Crece and Ronvanbc have given some very accurate information regarding the Chromebook as they have actual experience with one in contrast to those who have just read about Chromebooks. I actually own several Windows computers ranging from XP all the way to Windows 8. I use so many because I'm a tech and need to stay familiar with all the current Microsoft Operating Systems. I also use Ubuntu, Android, Apple and yes, a Chromebook.
I must say that a good portion of my residential clients would be thrilled with a Chromebook. However, you must evaluate how you use a computer. Many of my clients use their computers primarily to surf the internet, bank online, make online purchases and do email. If your word processing, spreadsheet needs, and photo editing are modest, the Chromebook is an excellent option. One caveat: To print you must either have a shared printer that is connected to another computer you have on your network or own a printer with an ePrint option such as models from HP connected to your home network. Canon and Brother call the HP ePrint option by another name. You can't just connect your printer via a USB cable to the Chromebook.
The other benefits of the Chromebook are the following:
1. about a 7 to 8 second cold startup.
2. instant on from sleep mode
3. no virus protection needed (at least at this time) The chromebook will rewrite its kernel if it thinks its corrupted.
4. It will run 720HD youtube videos without faltering and the more expensive chromebooks will run 1080HD.
5. If your Chromebook is stolen, the thief must know your password to access it and your data. If the thief resets your Chromebook, then your account along with your data is unavailable to him. You can then buy another Chromebook or if you recovered your own; login; and all your data is back because it's really stored in the cloud (Google's servers) on something called Google Drive. Everything is as it was. Now how cool is that?
6. Google just keeps updating the Chromebook Operating System for you: quick and easy. Unlike with Microsoft or Apple, you never pay for another OS upgrade.
7. It's just plain fun to use.
For my purposes I have to have more than a Chromebook, but when I travel, the Chromebook is what I take with me. In fact, it's normally in my lap at home as well because most of what I do is on the internet. There's a lot of hoopla about the limitations of a Chromebook when it is not connected to the internet. While I grant you that can happen when traveling or if your internet goes down, ask yourself how often that happens. How often are you not connected to the internet when you use a computer? Most people are almost always connected; so this limitation is really not that big. Also, if you use a smartphone that has a mobile hotspot feature, the Chromebook (wi-fi only model) can connect to the internet this way as well.
As with anything new, there is a learning curve. However, if you can browse the internet with the Google Chrome browser, then you can use a Chromebook. The learning curve will come with learning Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Mail, etc. Once you've spent some time using these features, however, I think you'd be quite happy, as long as your needs are as I've described above. You can also do your taxes online. If you need to do heavy photo editing, elaborate complex spreadsheets, desktop publishing, use QuickBooks Pro (You could use QB online) or some other proprietary desktop software, than imho you need to look at Microsoft Windows, Apple, or Linux.
Along with some of the other fine comments made here by others in this thread, I hope my thoughts prove helpful.
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