Wed. Feb 1st, 2023

One of many first “gaming” ChromeOS units, the Acer Chromebook 516 GE is the definitive machine for cloud gaming, even when that’s an oxymoron.

Why purchase a gaming Chromebook?

Due to providers like Xbox Sport Move, Nvidia GeForce Now, and (for a quick time) Stadia, Chromebooks grew to become surprisingly competent gaming units virtually in a single day. Utilizing the identical inexpensive ChromeOS laptop computer/pill you have already got for work, faculty, or private use, you possibly can play AAA-quality video games, as long as you’ve a steady web connection.

But when the Chromebook you have already got is nice sufficient, why then does one even want a “gaming Chromebook?” That is the tough query that corporations like Google and Acer have been in search of to reply, and for many individuals, the reality is that you simply don’t want it.

As an alternative, gaming Chromebooks are constructed for individuals who need apex-level high quality and expertise from gaming with out shelling out for the mandatory native gaming laptop computer or mixture of PC/console and monitor. For a couple of hundred {dollars} extra, you might get a Home windows 11 gaming laptop computer, however the high quality received’t be on-par with the RTX 3080 graphics that GeForce Now can supply. Plus, you’ll use extra energy (decreasing battery life), generate extra warmth, and thus, want noisy followers.

With a gaming Chromebook just like the Acer Chromebook 516 GE, you possibly can push Nvidia GeForce Now almost to its limits, handily operating video games on Extremely graphics, 1600p decision, and 120 frames per second. All of the whereas, the followers keep principally quiet, your cupboard space stays free for different makes use of, and your battery life is as improbable as some other Chromebook.

Excessive refresh charge show

The important thing distinction within the Acer Chromebook 516 GE that units it other than most different ChromeOS units is the inclusion of a (16-inch, 2560×1600, IPS) 120Hz refresh charge show. Till this yr, most different Chromebooks have been locked in at 60Hz till you related a sooner exterior monitor.

As talked about, this excessive refresh charge show is virtually purpose-built for GeForce Now’s RTX 3080 tier. It’s an oddly novel expertise to play Cyberpunk 2077 at 120 frames per second on a Chromebook. Should you’ve not but had the privilege of gaming at a excessive refresh charge, the distinction is surprisingly stark, with every thing feeling perceptively smoother and extra life like.

To make sure each gaming Chromebook proprietor has the possibility to have that have, Google and Nvidia are presently providing a free three-month trial of GeForce Now’s RTX 3080 tier. You’re additionally entitled to a three-month trial of Amazon Luna.

Sadly, GeForce Now could be the one sport streaming service out there immediately that provides 120fps gameplay on ChromeOS, with all others capped at 60fps, which is definitely nonetheless playable. Worse, the opposite avenues to gaming on ChromeOS — Android video games within the Play Retailer and PC gaming by means of the Steam beta — have the identical 60fps cap.

Lengthy story brief: the upper refresh charge of the Acer Chromebook 516 GE is presently solely used for GeForce Now and on a regular basis internet shopping. This isn’t a flaw of Acer’s design, however hopefully solely a short lived limitation of ChromeOS.

In any other case, the display is lots vivid and has a matte end, each of which assist when utilizing the Chromebook in daylight, although it does entice mud. Notably, Acer has opted to not embrace a touchscreen within the Chromebook 516 GE, which is a uncommon exclusion for ChromeOS. That mentioned, I haven’t discovered myself lacking the flexibility to make use of contact.

{Hardware}

After all, there’s extra to creating an amazing cloud gaming machine than simply attaching a nicer show. For starters, every gaming Chromebook contains an anti-ghosting keyboard (with RGB lighting, as a result of gaming), which is a method to make sure that your entire simultaneous keypresses are accurately despatched to your sport. Conventional Chromebooks don’t have this, so in case you’re a keyboard-and-mouse sort of gamer, this alone could possibly be a motive to improve.

The keyboard on the Acer Chromebook 516 GE is nicely organized, with every thing feeling exactly positioned and comfy. The included RGB lighting is a bit disappointing right here, providing delicate mild and shade quite than a daring impact, however the RGB can also be not one thing that I significantly care about.

Past that, Acer truly included a helpful {hardware} function on the Chromebook 516 GE that not one of the different gaming units supply — a full 2.5-Gigabit Ethernet port. Whereas there have been vital enhancements in Wi-Fi know-how over the previous few years — together with Wi-Fi 6E help on this explicit mannequin — a hardwired Ethernet cable will virtually at all times supply a extra steady expertise for cloud gaming.

Digging into the remainder of the spec sheet, the Acer Chromebook 516 GE that I examined included a twelfth Gen Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of NVMe storage. These upper-midrange specs are greater than sufficient to maintain ChromeOS operating easily on the increased refresh charge, run some video games by means of Steam, or function a developer’s machine.

All of that’s wrapped in a modern chassis with upward-facing audio system and a full vary of helpful ports. The 2-tone design of the lid makes the Acer Chromebook 516 GE a enjoyable machine to make use of in public with out wanting an excessive amount of like an edgy “gaming” laptop computer. That mentioned, I discovered the Chromebook must be babied a bit because it’s considerably vulnerable to scratches.

Must you purchase the Acer Chromebook 516GE?

The best buyer for the Acer Chromebook 516 GE immediately is somebody who does nearly all of their gaming by means of GeForce Now and prefers to play with a keyboard and mouse. For $650, you possibly can deliver the total may of recent cloud gaming wherever (with web entry) with out compromising on display dimension or awkward controls.

With time, as extra cloud gaming providers choose up increased framerate streaming, the Acer Chromebook 516 GE will develop into simpler to advocate. Even outdoors of gaming use, having a Chromebook with a excessive refresh charge has been a delight, however ChromeOS nonetheless has some catching as much as do earlier than I’d advocate one on that spec alone.

For the one who takes cloud gaming fairly critically, the Acer Chromebook 516 GE strikes a superb stability between being “gamer-ready” and helpful as a easy laptop computer. In contrast to different gaming-focused units, just like the upcoming Razer Edge, you’ve a full laptop computer expertise courtesy of ChromeOS.

For a restricted time, Greatest Purchase is providing the Acer Chromebook 516 GE for $549 — a $100 low cost — making it an much more compelling possibility going into the vacation season.

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