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Moto Z Play & Claria-Zoom: A Low-Vision Dream – By Liz Strom

Published: April 7, 2017

Note from RAZ Mobility: The Claria Zoom app is no longer available. An excellent cell phone for people who are blind or low vision is the Lucia phone. Lucia is a big button basic cell phone that is 100% accessible.

I can’t see well due to ocular ischemia. Others can’t see well due to age, presbyopia, or other low-vision issues. I found an awesome phone app that can help us all! Introducing…

A Low-Vision Person’s Dream Smartphone & App: Moto Z Play with Claria Zoom
By: Liz Strom / //

I’ve no vision in my right eye, no peripheral vision in my left, and a “wrinkle” in the center of my left eye— making my vision very low. I was diagnosed with ophthalmic ischemia after having glaucoma surgery in January 2013, and life hasn’t been the same since vision loss.

At the time, ride-share apps made it into the world, Audible became my go-to source for “reading”, magnifiers could be found in every room of my house, and I used TV-sized computer monitors. My iPhone had some great ways of increasing fonts and changing color schemes so that I could better see my phone, in addition to using reading-classes… then, CLARIA ZOOM (app) danced its way into my heart. The only issue? It’s not available on iPhones, only Android devices…

Transitioning From an iPhone to an Android Phone
I am married to Apple products, and will probably continue to use Apple desktops and laptops, but can imagine myself using an Anroid phone (gasp!) after having tried the Motorola Moto Z Play with the Claria Zoom app. It’s just so much easier to use when your vision is impaired. I would depend less on magnifiers, and God forbid I should leave them at home, not being able to see my phone at all.

Features I Noticed Immediately
I can wave my hand above my Motorola Moto Z Play and the time will appear in a large font immediately. I like that I don’t have to search for a button to see what time it is.
The SIM cards are located in different places, but the Moto Z Play has a slot for an SD card, and one is included with the phone (sweet!).
The Claria app makes things HUGE (yay), so I don’t have to use my magnifiers at all to make a call, text, search for contacts, take a picture, email someone, etc. When I tap twice too fast, the zoom/magnifier enables and it drives me nuts. I had to turn off the magnifier in the settings area of the Z Play. It especially drives me crazy when I’m trying to delete a few characters at a time by pushing “back/erase” too fast. I also have this same issue with my iPhone when I tap too many times by accident. Off, magnifier, off!

Claria Zoom
The Claria Zoom app enlarges all of my selected app icons, buttons and fonts, like email, text, call, contact list, Facebook, YouTube, etc. So immensely helpful. I can see the widgets without any magnifiers, which gets me to my emails / texts / calls without having to use any magnifiers at all.

My iPhone can make things larger, but Claria Zoom can make things much larger, more bold, and zooms in to the tiniest of detail so that I may see what others have been talking about. Everything is bigger and bolder: GPS (YAY because I can’t really see street signs!), all websites that I visit, all apps I use, and I can even have web content spoken to me!

Differences in Accessibility Features
iPhone v. Android: Many are the same, a few are slightly different, but both offer the same accessibility features. There are better explanations and comparisons in each phone’s manual, I’m sure. These are what I noticed while using the phones.

  • VoiceOver / TalkBack
    • iPhone: “VoiceOver”: Triple-tap on the home button
    • Android: “TalkBack” must be enabled in your settings. It will also read out loud who’s calling, if you set your phone up to do so (in settings).
  • Zoom
    • iPhone: double-tap with three fingers at the same time
    • Android: Enable / disable in settings
  • Magnifier
    • iPhone: To activate, triple-tap on the home button
    • Android: Enable / disable in settings
  • Display Accommodations
    • iPhone: Change display options in your settings area. You can change the color layouts, in case you’re color blind to some colors and not others
    • Android: Change display options in your settings area. You can also select different color options to find what suits you best.
  • Speech-to-text/write
    • iPhone: Use the microphone button at the bottom of your keyboard
    • Android: Tap the search button, then tap the microphone button to help you find what you are looking for / what you’d like to write
  • Font Size / Larger Text (same in both phones)
  • Increase Contrast (same in both phones)

Overall, the built-in Android accessibility features on the Moto Z Play are good— or perhaps even better and user-friendlier than the iPhone.

If you have low-vision or decreased vision, I highly recommend trying out this app on an Android phone, even if you are an Apple products lover (like me). It takes away the need to carry different types of magnifiers with you (just to see your phone), and just makes life that much easier.

Additional advantages of Android devices and the Moto Z Play are that there are more options and lower price. The Moto Z Play with a large 5.5′ screen is available for only $450 compared to $769 for an iPhone Plus.

Ooh, and the battery! Did I mention the battery??? No more recharging throughout the day like I do with my iPhone (at least twice a day)! The Moto Z Play battery easily lasted me two days without recharging, and I use my phone a lot.

Note from RAZ Mobility: The Claria Zoom app is no longer available. An excellent cell phone for people who are blind or low vision is the Lucia phone. Lucia is a big button basic cell phone that is 100% accessible.

Thank you, RAZ Mobility!



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