I'ld like to get my dad an ebook reader for Christmas. Yet, he is a bit vision impaired which means that he only has a good reading experience with bigger and sharper/clearer/more-acurate font rendering.

To be sure the display renders the fonts as clear as possible at a zoomed (125%) font-size, I would like to know what I should focus on… should I focus on a big screensize (display dimensions, width x height) or should I rather go for a high DPI screen? What advantage would the one have over the other (from a vision-impaired reader's point of view)?

  • 1
    Have you also considered the text-to-speech aspects such as VoiceOver on iOS devices such as the iPad? They can read-aloud books to people who are vision impaired. There's also many books available in DAISY format daisy.org and nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/bm/bm11/bm1102/bm110210.htm that supports multi-media books that include synchronized audio and text. Perhaps DAISY books would be useful if his sight deteriorates significantly. Note: many DAISY books are limited to people registered with Print Disabilities. Visual Impairments and Dyslexia are two of the main criteria Commented Dec 22, 2013 at 17:30

3 Answers 3


I would suggest going with an iPad with Retina Display not because:

  1. Its a bigger screen
  2. At the current time, better resolution than a few other devices

BUT because Apple requires their typeset to be adjustable and coded in to accommodate for visually impaired and not a fixed font size. So what this means is if your dad buys a book on iTunes, he tries to adjust the font size and fails, he can request a refund on the book and Apple will require the publisher to correct the issue to re-activate their content to be sold.

My experience with Amazon is across the board and is generally a "How many users have complained base" and their support is across the board. If he does have an issue with the book he can get a refund but the smaller device would be harder for your dad to read perhaps.

This may be an extension on your question but the quality of the content is as much important as the device you are getting.

  • Nothing against the Kindle Fire HDX, but the more-developed app-ecosystem surrounding the iPad means he's more likely to find additional apps that he'll use the tablet for. IMO.
    – Roger_S
    Commented Dec 19, 2013 at 20:03
  • Agreed but the Amazon's method of lower cost for device so we will blow you up with ads aggravates several people and I've tested this. That said someone visually impaired does not need or should be introduced to a device in that manner. If you want an adless device you have to pre-order it, the last I checked and you cannot edit it afterwards. Commented Dec 19, 2013 at 20:09
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    I upvoted your answer as I actually did get an iPad for a visually impaired relative and it's worked out great. However, I suggest you alter your answer to say an "iPad with Retina Display." For visual purposes, there's not much of a difference between any iPad with a Retina display.
    – Joe Golton
    Commented Dec 19, 2013 at 20:24
  • @JoeGolton you're absolutely correct and edited. Commented Dec 19, 2013 at 20:39

Getting older I started to have trouble reading, from my personal experience with a Sony PRS-700 (side lit), SONY PRS-T1 (no internal light) and Book Een Oddesey (front lit), I have to say that the lighting on the BookEen makes all of the differences being able to read comfortably. The BookEen also has a slightly higher resolution, at a similar screen size, but that doesn't seem to much of problem.

For prolonged reading, half and hour upwards at a time, a real bookreader is (again personal experience) more comfortable than computer screen or iPad or Samsung Galaxy. Although I have experimented with dimmed screens, they still give me the feeling of 'looking in the sun'.

I even prefer the BookEen over my more or less dedicated 3rd monitor (portrait mode, 1200x1920) that I use for reading on-line documentation.

For reading longer periods at a time, I definitely recommend using a properly lit dedicated ebook over a generic device.


Size is more important than resolution for most visual impairments. As vision becomes more impaired, the ability to recognize detail is lost, and since text caries information in detail, larger sizes are used to compensate. Higher resolution adds detail, providing a better reading experience for those who can see it.

One exception to this advice is people who are loosing their field of vision, another is when using magnification.

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