I'm struggling to understand the relevance and surge in popularity for the Chromebook. Yes, they are affordable, durable, compact and they start up fast. But the list of disadvantages tends to outweigh these few advantages. Your favorite programs (Skype, iTunes, Photoshop, etc.) won't run.You can't customize your desktop, print to a regular printer (network/WiFi printers only) or even play a normal PC game. If you are ever without Internet access, then there goes your data storage (no hard drive in a Chromebook as your documents and pictures are kept in the cloud - Google Drive) and there goes some of your apps as they are also the cloud based Google Apps. I understand wanting an economical alternative to some of the expensive Windows laptops but wouldn't a Linux Laptop make more sense? (Heck - Wouldn't a used Windows laptop make more sense.) If you are going to learn something new anyways (Chrome OS) learn what is fast becoming the most popular operating system in the world - Linux. Remember that Android phones and tablets, almost all Internet servers, embedded devices, supercomputers, etc., etc., run Linux.). Linux also being a full fledged on/offline OS (with more bells and whistles than Windows) vs Chrome OS which is basically just a web browser with a media player. To me it's a no-brainer. I'd go for a full OS that doesn't need anti-virus and offers full functionality on or off the net over a web browser on steroids anytime, but I guess that's just me.
You can download a free copy of any of the Linux Mint OSs (Mate is our favorite) and burn your own DVD or let us know if you would like a free Linux DVD and we’ll get one to you. You can take Linux for a test drive without ever installing it on your computer (the full OS can run in memory from the DVD) without installing.