My Chromebook (HP Chromebook 14) / Chromecast experience quickly summarized. For what do I need it? I needed a laptop with HDMI, USB and SD Card interfaces, plus Wlan and Bluetooth. I'm always online, I have a google account and I mainly want to surf the internet. And guess what, the google chromebook just fits this needs 100%! With chromecast you can mirror tabs onto your HDMI TV. The chromebook can manage and r/w all kind of USB disc devices (can read all filesystem formats FAT, NTFS, ext3, ...). You can attach a printer to USB and enable it with the Google Cloud Print (not all are supported but the most commons are). If you have a printer with WLAN it's even easier. You have access to all Chrome Apps and Extensions. This includes remote desktop server functions, office and many other gadgets. Some Apps or Extensions are even offline capable, meaning that you can work without any WLAN connection and sync as soon as you are online.
As with iPad's you have some shortcuts with file formats like the RealPlayer RA format. However there are workarounds on the net, just google.
Overall a very nice laptop, basic functions but easy to handle and use and focused on what you do very often, surfing on the internet. Low price makes it an interesting alternative for tablets or full blown laptops, but always with the intention of surfing on the internet in mind.