The 8 Best Portable Digital Magnifiers

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This wiki has been updated 26 times since it was first published in February of 2017. Visual impairment shouldn't stop someone from skimming the morning newspaper, enjoying their favorite book, or engaging in a hobby, like collecting stamps. Unfortunately, the text size or details on these items can be small and faint, so we found portable video magnifiers that can enlarge them, with some offering to capture images in a digital format for viewing on computer or TV screens. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Eschenbach Visolux XL

2. HumanWare Explore 8

3. Eyoyo 5.0

Editor's Notes

February 23, 2021:

It was a busy round of updates. We removed the Eyoyo c0141 and two models from Kooletron – the 4.3 and GH-ECMR 02 – due to availability issues, but we did retain the Koolertron GH-ECMR50. We also added several new options to our list.

The Eschenbach Visolux XL is the biggest model we ranked this time, offering a 12-inch display. Its medium-large size might nearly disqualify it from qualifying as portable, but we thought it was important to include a couple larger options after noticing reports attached to several of our smaller picks that suggested the small screen and powerful magnification associated with some pocket-sized options made it difficult for some users – especially older folks who might be a little less tech savvy – to read. The Visolux XL allows you to leave a document in a stationary position over top of its integrated stand, and scroll through it at your convenience using the machine's controls, which many will find much more manageable.

If the Visolux XL is a bit on the big side for you, a happy medium might be the HumanWare Explore 8. The eight-inch screen on the Explore 8 is small enough to comfortably carry in a purse or messenger bag, but still significantly bigger than a pocket option. It has a pair of integrated, 21-megapixel cameras, one for close applications like reading, and the other to pick up objects from a bit further, like street signs. For a smaller size in this style, consider the HumanWare Explore 5, which sports a five-inch screen.

We also included a budget option, for users who can’t afford one of this category’s expensive top-end choices, as well as those who want to give one of these devices a try for the first time, but aren’t quite ready to invest big money until they’ve taken one for a test run. If you think you might fit into one of those categories, we recommend you start by checking out the Eyoyo 3.5 Inch.

If you aren’t somebody who suffers from vision impairment, but rather somebody looking to magnify things that are unusually small, then you might be better off hopping over to our list of LCD microscopes.

March 09, 2019:

Reading is a past time many people take joy in. Unfortunately, there are a lot of vision-related reasons old and young people alike may struggle with it. Whether you have glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, or a variety of other vision impairments, one of these portable digital magnifiers can help you start to enjoy reading again. It is important to pick the right model for your needs and lifestyle though. If portability is a top priority for you, it may be best to opt for one of the models with a smaller screen, such as the Eyoyo c0141 or Koolertron GH-ECMR 02, both of which have three-and-a-half-inch displays and compact housings. Those who care less about portability and more about easy and comfortable use may want to lean towards one of the options with a five-inch screen, such as the Eyoyo 5.0, Eschenbach SmartLux, and Koolertron GH-ECMR 01. There are also models with a 4.3-inch screen that many feel offer the perfect compromise between comfortable use and portability. If you think one of these might be right for you, take a look at the Koolertron 4.3 and ViSee LVM-480. The Eschenbach SmartLux would have taken our top spot because it has a better build quality and more impressive specs than most other models available on the market, but unfortunately its hefty price tag may put it out of reach for many people. The Eyoyo 5.0, which did take our top ranking offers a good balance of performance and price, and has the most color modes out of any option we reviewed.

Special Honors

Enhanced Vision This company offers a variety of solutions for low-vision users, and some are quite portable – like the 4.3-inch Pebble HD and seven-inch Amigo HD – but their most interesting offers are arguably the Merlin Mini, which is available with a 15- or 17-inch monitor, and the Jordy, a headset that many users are likely to find quite helpful.

Humanware In addition to its portable options, this company's Reveal 16 line offers a range of desktop reading solutions for users with low vision. If you find that these options are out of your price range, they also offer some cameras that are of a more reasonable cost and easy to connect to your laptop, but they're still quite expensive.

4. Eschenbach SmartLux

5. ViSee LVM-480

6. HumanWare Explore 5

7. Koolertron GH-ECMR50

8. Eyoyo 3.5 Inch

Will Rhoda
Last updated by Will Rhoda

After deciding that the pen was mightier than the pliers, Canadian electrical contractor William Rhoda abandoned his career and headed back to college, where he majored in marketing and advertising and won a scholarship along the way to earning a diploma in creative communications. His past career landed him a depth of knowledge in tools and hardware, while his current career schooled him in audio, video and camera equipment. During his leisure time, he’s learned lots about outdoor gear, and years of tiresome backyard maintenance have taught him all about pools and hot tubs. His recreational pursuits include rest, relaxation and revolutionary action, and his roommate’s a hairless cat.

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