This brief review covers the major user experience problems I encountered using the CR-48 Chromebook prototype.
The tactile feedback of the keyboard is soft, quiet and satisfying to the touch. But there are several problems with the primary mode of input, as listed below (in no particular order):
- Good riddance to CAPSLOCK… but where are Delete, End, Home and F2 (Rename)?
Google has simulated most function keys with these Vulcan death-grip key combinations, but they are frustrating finger positions to learn.
F2: no replacement
- Pressing the Alt-Tab key directly above the 6/7 keys (or pressing alt+tab) doesn’t do anything except briefly shimmy the screen. 
- The keyboard real estate used by the refresh-key is redundant (see ctrl+r) and would be best served as a rename function key or a toggle to disable the touchpad. Better still, the touchpad should automatically disable when the USB port is occupied by a mouse.
- Speaking of the touchpad… while larger (I presume) for ease of use, it is problematic for those of us that fail to properly hover our wrists while typing. Otherwise imperceivable wrist contact with the touchpad causes the cursor to erratically flit around the screen as if possessed. Not a fan of touchpads in general, I attempted to utilize this one and found it to be far worse than others I have used in the past. Clicking is not a simple matter of tapping the pad, it is more like a mouse button you have to depress on the bottom corners (left and right)  and scrolling is a frustrating ballet of two fingers. Suffice it to say, this touchpad is a complete fail.
- It would be nice to have keyboard illumination (some HP laptops have flip lights mounted next to the webcam) or better yet, a fancy backlit keyboard.
- A final commentary on the keyboard: when removing common keyboard functionality (regardless of reason), allow key remapping to both minimize frustration and reduce the learning curve for efficient input.
I didn’t expect to have problems connecting to Wi-Fi and I didn’t – setup was quick and easy.
Unfortunately, the connection speed is entirely a different matter. The CR-48 is significantly slower than my laptop, which utilizes the same wireless router. I scoured the discussion boards and several posts make mention of resolving the slowness by changing the router encoding to AES. I confirmed that my router was similarly set but still no success. I put in a request to the Chrome OS team for help, and will post an update when I hear back.
I’m making an assumption the slowness is a wireless network configuration issue and not the result of under-powered or faulty hardware.