I used a google chrome book to do an essay once, the small screen was no comparison for a real laptop and I really struggled with the limited screen space, having to scroll all the time to re read a paragraph.
If it will be mainly used for web browsing it should be fine.
Have you considered a surface pro, a lot of execs and sales guys use them as laptop/tablet machines.
[QUOTE 3626613, member: 45"]Our old laptop is showing down, and we need something additional anyway. I could get a cheap laptop, but some of the chromebooks look pretty good. Has anyone any experience of secondary school students using them, and can they do everything they need to with then?[/QUOTE]
[QUOTE 3626766, member: 76"]I am using an Acer Chromebook. I have had it a year or so now, I find it easy to get on with. It works mostly on line, such as an i-Pad, but I have never found it a problem. I will be interested to see how this goes as I am having thsi very conversation with MiniUser76 who needs a laptop for his GCSEs.
I use it for all my stuff, and regularly present, write presentations, documents, all the usual things. I don't find it any different, but MiniUser76 isn't too keen for some reason.[/QUOTE]
There isn't a simple answer without you knowing the answers to the following questions
Does the school allow external access to its computer system via a 'virtual desk top'? That is can the pupils access all of the software that they use in the classroom by logging onto the school's network and using it hosted by the school and the Chromebook being a dumb terminal?
If the answer is yes then there's no software barrier and the Chromebook will meet the academic needs of the child.
If the answer is no then the next question to ask is:
Will the pupils be expected to produce work with Windows or Mac specific software for which there isn't a Chrome equivalent e.g. MS Access and Adobe Dreamweaver? Some schools have licenses that allows home use for pupils.
If the answer is yes then it stops the game.
On the leisure front you need to establish if the streaming applications work e.g. Soundcloud, social networking, online gaming, etc. I have no direct experience of leisure use of Chromebooks so can't really comment. But the inability to run some of the social stuff might be a deal breaker for your child as (s)he'll feel a social outcast if (s)he can't participate while his/her peers can.
Google Docs as a solution to office software needs is true for most document types, e.g. word processed, spreadsheets and presentations; you can even write macros for the applications though the scripting language is incompatible with other Office suites.
[QUOTE 3629321, member: 76"]I use an HP printer, again no problem.
Crackles points are well made, but if it is for GCSE/A level course work, then it's fine. You can easily access all the usual social media on a Chromebook, and to be honest if they are a bit restrictive for some gaming applications, well good! It is going to be for his school work, he could do with less time on World of Tanks and Destiny![/QUOTE]
Bear in mind that programming is now part of the National Curriculum at KS3. Python is a favoured programming language and the Python app for Chrome does not look like it's up to much.