Learning from home has sent parents and school districts alike scrambling to get Chromebooks for all their kids, and that's left most of the education-grade Chromebooks — the ones with spill-resistant keyboard and extra-reinforced ports — back-ordered well into 2021, so if you want a new Chromebook for your kid this Christmas, your best bet is to go budget instead. And while the competition for Chromebook deals under $200 is heating up as Black Friday approaches, Best Buy's $129 HP Chromebook 14 has exactly what you want for a kid's first Chromebook without making you spend an arm or a leg.
Best bang for your buck
Just the essentials and an essentially awesome price
HP makes bigger and beefier Chromebooks, but for a kid's first computer, the HP Chromebook 14 is a great match. You get plenty of ports and a 14-inch touchscreen, and while the Celeron N3350 processor isn't exactly new, it'll do just fine for homework, educational games, and the occasional YouTube binge.
As mentioned, the Celeron N3350 isn't super-powerful, so you might need to cut back on open tabs while doing Zoom or Google Meet calls for class, but if you kid just needs a Chromebook for homework and maybe some Android education games, the HP Chromebook 14 has what matters most in a kid's Chromebook: a touchscreen. Yes, the 14-inch screen isn't some super-bright UHD display, but it's easy enough to read homework and e-textbooks on and having a touchscreen matters more for two reasons:
- Your kid was probably raised with smartphones and/or tablets and is used to touching the screen to interact with it.
- Most Android apps and games are designed for touch interaction rather than mouse and keyboard.
32GB of storage sounds small for a laptop, but keep in mind that Chromebooks are designed to integrate with Google Drive, and you should 110% train your kid to save their things to Google Drive instead of locally so that if they break their shiny new computer, they don't lose their homework and everything else they had downloaded like class handouts and notes. You can also use some of the money you saved on this super-discounted Chromebook on the best microSD card's best deal ever and then use that for extra offline storage.
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