Both are wonderful, but first identify your accessibility needs.
Apple or Android?
Reading Time: 5 minutes Page Tags: functional
We all assume that the popular and sleek iPhone will be the solution for our low-vision phone needs... but we also all know the price. Let's look at a side-by-side comparison of the Android versus Apple smartphones to get a sense of how our accessibility needs can help us make an informed choice.
I've found success with both Android and Apple with my clients, and I believe that it truly depends on how you plan to access you phone. Do you plan to use Zoom more than Voice Command? Or do you need to focus more on ease of use? I've rated the top 5 considerations for each tool below. If you are still craving a more personalized answer, take the quiz!
- Ease of Use: I initially found Android to be counterintuitive, but with some practice I got used to the interface and found the customizable app sizes and 3rd party keyboards to be helpful for low vision clients. If you are up for some practice, I think Android can be suitable for anyone with a little bit of tech experience, but perhaps not beginners as Androids require a learning curve.
- Cost: ($140 - $650) Moderate
- Zoom & Magnification Features: There are a few built-in zoom features, primarily the triple-tap gesture and XL font settings. The triple-tap can be tedious and difficult to perform if you have some fine-motor challenges, or can't tap fast enough for the Zoom to register. I find that clients prefer to utilize the XL font settings, and play with the font style and contrast to make their phone accessible.
- Voice Command Features: TalkBack is built into the Android Phones (VoiceOver equivalent), and many users who are unable to visually access their phone find it adequate. Google Now is also a useful tool, (more akin to Siri) that will use voice command to make calls, start timers, set reminders, etc. Many clients enjoy this app because it allows them to access their phones without exhausting their vision.
- Apps: Google Play store is the primary means of downloading Apps onto an Android device. It can be challenging to find Apps that are TalkBack-accessible.
Apple or Android?
- Ease of Use: I have found the iPhones to be intuitive, however with some experience I've learned that storage can be an issue. Unlike many Android phones, you can't utilize an external memory card. Instead, you have to use Cloud Storage, which can be tricky to set up and usually requires an additional monthly fee.
- Cost ($350 - $750) Pricey
- Zoom & Magnification Features: There a many modalities to use Zoom on the iPhone, for example you have: basic single- ,double-, and triple-finger gestures, the Zoom Window and nonconventional Zoom tools like Camera, and iBooks. Similar to the Android, some of these gestures can be difficult to get right, and iPhones offer accessibility settings to adjust text size, boldness, contrast and magnifiers.
- Voice Command Features: Siri, VoiceOver
- Apps: iOS App Store - There are a few blind & low vision apps such as BlindSquare (navigation) and Be My Eyes that are only optimized for iOS, however most applicable apps such as color identifiers, money readers and OCR (optical character reader) apps are available both on iOS and Android.