Vicki asked: “I am visually impaired and using a 12 year old Dell desktop with Windows XP. I use Outlook Express for my e-mail and Chrome for Internet. I have Zoom text 8.1 on there which helps read my e-mail to me. I want to purchase a new desktop computer so I can upgrade my Zoomtext so that it will read the Internet also. I have no idea what to buy. I do not do gaming or much of anything else. I want something easy and I know it’s going to have to be Windows 10. Do you have any suggestions on what I should look for, and where do i buy it? Do I go to a box store? Do I find a computer store? Online? I would appreciate any help.”
Normally we’d tell you that luckily a computer that you will mostly use to browse the web and check email doesn’t have to be too powerful, but ZoomText does ask for some respectable hardware.
Since ZoomText is software you need to be able to use the computer, we’re inclined to tell you to try to aim for the recommended hardware. It would be different if this was just an email program that you could replace, or a game, but not having this may be similar to a regularly sighted user not having a monitor at all, it may just stop you from being able to use the computer altogether.
- A 1GHz dual-core processor
- 4GBs of RAM
- A graphics card with DirectX 10 support and 250MB of dedicated memory
And some lesser things like 100MB of hard drive space, or a touchscreen if you want to be able to use the touch features.
Those requirements won’t make the computer super high end, but they will likely remove the absolute cheapest options.
For example, if you go on Dell’s website you should be able to find the 24” all in one Inspiron 3000 desktop for $479. That computer will exceed all of ZoomTexts requirements for a pretty reasonable price. Since you mentioned being visually impaired and are using ZoomText we assume you’re not fully blind, if that’s the case you may really like having a 24” screen, since it’s a pretty large size and it may help you take full advantage of the zooming features of the software.
You can find similar Lenovos All-in-One computers for around the same price on their site. Acer has more powerful computers on their website that will cost you about $500, if you don’t mind reusing your current monitor.
As for where to buy them, it’s likely easier to buy them online, and unless you find a special sale at a big box retailer, you probably won’t get them cheaper there. We’d look at each manufacturer’s own site, and maybe at something like NewEgg.com and Amazon, since they make it easier to compare different brands.
Wherever you look, you should be able to find reasonably priced desktops that match ZoomText’s requirements and even recommendations for a price that won’t break the bank.