Ideal for carrying about, taking notes, surfing the web and email.
The Chromebook is great for carrying about, writing notes with Google Docs, displaying data on USB sticks or external drives. It is lightweight, with fantastic battery life (though the older any laptop gets, the less efficient the battery) but often the old Chromebook will outlast a newer laptop for battery life.
Whether the Chromebook is for you depends on how you want to use it. What a Chromebook does not cope with is extensive editing of photographs, recording and editing of your own music or your own videos. Printing from a Chromebook is not straightforward, though Google has Cloud Printing available. It's simpler to save your data and print from another computer, though. As a second laptop, in conjunction with a Desktop or main laptop, the Chromebook is perhaps at it’s most versatile.
What the Chromebook excels at is the ease of use and the light weight and battery life combination. All you need to use a Chromebook is a Google email address – and that’s free, and easy to set up. Switching on (and off) is fast and simple. Two children, six and seven years old, love using the Chromebook, especially watching videos such as are found on YouTube. Several users can use the same Chromebook, either logged in or as a guest. And since Chromebooks are relatively inexpensive (in laptop terms) loss or damage to a Chromebook is not the end of the world – especially if your data is backed up online, such as on Google Drive. If so, all you need to do is repair or replace your Chromebook, log in, and carry on.
With Chromebook updates to the operating system come regularly and automatically from Google. At most, you might have to switch it off and back on again occasionally. Similarly, Google looks after anti-virus. There’s no need to worry about running any anti-virus programme on a Chromebook.
The Chromebook is designed to be online, but Google has many apps which can run when not connected to the web, such as ebook reader apps, and of course Google Docs runs both online and offline. (A few Chromebooks are 4G, but I believe most are 3G.) Usually the hard drive on a Chromebook is not large, but external storage (USB sticks) or web access (Google Drive) mitigates this. And of course there are apps for fun and games available from Google’s Web Store, many being free to download and use.
There is plenty of help just waiting right there on the web, such as how to use Chromebook plus shortcut keys and key combinations. An idiosyncrasy of Chromebook is that there is no delete key, and no Caps Lock key, but Alt+Backspace and Alt+Search (magnifying glass logo, normally where shift key is) work well. Other key combinations exist, but personally I hardly ever use more than those two. I do, however, often use the special function keys which are right there on the top row, either for going forward or back to a visited web page and adjusting brightness or volume.
In short a Chromebook isn’t for everyone, but personally I wouldn’t be without one.