Computer Woes: Is a Chromebook Worth Buying?

I’m having computer problems similar to the ones Diana had recently. I have a decently-powerful HP laptop with a hinge that’s so badly damaged, I can’t close it, and can’t take it out of the house. It has such a large crack in the bottom left side of the case, it’s only a matter of time before the dust gets to it and kills it. It’s also showing symptoms of the network card going bad. I live in fear of it dying and leaving me cut off from the blogs and the Twitter accounts.

I almost low-balled a computer last month, but decided not to do that. If I buy a really cheap PC, I’ll still need a new computer and I’ll be out several hundred dollars in the meantime. Since I don’t play video games any more, I don’t need a super-powerful computer. Here’s what I need my next computer to be capable of:

  1. Fast page-loading. This is essential because I do so much browsing and use social media so extensively. I load hundreds of pages per day. Slow page-loading could easily cost me an hour or more every day.
  2. Sufficient sound and video quality to evaluate photos and music videos. This is the main reason I didn’t just get a cheap laptop. I can’t do the sort of blogging I do with a monitor that gives me washed-out color or a sound card/speakers that are too poor to allow me to turn up the volume on videos.
  3. It must be portable, and that means a laptop. As soon as I get the laptop, though, I’m saving for a desktop.
  4. It must be able to handle the wide-screen HD monitor that I already own, so that when I’m working at home, I can plug in the external monitor and use it as a dual monitor setup. Having two monitors would save me a LOT of editing time. It would also allow me to have my Twitter feeds open where I could see them while I’m doing other things.
  5. It needs to be powerful enough for me to open Tweetdeck and monitor 10 or 12 Twitter feeds without a lot of lag.

If I had the money to invest, I’d go with a Mac. I looked at their latest laptops not long ago, and I like them a lot. But I don’t have that kind of money, which means another HP PC or a Chromebook.

I’m ok picking my own HP if I go that route, but I need help deciding whether a Chromebook is worth looking at, so I wonder if anyone’s used one enough to give me an opinion.

The attractions are that they’re light, about $100 less expensive than PCs with equivalent hardware, and don’t run Windows. Instead, their operating system is a Chrome-based interface that runs on a Linux platform. And I hate Windows 8.

The downside is that it doesn’t have a real hard drive. Instead, it has just enough storage to load apps, and Chromebooks come with 200GB of Google Drive storage for two years. I’m a little iffy about having all my data stored only in the cloud. But I have 1 Terabyte external hard drive that I paid about $60 for. It’s a little bigger than a cigarette pack. At the moment, I have the contents of 5 computers backed up on it, and it still has almost 300 GB of free memory.

So, I’m thinking about getting a Chromebook and using the external hard drive for storage, but not sure about the sound/video quality, nor about things like page-loading and handling a large number of fast-moving Twitter feeds. If anyone has an informed opinion about this, I’d appreciate your input.