The Acer Chromebook 516 GE is Acer’s first gaming Chromebook. Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo It’s been a while since I’ve been on a Chromebook. I was a dedicated user of the Google Pixelbook when it launched. Its 2-in-1 form factor fit my life surprisingly well, and I even turned it into a podcasting machine on the go. But then the laptop started aging out, and I needed something that could handle video and photo editing in a way that Chrome OS couldn’t. I also wanted to play games on it. The Pixelbook became redundant once I upgraded my computer to a Windows-based Dell XPS 15, and it’s been collecting dust ever since.
Now, we have gaming Chromebooks , a phrase I never thought I’d be typing out. These are different from the gaming laptops you’re used to from brands like Razer or Alienware—they don’t even have the power of my Dell XPS 15. Instead, they have specs tuned to launch games from the cloud. The benefit of all this is it makes the overall ChromeOS experience feel more premium for a fraction of what I paid for the Windows-based XPS.
The Acer Chromebook 516 GE is one of the three models that Google has trotted out in this latest campaign. The GE stands for “Gaming Edition,” and it refers to Chromebooks that have screens with high refresh rates, recent generation Intel processors, and unique gamer-y touches like RGB-lighted keyboards. The Chromebook 516 GE has all those things, making it a great all-purpose laptop. I’m particularly struck by how light and easy it is to cart around—I miss that part of having a Chromebook. This is my first experience with cloud gaming on ChromeOS outside of Stadia (RIP). Some features felt like the Windows gaming experience I’m used to, but there were instances when I remembered ChromeOS also has limitations. Meet the gaming Chromebook
The Acer Chromebook 516 GE is a 16-inch laptop weighing slightly less than four pounds. It’s not dense like my Dell, so it feels easier to tote around one-handed. It has a 2560 x 1600 resolution display, though it’s not a touchscreen like most Chromebooks. Instead, you get a display with a 120Hz refresh rate, convenient if you’re subscribed to a cloud service like Nvidia GeForce Now or Xbox Game Pass, which lets you stream games at high refresh rates. If you’re thinking of getting one of these Gaming Edition machines, nabbing a subscription to one of these services is something you’ll want to consider, especially because you’re not going to hit thos