Right now, if you want to try out the Play Store on Chrome OS, there are 3 devices you can use to do so. The Asus Chromebook Flip, the Acer Chromebook R11 and the Google Chromebook Pixel 2015. Of the three, I think the Acer is the best bet and right now, you can pick up a factory refurbished unit from Argos for only £124.99 inclusive. I bought one and it looks brand new.
So why the Acer? Simply because it's a pretty good device and the other two have what I would deem fatal flaws. Now don't get me wrong, the Chromebook Flip in particular is a cool little piece of hardware. It's compact, light and very well made. It does however use a Rockchip ARM processor which isn't the most sprightly and the 10.1" screen can feel cramped. Thankfully the keyboard is a decent size, thanks to the devices large bezels. The real kicker though is the £250 price tag. Even with 4GB RAM, it's just too expensive. Hardware wise, the Chromebook Pixel has everything going for it. But it costs a fortune. No sale.
The Chromebook R11 isn't perfect. It's pretty heavy, it too has chunky bezels and it comes with 'only' 2GB RAM / 16GB storage (realistically, both OK for Chromebooks). But it's very nicely made with a 'Yoga' style hinge and aluminium top plate, it's Celeron 3050 processor offers pretty good performance and at £125, it's a steal. OK, so the 1280x800 looks poor next to modern retina offers, but it's bright, perfectly usable and, of course, touchable. Battery life, as with most Chromebooks, is epic.
Play Store on Chrome OS is currently undergoing ongoing development, so you'll need to switch your machine to the dev channel from the About menu. But when you do, you soon realise what a massive change this is going to be for Chromebooks (and just imagine if Google can somehow shoe-horn this into desktop Chrome!). Word, Excel et al all work fine, as does the Gmail app, as do most apps. It's not perfect, there are bugs, but for a lot of people the implementation will take Chromebooks from the realms of web browsing curios to legitimate primary devices. Seriously.
If you want to pick up the R11, head on over to Argos on Ebay quickly before they sell out. If you use TopCashback you'll get £1.31 cashback too, bringing the price down to £123.68. I ordered Sunday and it arrived Monday. Impressive service.
Let us know how you find the experience if you do order!
Edited by PaulOBrien