Along with hand sanitizer and toilet paper, affordable laptops are on the list of items that are in short supply these days. Kids are headed back to school, and it seems that everyone is trying to refresh their laptop for the fall. With limited laptop inventories, it seems like you are generally limited to choosing between a thousand-dollar Windows laptop or an underpowered Chromebook. Well, if you want an affordable Windows PC, here you go: Walmart has the Asus VivoBook for $339.
The VivoBook isn't a premium laptop, nor is it priced like a doorbuster on Thanksgiving. Instead, it's exactly what it needs to be: A solid everyday laptop with a really attractive price. To be fair, it is powered by a modest Ryzen 3 CPU, which accounts for a lot of the budget pricing, and has a 128GB SSD.
It ships with Windows 10 in S mode, which is great for younger students because it's a secure operating system that doesn't let kids install third-party apps and games. But if you're giving this laptop to an older student, S mode is easy to override, turning it into an ordinary copy of Windows 10.
It's also chock full of connectivity: You get a pair of USB-A ports and a USB-C port, along with HDMI and Wi-Fi. There's even a fingerprint sensor for biometric logins using Windows Hello.
I'm not trying to dissuade you from getting a Chromebook, because a Chromebook can be great -- as long as it meets your needs and your school system lets you use one. But this is a full-featured Windows system that doesn't force you to use Google Drive and cloud services, which gives you (and your kid) options.
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