A Samsung Chromebook that I had ordered a couple of weeks ago finally arrived while I was out of town. I was hoping to test it on my last trip. In case you hadn't heard of these before, they have the form factor of a laptop but must be connected to the Internet to be truly useful. In this case, it's closer in weight an size to an 11" Macbook Air at 2.4 lbs and 0.7" thick. No hard drive or optical drive but has 16GB of local storage and includes two years of 100GB Google Drive cloud storage. Also included are 12 coupons for Gogo Inflight Internet access. All for $249. No fans, no spinning drives, no noise. But everything has to be done in a browser.
So far, I have been able to connect with all four of my email accounts, three different cloud storage options, configure x.509 certificate base wireless network access (Eduroam), as well as SSH into multiple Linux servers that I manage. Everything that I normally need a laptop for. Google docs are functional enough for me and there is an offline mode for those times when the Internet isn't available or too slow to be useful. Right after I logged in, all of my bookmarks and extensions came across from the Chrome browser on my Macbook Pro.
The only unusual thing I needed to do was to turn on a simple WPA2 wireless SSID for the initial configuration on first boot. It needed to contact the Google mother ship to validate my credentials. So far, I'm impressed at what you can do for ¼ the price of the cheapest Macbook Air. The materials and build quality aren't the same as the Apple product but then again, look at the price! After a couple of weeks of daily use, I'll post another update.