The Chrome OS has been an interesting platform with a handful of drawbacks that have kept it from really taking off. Mainly limitations created by the nature of the system, such as having to have a stable internet connection to even begin using it. Faulty hardware could make a new laptop almost immediately obsolete.
With the HP Chromebook 13, the hope is that better hardware performance will enhance the usability of the operating system, and undo the past mistakes of other budget laptops from the line.
HP Chromebook 13 Tech Specs
Like everything in the Chrome OS line, the point of the system is streamlining its use. Boot time is almost instantaneous, and it connects with your Google account (or accounts) to give you access to all related features and apps. It is more like a tablet in many ways, using the same connection principle to run.
Unlike a tablet it has a 13.3 inch diagonal QHD+ display in very high resolution (3200 x 1800). HP is following the current trend of offering better and better visual options for customers.
Internally, they are using the Intel Core M level processors, 1.2GHz with 3.1GHz TurboBoost. It comes with 16 GB RAM. This probably seems very low (there are smartphones with more processing power).
But keep in mind that the clean efficiency of the Chrome OS is meant to reduce the resources needed. So theoretically the system should still have a decent performance in spite of its lacking specs.
As for storage, it has 32 SDD on board, and a USB port for external storage. But the point of Chrome OS is the cloud integration with Google Drive. So you should be pretty limitless.
I had a Chromebook once, and it was a mistake to buy it. It had a hardware fault many people experienced that kept it from reliably connecting to Wifi, which made it unusable half the time. It only had one USB port and no CD drive (which is still useful for some things). It had good battery life, but otherwise was a miserable machine.
The HP Chromebook 13 looks a lot better, thanks to some updates and the premium features usually seen in more expensive models. But for $499, you may be better off getting an older, but more reliable, system. Or saving up a few hundred more to go with a better brand.