Adaptive Technology

Handheld Digital Magnifiers & Cool Apps For Your Phone

As assistive technology devices, digital or electronic magnifiers usually come with a camera and a screen or another display mechanism showing the enlarged image. Many technological advances have been made in this area of magnification.

Older models tend to have a stand that holds a standard 17-inch TV or computer. Below the display, a mounted camera is positioned over a movable x/y tray that holds a book or other reading material. With the onset of LCD screens and advancements in camera technology, newer versions of this have a lot more flexibility.

With all magnification aids, you always need to keep a few questions in mind when determining the best fit for your needs.

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 at around $150.

In Enrichment, we often see higher-end models such as the Eschenbach and the Ruby. These usually have a larger screen, magnification up to 12x -14x, and have some additional bells and whistles. One of the critical things to consider when looking at electronic aids is the user interface and the device’s weight 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 lightweight 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 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 the best results.

Other noteworthy apps

Apple’s magnifier app—This free app has many cool features, such as a slider for zooming in and out, 12 color filters, and contrast controls. However, it is more complicated to use. In the app settings, users can select which options they want to have available. Options include turning on and off the color filters so they do not appear on the screen all the time.

Claro Magic X—This nifty free magnification app does not offer as many features. But it will magnify up to 16x if you need more magnification. The user interface is pretty straightforward. Primary options are at the bottom of the screen, and 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 allow you to zoom in and out and have a variety of settings for black-and-white modes and contrast settings.

Other features may include a wide variety of 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 when 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 choosing or using a magnifier, Outlook Enrichment is here to help. Contact us to get started.

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