A £200 chromebook wouldn't cope with my work. A high spec laptop back in 2002 bought with full version of Office Professional was around £1,500. Now, the same laptop struggles. Five years ago, bought an all-in-one, no need to buy Office as just loaded the version bought in 2002 because back then, the licence of it covered you for more than one machine. This year, replaced the all-in-one with similar model so got obviously a recent version of Windows and got a newer version of Office. The cost of both PCs very close as were the specs, only about £50 in it, plus going back even further, the PC bought in the late 1990s was around the same price range - £500 to £700. Laptops have come down in price significantly but I wouldn't say like-for-like PCs have in the mid range.
Price of Office Professional was around £480 mark, and even now if you don't buy Office at the same time you buy a new PC it costs more. However, you have to hunt to get Office (and you just get a key now as opposed to getting a CD and key), the licence is only for one machine (as opposed to 3 or up to 5 like the old days) and they want you to take out a yearly subscription to Office365 instead. The last time I used it, OpenOffice just couldn't cope with tables and columns.
There's also tablets and iPads now, and hybrid laptops whereas before there wasn't.
Speed isn't a huge factor but reliability of connection is. When using TeamViewer or Dropbox or the like, it's no fun when something takes 3 hours to transfer simply because there's a broadband fault outside Inverness. Uploading and/or editing a document on the Microsoft Drive isn't fun unless you have from Windows 7 upwards. Being logged onto the file server in London isn't fun when the entire internet connection goes down either, and again if there's a bottleneck waiting for your cursor to move on the Word document on the London server isn't fun.
Printer: The old workhorse HP Laser bought back in 2002. Was a pain when Win 7 came out and the only driver which worked was the one it said wouldn't, wasn't such a pain on Win 8.1 and for TeamViewer network printing, it just thinks it is a different machine but it works. Cost back then? £99 from Staples. Cost for a similar model now? £89. Laser toner is cheaper than ink cartridges. Will upgrade later this year to Win 10 so will be interesting to see if I get the old beast to work but no doubt will be mimicking another laser printer. If I felt so inclined, colour laser printers have dropped significantly in price.
I haven't subscribed to the superduper all allegedly singing and dancing Infinity because why should I pay to get a speed others elsewhere in the UK are paying for the same as what I'm paying now? Besides, there's been several complaints about the reliability of it too. It's bad enough when the kids get in from school and the speed most definitely drops. I average a speed of around 4.5 to 6.5, right now it's 5.87. If it drops below 3, I can't work.
Fax line: who needs one now? Not really the call any more for a fax line given you can scan and PDF a document. That's another thing, PDF packages now cheaper than they were years ago.
So reliability and consistency at the moment is more important to me. The extra money to BT just simply isn't worth it. It's a balancing act and given BT get around £70 a month before I've even picked up the phone, as a business user I'm not inclined to give them any more for what some have reported as an unreliable service. If anything has gone up in cost, it's the BT bill.