My verdict… The Humanware Explore 7 electronic magnifier is:
- a great quality product by a reputable brand,
- suitable for people with mild to moderate vision loss,
- who want a large screen for easier reading,
- with portability.
It is NOT suitable for:
- people with a severe vision impairment who can not read things at 20X magnification.
- people who want a large desktop sized screen, or a small handheld sized device (for options of these categories see the page on digital magnifiers.)
- people on small budget.
The Explore 7 is a digital magnifier that has a magnification range from 2.3X-19X. As an electronic magnifier, it is a huge step above using a magnifying glass with light, as it displays magnified content on a big screen. Standard magnifying glasses of a comparable magnification (20X) are very, very small in comparison – probably about 1″ in diameter of usable lens in a circular shape. The Explore 7, however, provides a very large, rectangular 7″ screen. This makes reading much easier as you can see more words on the screen at once. Then you can better follow the meaning of a whole sentence as you read it.
Another benefit this magnifier is that you can adjust the color of what you’re reading. The most popular way of doing this is to increase the contrast with very dark black writing on a bright white background. Some people like to reverse the colors, so they’re reading white writing on black background. This works particularly well for people who have issues with glare. There are more than 12 color/contrast combinations available on the Explore 7, and different combinations will suit different users depending on their vision condition. The color you choose can also depend on the color of the writing or object you’re looking at. Do you find it frustrating when a magazine has tried to get fancy with their formatting and has a pale color writing on another color background? With this color changing feature, you can still view this in black and white. Adjust the color selection with the press of a button, and your setting preferences are saved when you power off.
The large tactile buttons are easy for visually impaired people to feel and easy to learn to use. Thankfully, it doesn’t have too many buttons, so it doesn’t confuse older people who aren’t familiar with technology. When the device is held with two hands, fingers around the back and thumbs at the front, the buttons are easily controlled with your two thumbs. Use your hands to move the device around the page as you read.
A quality product from a quality brand…
This is a quality product by Humanware – a well-known and long established brand name in the low vision and blindness industry. As well as being made of good materials, there is also quality behind the R&D that goes into these products. This results in products that are easy to use and suits the low vision (often elderly) people who want to use them. Humanware has been around for more than 25 years, so there is a lot of experience behind them, and they have a good reputation to uphold. Their R&D and the production of the equipment happens in Canada.
Quality is an important factor to consider when you buy an electronic magnifier. On paper it may seem that two magnifiers are equal based on their specifications alone, but when you actually use them, it is obvious that there is a difference. The better quality products, such as this one, have a better quality image on the screen. This is particularly important for those users who have trouble with their vision at the best of times!! Some cheaper models have visual distortion in the screen, such as blurriness around the edges, which just makes matters worse. This model has a clear, high definition, LCD screen which makes reading magnified small print much easier. The anti-glare feature ensures it can be used well in different lighting conditions.
The 7″ screen is a very popular choice, for those who can afford it, as it makes reading much easier when you can see more words on the screen. At the same time, it is still a portable size that can comfortably fit in a bag. The Explore 7 is slightly smaller and lighter than other brands of digital magnifiers with a 7″ size screen.
There is a built in stand which makes the equipment stand upright on your page as you read. This holds it at the right height for it to focus well, and saves you from having to hold it up. It also keeps the screen up at a good, diagonal angle from the page which provides a more ergonomic position for reading. Some cheaper digital magnifiers don’t display the screen up on an angle and just sit flat on the table. With those you have to lean right over them to view correctly which isn’t good for your neck or posture. The Explore 7 provides a comfortable reading position.
One clever feature of this digital magnifier is that it has a distance viewing mode. You can use this to zoom in on things that are further away – such as a product on a high shelf or a street sign.
Another clever feature is the ability to freeze-frame an image. This is useful for taking a temporary image of something like a phone number, then carrying it with you to another room to make the phone call.
There is no handle on the Explore 7 as it would be too big and heavy to hold a magnifier of this size for too long. It you want a model with a handle try the 5″ Explore digital magnifier instead.
You can even plug the Explore into a TV or computer screen via a cable to see the video image taken from the Explore on the TV. This allows you to magnify what you’re reading even more as you can look at it on a much bigger screen.
The device is powered by a built in, rechargeable, lithium battery, which is charged by plugging it into mains power. It takes 4-5 hours to fully recharge. The battery is long-lasting and provides 3-4 hours of continuous use. Usually, though, people are using equipment for small tasks, rather than for several hours at a time. So the battery life is usually more than enough. It is helped by a power saving feature which automatically switches it off after 3 minutes of inactivity.
It comes with a cleaning cloth and a sturdy case to protect it when you’re on the go.
Weight: < 440g
Dimension: 195mm x 139.5mm x 25mm
This product is available to buy online from Amazon with FREE delivery.
The Humanware Explore 7 electronic magnifier is a great quality product by a reputable brand. It is suitable for people with mild to moderate vision loss who want a large screen for easier reading and also have portability.