During last month's CSUN conference in California, two accessibility experts from the RNIB in the UK took on the daunting challenge of comparing seven screen magnification software products, live and in front of a large and experienced CSUN audience.  The seven included the three market leaders: Dolphin's Lunar v7, Zoomtext v9 and Magic v10, as well as four lesser known magnifiers.

Simon Lakin and Steve Plumpton identified their top ten essential screen magnification features, as well as 35 other features and unique selling points that were chosen for their ability to make a real practical difference to a low vision user’s magnification experience.

The Liverpool based two both enjoy many years experience advising, and supporting people with low vision on behalf of the independent charity the RNIB.  Marks out of four were impartially awarded for excellence in each of the compared features, for all seven screen magnifiers. 

Screenshot showing focus highlighting on the Dolphin Lunar Screen Magnifier

Lakin and Plumpton commended Lunar's unique magnification at login and focus highlighting.  Demonstration evidence also proved Lunar's Line View Mode to be a winning feature, as well as the margin release feature that enables a user with central vision to keep even the farthest corner of the real screen image in the centre of their vision.  They also applauded the invaluable supporting DAISY documentation played by the complimentary copy of Dolphin's software DAISY player, EasyReader.   They explained that is further backed up by context sensitive help and availability in 22 languages.

Photo of the Dolphin USB Pen drive

Additional advantages to Lunar were the option for a Pen version or Lunar on a USB thumb drive for people looking to take their favourite magnification software and settings wherever they travel.  The familiarity rewards of being able to trade up to the LunarPlus Enhanced Magnifier and Supernova Reader Magnifier were also highlighted.

The 45 minute presentation concluded with Dolphin’s Lunar Screen Magnifier being announced as the clear winner, with a significant lead of 10 points over the nearest competitor.

The final scores based on all 45 essential and other features were:

1st place: Lunar (73 points)
2nd place: Zoomtext (63 points)
3rd place: Magic (51 points)


The RNIB top ten comparison features were:

  1. automatic start-up
  2. multiple magnification levels
  3. full screen mode
  4. keyboard launching of software
  5. keyboard shortcuts
  6. colour enhancements
  7. text smoothing
  8. keyboard navigation shortcuts
  9. value for money
  10. performance and response


The additional 35 features and USP’s compared were:

  1. Magnification at Login
  2. Fractional Magnification
  3. Variety of Magnification modes
  4. Flexibility and adjustment of Magnification modes
  5. Multiple user settings
  6. Web access
  7. Cursor enhancement
  8. Ability to change mouse pointer size
  9. Ability to change mouse pointer colour
  10. Mouse Pointer enhancements
  11. Hooked areas
  12. Pass through keystrokes
  13. Font enhancements
  14. Focus Highlighting
  15. Margin release
  16. Line View
  17. Help
  18. Line Wrap
  19. Document reader
  20. Mouse Locator Keys
  21. View Locator
  22. Screen capture
  23. Save View
  24. Application/Situation Settings
  25. Tracking
  26. Speech extensions
  27. Integration with screen readers
  28. DAISY Readers
  29. Licensing/Registration/Activation
  30. Demo version
  31. Network Access including terminal services access
  32. USB Stick/Pen version
  33. Running from System Tray
  34. Internet Updates
  35. and finally, Language Versions!

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