Stream Netflix, Hulu, or Google Play videos:. Netflix requires a special Chrome app, while the others just work from their websites.
Use many external USB devices: External hard drives, DVD drives, keyboards, ethernet-to-USB converters, wireless mice, webcams, and headsets are usually plug-and-play. Chromebooks won’t fling open an app or a Windows-like “Installing” dialog upon connecting a device. They’ll just generally work, or be available whenever a web service is looking for them.
Be hacked to dual-boot with Ubuntu: All Chromebook/Chromebox devices have a “developer mode,” for those who like to try out deeper hacks. If you like the form factor and price of a Chrome device, but ChromeOS just isn’t enough of an OS for you, look to Jay Lee’s “ChrUbuntu” project. It’s a single script you download and run, and the how-to is quite detailed.
Things a Chromebook cannot do
In no particular order:
Run desktop programs for Windows, Mac, or Linux: Some computer programs have web-based equivalents that might surprise you. Alternative To has quite a few of them. And you might use a VNC-like connection through Chrome Remote Desktop to step into a full-fledged machine and do what you need. But if there’s a particular program that’s crucial to your every hour of work, Chromebooks can’t run them.
Connect to wireless printers: Unless the printer offers some handy ways to print from Google Drive or another cloud-storage site, you’re not going to get around the printer thing with a wireless model.
Keep 30-plus Chrome tabs open at once: Some of us have bad everything-at-once tendencies that our more powerful systems can tolerate. The best of Chromebooks, with 4 GB of memory and Intel processors, start to feel the burn with around a dozen tabs open, especially if you’re streaming music or video in a background tab.
Serious computer development work (usually): Chromebooks have grown in their remote-computing powers, and they have VPN, VNC, and SSH capabilities that might let a prepared programmer jump into a system and move some things around. But you certainly can't build a whole development environment into a web-based, Chrome-only computer.