Chromebooks out there.
Many Chromebooks are powered by lower-end processors, but the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 isn’t holding back – you get an Intel Core i5-1235U processor, which gets you 10 cores, 12 threads, and boost speeds up to 4.4GHz. This is a great processor already, and when you consider how lightweight Chrome OS is, it means this laptop is going to run very smoothly and keep up with your needs without a problem. Plus, it also has 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, which is better than what most Chrome OS devices offer. You’re really getting a great experience here.
In terms of the display, the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 is also great, providing a 14-inch panel with a 16:10 aspect ratio. This taller format is great for reading articles online or even writing up documents, so you can see more without having to scroll as often. It’s a Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) panel, so it’s plenty sharp for its size, and because it’s a convertible, it supports touch and pen input (the pen is built into the laptop, too), and you can even use it as a tablet whenever you prefer doing that. If you want a laptop with a more intuitive interface, this is the one for you.
Above that display is a 1080p webcam, something that’s thankfully becoming increasingly common in 2022. It makes those video calls with family look that much nicer. However, there’s no facial recognition for login, and instead, you get to use a fingerprint scanner to unlock the laptop.
The design of the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 is very premium, though some users may find it a little boring. It’s an all-metal laptop, silver colored, and the display is covered by Corning Gorilla Glass for extra durability. In fact, the laptop meets MIL-STD-810H standards for durability, so if you’re giving it to someone a little more clumsy, you can rest assured it should be able to survive some drops and bumps. In terms of portability, the 3.09lbs of weight make it fairly light for a convertible, and at roughly 18mm thick, it’s not overly thick.
Finally, there are the ports, and you get a solid selection here, too. Two Thunderbolt 4 ports, one USB Type-A port, HDMI, and a headphone jack make for a very solid setup that should allow you to connect any peripheral you might need. Many laptops of this size skip out on HDMI, but it’s great to have the option here.
Overall, this is a great Chromebook with some solid specs and a premium, durable design, that’s really easy to recommend. Whether it’s for seniors or younger children, this is one of the best Chrome OS laptops around.
Acer Chromebook Spin 714
The Acer Chromebook Spin 714 is a premium Chromebook with high-end Intel processors and other great specs for an all-around solid experience.
Best large-screen Chrome OS laptop for seniros: Asus Chromebook Flip CX5
Most of the large-screen Chromebooks out there have fairly low-end specs, but if you want something that’s still very capable and a bit cheaper than the one above, the Acer Chromebook Flip CX5 may be for you. It has a significantly bigger screen, and it’s still got some modern hardware.
Starting on the inside, the Asus Chromebook Flip CX3 is powered by the Intel Core i3-1215U, a 12th-generation processor with 6 cores and 8 threads, delivering solid performance all around for Chrome OS. It’s not quite as fast as the one above, but it’s still more than capable enough, and certainly better than the sea of Intel Celeron-powered laptops you can find on the market. Plus, you also get 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, a very solid starting point for a Chrome OS laptop, considering it’s a very lightweight operating system that doesn’t need a lot of resources.
The display is kind of the centerpiece of this laptop, being that it’s a large 16-inch screen with a 16:10 aspect ratio, making it feel even bigger than the 16-inch size might suggest. This taller aspect ratio is great for reading, as we’ve mentioned, and the large size ensures everything is more easily visible for users whose vision may not be as sharp. It comes in Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) resolution, which should make for a very solid viewing experience all things considered. This is another convertible, s it supports touch and pen input, too.
The webcam on the Asus Chromebook Flip CX5 is also a 1080p camera, so it should give you great image quality for video calls when you want to get in touch with others. Plus, for those worried that the camera is secretly spying on them, a privacy shutter is built right in to cover it up.
Design-wise, the Asus Chromebook Flip CX5 comes with a “mineral grey” chassis made from an aluminum alloy, and it meets MIL-STD-810H military standards for durability, so again, if you happen to drop it, it should be able to survive. The dark look makes it a bit different from the Acer model above, so you can choose whichever fits your personal preference. Because of its large size and metal build, this one is a bit heavy, coming in at 4.77lbs, but there are heavier laptops out there, too.
Finally, in terms of ports, you get a very solid selection, with two Thunderbolt/USB Type-C ports, one USB Type-A port, HDMI, a headphone jack, and a microSD card reader for all your needs. This should ensure you can connect almost any peripheral you want, and it’s a great selection, even if it doesn’t necessarily take advantage of this larger chassis. You shouldn’t need a lot more than this.
While it’s not that much cheaper than the Acer Chromebook Spin 714, the Asus Chromebook Flip CX5 has a few things that make it truly unique, and it has a lot to offer for anyone wanting a large-screen Chromebook. If you want a cheaper alternative, the last-gen model is discounted right now and it’s still great in many ways.
ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5
The Asus Chromebook Flip CX5 is a 16-inch Chromebook with a great display and 12th-generation Intel processors.
Best Windows tablet for seniors: Surface Go 3
As nice as large screens are some users may also want a tablet instead of a laptop. Touchscreens are more intuitive to interact with a lot of the time, especially when we’re all used to smartphones and other touch-based devices. Of curse, tablets don’t make sense in very large sizes, so your best option in the Windows space is the Surface Go 3, at least if you want something somewhat affordable.
The Surface Go 3 is more budget-oriented device, and that’s shown in the internals. It’s powered by either an Intel Pentium Gold 6500Y or an Intel Core i3-10100Y, both of which are dual-core processors with four threads. This should be enough for basic tasks, though, like reading news online or getting in touch with family. The base model also includes 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage, but we definitely recommend upgrading to 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. You’ll have a far better experience this way, and you won’t have to worry about it being unable to keep up nearly as much.
The screen is fairly small on the Surface Go 3, at 10.5 inches, but considering you can hold it that much closer to you, that isn’t as much of a problem. It’s also a very sharp screen, with 1920 x 1280 resolution, so everything looks crisp on this display. The aspect ratio is also 3:2, even taller than 16:10, and it makes for a great experience for reading and productivity, too. Of course, this is a tablet, so it supports touch, and you can also buy a Surface Pen if you want to try using it that way.
One of the highlights of the Surface Go 3 is the webcam, which is a 5MP camera supporting 1080p video, making sure you look great during video calls. And, because it’s a tablet, there’s also a camera on the back, this one being an 8MP camera, also with 1080p video so you can show off something in front of you during those calls. The front-facing camera also supports Windows Hello facial recognition, so it’s very easy to unlock and use your device.
One of the focus points of the Surface Go 3 is portability, and with just 8.3mm of thinness and a mere 1.2lbs of weight, this is a device you can easily take anywhere, and you can move around while using it, too. If you want to use it like a laptop, you’re going to have to add a Surface Go Type Cover, which adds a bit to the weight and thickness, but this is still a very portable device. Plus, this form factor gives you the flexibility to use the keyboard when you want it, and remove it when you don’t.
Finally, the Surface Go 3 has a limited setup of ports, which isn’t that uncommon for tablets, as we’ll see in a bit. You get one USB Type-C port, a headphone jack, a Surface Connect port for charging, and a microSD card reader. This gives you some options, and you have a viable way to add storage with a microSD card, but it’s not really on the same level as a proper laptop. Again, that’s to be expected with a tablet, and if you want something this portable, you could do worse.
While you’re giving up the large screens, this tablet is a great device for occasional users who just want a way to read the news every now and then, or to call family over the internet. It’s not the fastest laptop out there, but we’d say it’s still one of the best choices for seniors.
Microsoft Surface Go 3
The Surface Go 3 is a thin and light tablet that’s ideal if you want something that you can easily carry around. It has great webcams, making it a great device for catching up with family and friends who are far away.
Best for iPhone users: iPad Air (with keyboard cover)
We’ve made the point earlier that familiarity is a key reason to choose one laptop over another, especially if you’re buying for a senior user who might have trouble adapting to a whole new software experience. For that reason, or next laptop isn’t a typical laptop at all. If you’re someone who uses an iPhone already, the iPad Air is going to give you a very familiar experience, and thanks to keyboard accessories, you can make it more of a laptop, too.
The latest iteration of the iPad Air is powered by the Apple M1 chip, which we’ve seen power all kinds of devices from the 2020 MacBook Air to the 24-inch iMac. This is a very powerful chip with eight cores (four performance, four efficient), and putting it in a device this small makes for one of the fastest tablets on the market, if not the fastest right now. It also has a very capable GPU, so if you fancy playing some games, they’ll run tremendously well here. The processor also includes 8GB of RAM and you can choose either 64GB or 256GB of storage, though the former is admittedly not very much.
The iPad Air also has a great display, though it’s once again a little small, at 10.9 inches diagonally. It’s very sharp, though, at 2360 x 1640 resolution, so it’s going to look great for something of this size. Plus, it’s pretty bright with up to 500 nits of brightness, and it supports the P3 wide color gamut. Of course, being a tablet means it supports touch, as well as the second-generation Apple Pencil.
The iPad Air is designed to be a laptop first and foremost, and that means it also has more effort put into the cameras compared to all the laptops on this list. The front-facing camera is a 12MP wide-angle camera with features like Smart HDR 3 and, perhaps most importantly, Center Stage, which ensures you and others are always centered in the frame , even if you move around a bit. On the back, there’s another 12MP camera, this one with a wider aperture and support for 4K video recording. These are great cameras, though there’s still no Face ID, and you have to use Touch ID (or a PIN) to unlock the device.
Because it’s a tablet, it’s also incredibly thin and light. The iPad Air comes in at 1.02lbs and it’s just 6.1mm by itself, making it incredibly portable, which is what you want for a tablet. but if you want it to be a laptop, you’re going to have to add the $179 Smart Keyboard Folio or the $299 Magic Keyboard, which also add a bit to the size and weight. Still, this is a very portable device, and probably the easiest to carry out of anything on this list.
But when you’re dealing with such a thin device, that’s where ports get cut short. This is a tablet, and the only port it has is a USB Type-C port, which supports charging and data, but that’s it. No headphone jack or anything else, which means you might run into some limitations. Still, Apple knows not everyone needs these ports, and if you don’t, then this might not be a huge deal to you.
It’s not exactly a laptop, but the iPad it can definitely deliver a solid laptop-like experience for a lot of users. If you’re familiar with iOS from your phone, then this might be the best way to go so you don’t have to learn a whole new software experience.
Apple iPad Air (2022)
The iPad Air is an extremely thin and light tablet that offers a familiar experience for anyone more accustomed to iPhones and other Apple devices.
Best for Android users: Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+ (with a keyboard cover)
And of course, we have to look at the other side of things, too. Because not everyone is an iPhone user, maybe you want a laptop-like experience that feels more like Android, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+ is probably your best option if you want something that’s not too expensive but still offers a fantastic experience. Though you can step down to a regular Tab S8 or upgrade to the larger Tab S8 Ultra, depending on your budget and needs.
All three versions are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, which is a very powerful chipset for smartphones and tablets, though not quite on the same level as the Apple M1. Still, this is a processor that will handle most tasks you’d want to do on the Galaxy Tab S8+ just fine, and it won’t really feel slow. On top of that, the Galaxy Tab S8+ has 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of storage, so it still delivers the goods in terms of overall performance. You can actually go up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, if you have the budget for that.
One of the best things about this tablet, however, is the display. It’s larger than most tablets, at 12.4 inches, but it’s still incredibly sharp, coming in at 2800 x 1752 resolution. This should make it one of the easier tablets to use for older users. And on top of that, it should look great, thanks to the use of Super AMOLED panel with very vibrant colors and true blacks, paired with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate that makes animations and transitions feel much more fluid.
Similar to the iPad Air, this is really a tablet, and not so much a laptop, and cameras are a much bigger focus here. The front-facing camera has 12MP resolution and it supports 4K video, making it better than the majority of the devices on this list. And on the back, you get two cameras, one being a 13MP main camera, and the other being a 6MP ultra-wide lens. Again, facial recognition isn’t really a thing here, but there’s a fingerprint reader under the display to make it easier to unlock the laptop.
This is another incredibly thin device, too, measuring just 5.7mm in thickness, and despite its larger size, it weighs just 1.25lbs. That puts it close to the Surface Go 3, which has a much smaller display. Of course, as usual, you have to remember you’ll need to add the Book Cover Keyboard if you want to use this more like a laptop. And there’s no touchpad built in here, so you may also need to buy a mouse separately if you want a true laptop experience.
Finally, just like the iPad Air, the Galaxy Tab S8+ suffers from a lack of ports compared to typical laptops. All you really get here is a USB Type-C port, and again, no headphone jack because the device is so thin. This isn’t meant to be a proper laptop, but if your usage is more casual, then it shouldn’t be a huge problem, and you’ll probably be fine.
While some would debate whether this can stand toe-to-toe with proper laptops, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+ will offer a great experience for seniors who are more familiar with Android. And for when you want a more desktop-like experience, you have Samsung DeX built in, which mimics an environment more similar to Windows, so it feels more like a laptop. It’s certainly worth your consideration, despite some drawbacks.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Plus
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+ is a powerful and very lightweight tablet that still has a large screen. You can pair it with a keyboard and mouse for a laptop-like experience.
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 S8+?
Ultimately, it’s up to your use case, so make sure you know who you’re buying for before making a choice.