Got a relative with an age-related eye problem? If so, an iPad or other tablet with a backlit display might make a great gift. The contrast between background and text on those devices makes reading easier for people with macular degeneration and certain other vision problems, according to a new study.
Researchers found that people with the worst vision liked reading on the iPad 2, which was the tablet used in the test, more than reading a regular book or using a standard e-book reader, like the Amazon Kindle, which doesn't have the same backlit display. Even people with normal vision read faster on the iPad 2, the study found. Increasing the font size to 18 helped even more with reading speed. The research was recently presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology's annual meeting.
Our newest tests found that the latest iPad, the iPad with Retina display, has even sharper text than the iPad 2. The new device tops Consumer Reports tablet ratings with its 9.7 inch, high-resolution display and battery life of 11.6 hours. But at $500, it is pricier than the iPad 2 or the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1), which both cost around $400. Some other even cheaper, but great options include the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 with Wi-Fi and the iPad Mini with Wi-Fi. They're smaller than the regular iPads, but you can increase the font size, which might help someone with vision troubles. E-book readers are cheaper still, but most of our top-rated models are not backlit.
So if you're still looking for a gift for an older relative, you might want to consider a backlit tablet, like the iPad. Just don't say we didn't warn you when grandma asks for help downloading Fifty Shades of Grey!
Digital Tablets Improve Speed and Ease of Reading for People with Moderate Vision Loss [American Academy of Ophthalmology]