The Acer Chromebook 516 GE is one of a new wave of cloud-gaming first Chromebooks from Google’s partners. These new Chromebooks are aimed at cloud gamers, casual gamers, and occasional gamers like me. It’s also for Chromebook users who have always wanted to play games on their devices.
This Chromebook quickly became one of my favourites after I was sent a pre-release version for testing. I’ve never been this excited about ChromeOS in a long time, thanks to the Acer Chromebook 516GE’s amazing RGB keyboard, impressive display, and really great build quality.
Price and Availability
This Chromebook that was sent to us for testing is not the final product. The Acer Chromebook 516 GE, on the other hand, will be available in the United States later this month. One of the first models of the Acer Chromebook 516 GE will be the Acer Chromebook 516 GE CBG516-1H-53TY, which also matches the specifications of the device we tested. It starts at $649.99 and is available for pre-order now.
The design of the Acer Chromebook 516 GE is one of my favourites. Chromebooks come in a variety of sizes, but 16-inch Chromebooks are a newer addition for 2022. The only other non-gaming 16-inch Chromebook that comes to mind is the Asus Chromebook Flip. Nonetheless, that’s a 2-in-1 convertible, not a clamshell. Lenovo will also release a 16-inch gaming Chromebook called the IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook. Nonetheless, based on my experience with Windows gaming laptops over the years, I believe that the Acer Chromebook is unique simply because of its design. It’s portable and compact, even if it’s only designed for cloud gaming and not GPU gaming.
Let’s start with the style. Some Chromebooks can be dull, but Lenovo’s original Chromebook Duet changed that with a fancy dual-tone colour on the back of the tablet. Some of that is visible with the Acer Chromebook 516 GE. The bottom half of the display lid is brushed, while the top half is smooth. A Chromebook should feel cheap, but this one does not. Because the lid and bottom base are both made of aluminium, it feels sturdy. When I bent it while typing or gaming, I didn’t feel much flex. However, Acer claims that the palm rest is made of plastic.
I’m used to a 120Hz display on my daily computer, the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio, so just to see one on a Chromebook like the Acer Chromebook 516 GE made me very happy. I’m also used to 16:10 aspect ratio 16-inch Windows laptop displays, having recently reviewed both the HP Envy 16 and the Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 3. Even Chromebooks, such as the Samsung Chromebook Plus V2, now have 16:10 displays. That’s why the Acer Chromebook 516 GE’s display was ideal. The 16-inch, 2560 x 1600 resolution, 120Hz display has almost no flaws in my opinion.
I did a few things to put that display to the test. I stacked my Chrome windows side by side for increased productivity. The 16-inch screen with slim bezels is certainly spacious, but I was also relieved to discover that I didn’t need to change the display size in ChromeOS. Everything I wanted to stack as well as fit on the screen for my productivity tasks fit perfectly by default. I also experimented with ChromeOS’s little animations, such as opening the launcher. The high refresh-rate screen made everything feel so smooth. I’ve never felt that strongly about ChromeOS before.
An RGB keyboard is essential for a cloud-gaming Chromebook. This Acer Chromebook 516 GE, thankfully, has an RGB and anti-ghosting keyboard. Because it has chiclet-style keys, the layout reminds me a lot of the keyboard on my Surface Laptop Studio. The difference with this Chromebook is that when you press the keys into the chassis, they have a much softer action. The key presses are also noticeably quieter. Because, you know, gaming! There’s also a white outline on the W, A, S, and D keys.
In terms of customization, ChromeOS allows you to preset the keyboard backlight modes. There are seven different colours to choose from, as well as the option to create a rainbow. ChromeOS will even choose a colour for the keyboard backlights based on the colour of your wallpaper, which is a nice touch. Most of the time, I left it in this setting. You can change the lighting by pressing the Alt key and then the screen brightness up or down key, which will bring up a pop-up next to the slider, allowing you to dive into ChromeOS and customise the backlights.
The Acer Chromebook 516 GE I’m using is powered by an Intel Core i5-1240P processor and also has 8GB of RAM. I wasn’t allowed to run benchmarks, so I’ll have to talk about my day-to-day usage and cloud gaming experience instead. It’s worth noting that this Chromebook is one of the few with 12th-generation Intel CPUs. Others that come to mind are the HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook and the Acer Chromebook Spin 714.
This Chromebook is fantastic for cloud gaming. I installed the Nvidia GeForce Now web app through Chrome, as well as Xbox Cloud Gaming, and got right into the gaming action. I was able to find the GeForce Now and Google Play games I wanted to play natively thanks to Google’s work in ChromeOS by simply searching using the Chromebook’s Everything Button as well as looking at the results in the ChromeOS launcher. That is something Microsoft has yet to do with Xbox Cloud Gaming in Windows 11.
The Acer 516 GE Chromebook will be available in stores later this month for a reasonable price of $649.99. When it goes on sale, I will most certainly purchase one for myself. I simply adore this Chromebook’s 120Hz 16-inch display, keyboard, and overall design. I never expected to use a Chromebook so much as someone who uses a Windows laptop on a daily basis, but this Acer changed my mind.