As assistive technology devices, digital or electronic magnifiers usually come with a camera and screen or another display mechanism showing the enlarged image. Many technological advances have been made in this area of magnification.
Older models tended to have a stand that a standard 17’ inch TV or computer sat on. On the stand below the display was a mounted camera positioned over a movable x/y tray that a book or other reading material would be placed on. Newer versions of this have a lot more flexibility with the onset of LCD screens and advancements in camera technology.
With all magnification aid, you always need to keep a few questions in mind when determining the best fit for your needs.
Where will you be using it?
What will you be enlarging?
What features are available: colors, OCR, hands-free, and distance viewing
Handheld electronic magnifiers
There are many handheld electronic magnifiers to choose from. Prices range from $75 to $1,000. Coming in at a lower price, the Eyoyo Portable Digital Video Magnifier gives you about a 3.5’ to 5.0 inch screen. This magnifier has a large magnification range. These magnifiers are easy to use. Some models such as the Eyoyo PD43 Electronic Digital Video Magnifier even have color-coded keys. This specific magnifier is priced around $150.
In Enrichment, we often see higher-end models such as the Eschenbach and the Ruby. These often have a larger screen, magnification up to 12x -14x and have some additional bells and whistles. One of the important things to always consider when looking at electronic aids is the user interface and the weight of the device based on the user’s physical limitations. A person with arthritis or tremors might want a lighter device that may be easier to hold and manipulate or a device that has a fold-out leg for hands-free usage.
As a great light-weight option, the Eschenbach has nice curvatures for holding. The controls are all in the same location and can easily be accessed by the thumb. This usually sells for around $600. However, an app available on Apple and Android phones called Visor uses a comparable interface to Eschenbach's handheld device. The app’s downside is that it only has four zoom settings. The maximum magnification is 8X. Visor retails in the Apple store for around $18. Enrichment has tested many magnification apps and recommends this one for best results.
Other noteworthy apps
Apples magnifier app – This free app has a significant amount of cool features such as a slider for easy zooming in and out of items, 12 color filters and contrast controls. This app is harder to use. However, users can select which options they want to have available in the app settings. Options include turning on and off the color filters so it would not appear on the screen all the time.
Claro Magic X – This nifty free magnification app does not give you as many features. But it will magnify up to 16x if you need more magnification at your fingertips. The user interface is pretty strait forward. The interface places primary options at the bottom of the screen. Other features such as the contrast and filter buttons are in the middle of the display along the sides.
Don’t discount camera apps.
If you use color filters to decrease glare, consider using a camera app instead of a magnifier app. The apps all use your phone’s camera. Many camera apps will allow you to zoom in and out, have a variety of settings for black and white modes and contrast settings.
Other features may be a wide variety in colors and effects. Camera+ Free with Colors effect filters 4+ is one of these apps you might want to look at. This free app is packed with features. There are nine color filter options and eight black and white options with varying degrees of contrast. It also allows you to take a picture with the filter applied which is not an option while using typical magnification programs.
Unlike magnification apps, camera apps allow you to use the forward-facing camera. This can help you use the feature for personal care purposes.
Whether you need more information about how to choose the right magnifier or how to use one, Outlook Enrichment is here to help. Contact us to get started.