Best Argument: Yes
Audience Favored: Yes (61%)
Situations where it makes sense
Matthew Miller: I understand that Larry has some strong feelings about why there is no good reason to buy a Chromebook, but I believe there are indeed some situations where it makes sense to pick up a low cost Chromebook rather than a PC.
I bought my daughter a $249 Chromebook last year for Christmas and she uses it for school research, to check her grades and class assignments, to write papers, and to enjoy media via Hulu and Netflix. She calls it her computer and I have yet to perform any maintenance or troubleshooting in nearly a year.
As a daily 2 hour train commuter, I like to write while passing the time. With a Chromebook I am able to fly on the keyboard and crank out a stream of consciousness without being distracted by notifications, virus warnings, update requests, etc.
The special offers Google includes with a Chromebook purchase make a Chromebook nearly free for me. I enjoy their Google Drive offer and use GoGo in-flight service once or twice a month. These two offerings add up to about $269 so why not pick up a very capable writing machine for the cost you would pay for a couple services?
Chromebook? Why limit yourself so?
Larry Seltzer: As I argued earlier this month, there's nothing a Chromebook can do that a more general-purpose — probably Windows — laptop can't.
Buy a cheap Windows laptop and install Google Chrome: Instant Chromebook, plus it does a lot more. That's really the bulk of the argument.
Is a Chromebook simpler than a Windows laptop running Chrome, and is simplicity in this regard a virtue? This is only true if there are direct benefits from the simplicity. These perceived benefits must be balanced against clear and obvious advantages of a device that runs all Windows software. Incidentally, I'm not persuaded by these alleged benefits.
Many seem to think that they will save money by buying a Chromebook, and at the very low-end that may be true. Once you start going over $300 or so, the case is far less compelling, and there are Windows laptops available for under $300.
There is quite a bit you can do entirely in the Google ecosystem. If you're willing to limit yourself to these things then a
Chromebook can work for you. But why limit yourself?