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PC Magni-Viewer
(Bausch & Lomb Computer Screen Magnifier)

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Bausch & Lomb Computer Screen Magnifier

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PC Magni-Viewer Screen Magnifier
(A.K.A. the Bausch & Lomb Computer Screen Magnifier)
By Bausch & Lomb
http://www.bausch.com

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness

The PC Magni-Viewer (also known as the Bausch & Lomb Computer Screen Magnifier) by Bausch & Lomb is an external screen magnifier. The Magni-Viewer is essentially a large magnifying glass held in place in front of the computer screen via an adjustable stand. It can be used on any make, model, or style of computer and can be used on a variety of computer screens. For the purposed of this review, we tested the PC Magni-Viewer on a 13, 15, and a 19-inch monitor.

The main component of the PC Magni-Viewer is a large, 6" x 8" magnifying glass made from optical quality acrylic. This lens is attached to a stand that allows the magnifier to be positioned in front of the screen of a computer monitor. It was designed to relieve Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) and eye strain. However, the PC Magni-Viewer also functions as a low vision magnifying device, simply as an extension of its magnifications abilities.

Setting up and using this device is unbelievably simple. The PC Magni-Viewer comes with a sturdy, swivel stand, onto which you place your computer's monitor. You then insert an adjustable post into the stand. This post stands behind your monitor. Attached to this post is a perpendicular arm that reachers over the top of your monitor, which holds the lens suspended in front of the screen. At most, it should take you no more than a couple of minutes to set up. The back arm (post) is fully adjustable to accommodate various sized monitors. As well, the top, horizontal support arm, is on a swivel so that the magnifier can be swung out of the way when not in use.

Once you have the device set up, using it is just as simple. The magnifying lens comes with a protective covering. Once that is removed, you simply move the magnifier around until you get it into the position that is most comfortable for you. It can be moved up-and-down, side-to-side, and in-and-out, making it handy, and easy to adjust. Once properly positioned, you will have a crisp, clear, and superbly magnified view of your computer screen.

The only detail that you need to keep in mind when adjusting the positioning and focusing of the lens, is that this system is designed so that the viewer needs to sit between three to six inches from the magnifier. I discovered that if I sat back any farther than about six or seven inches from the screen that I started to 'loose' portions of the screen, and the clarity of the image was compromised. It was a little disconcerting at first, sitting so close to the lens. However, I found that by repositioning my chair further away from the computer, and bringing the magnifier closer to my face (rather than leaning towards it) that is was really quite comfortable to use. Furthermore, I quickly become so accustomed to the device, that, after a few hours, I no longer noticed that I was even using the magnifier.

Overall, I was very impressed with the sturdiness and quality of material used in the construction of the PC Magni-Viewer. The stand and actuator arms are all constructed of durable, high quality plastic, and the lens itself is made of optical quality acrylic. The lens comes with a zippered, protective covering. In addition, it is surrounded by a plastic frame with handholds, so that you can adjust the magnifier without having to touch the lens. A nice feature of this device is that it is not only easy to assemble and use, but that it is also easily disengaged. This is done by simply swinging the lens to the side. As well, the swivel base allows you to turn the entire monitor in any direction that you desire.

We tested the PC Magni-Viewer on three different monitors, comprising monitors with a 13, 15, and a 19-inch screen. It worked well on all the sizes. However, while it worked on the 19-inch monitor, it was easier to adjust the lens to encompass the entire screen on the smaller monitors. But, because of the magnification abilities of this lens, you don't really need a large monitor to begin with. According to Bausch and Lomb, the PC Magni-Viewer magnifies a screen up 175%. This essentially turns a 15-inch monitor into a 40-inch one - at a mere fraction of the cost that such an upgrade would entail.

Even better, the Magni-Viewer allows you to sit much farther away from the computer screen than you might otherwise find comfortable. This not only eases the strain on your eyes, but it also helps to reduce the neck and back strain that often accompanies CVS. The PC Mangi-Viewer helps to reduce back and neck strain because it allows you to sit more comfortably, while encouraging you to use better posture. Combined, I found that I was sitting straighter and that my muscles where more relaxed.

Additionally, due to the adjustability of the system, even on the larger sized monitor, I found it extremely easy to view the entire computer screen at once. This is a vast improvement over software magnification systems that only allow you to view a small portion of the content on a page at one time - a portion that diminishes as you increase the magnification! The only real drawback to this system is that it does take some getting use to, but not much. And one of the biggest pluses is that, being an external device, it can be used on various monitors, and with various computer systems. Essentially, it does not care what operating system you are using or if you are using a Mac or a PC, which makes this a very versatile piece of equipment.

The PC Magni-Viewer comes with an informational and instructional CD. To run the CD, you need a windows-compatible computer with a Pentium or later processor, and running Windows 95 or later, or a Macintosh 68040 or PowerMac computer running System 7 or later. As well, to run the informational movie contained on the CD, you need the Quick Time player. For those that do not already have Quick Time installed on their computers, a copy is available on the CD. In addition, the informational video many also be viewed on many other audio/video players such as Real Player and Windows Media Player. To view the informational movie on other players, you will need a version that contains a Quick Time plugin. In addition, you will need to open the video file manually. The Magni-Viewer also comes packaged with a sample bottle of Bausch and Lomb's Computer Eye Drops. These eye drops are designed to lubricate the eyes, thereby relieving tired eyes.

Summary:

The Bausch and Lomb PC Magni-Viewer Screen Magnifier is an ideal device for helping to relieve CVS and general eye strain. It is also an ideal low vision tool, due to its ability to greatly magnify the information - both textual and pictorial, contained on a computer screen. It is easy to use, easy to set up, and it performed superbly. Not only did it do a fine job of simply magnifying the screen, but it also seemed to enhance the quality of the image. It does take some getting use to, both in terms of adjusting to the device visually, and in regard to becoming comfortable with sitting so close (3-6 inches) to the lens itself. However, the learning curve is quite short. And, once I became accustomed to using the device, I found that it not only enlarged the screen, thereby easing any eye strain, but that I also found myself sitting up straighter and without the chronic end of the day stiffness that I use to experience after sitting in front of the computer all day. I rate this product excellent in all categories, ease of use, durability, versatility, and functionality.

This review was originally published - September 20, 2001

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