Unboxing Acer’s new cloud gaming-focused Chromebook 516 GE


This week, Google unveiled a new Chromebook initiative that brings together the big three game streaming services (RIP Stadia), ChromeOS, and new hardware to deliver what they believe is the best overall way to experience game streaming. games. While streaming your favorite titles from GeForce NOW is certainly possible on almost any Chromebook, Google wants to differentiate these devices by providing things like high-refresh displays, great speakers, RGB keyboards and premium internals to ensure your gaming experience is top notch.

The first gaming-focused Chromebooks

The first of these new Chromebooks we’re getting our hands on is the Acer Chromebook 516 GE, and it packs everything you want in a gaming-focused Chromebook while simultaneously being a solid device for day-to-day tasks too. Google said these devices are optimized for cloud gaming, and they’ve worked closely with GeForce NOW, XBOX Cloud Gaming, and Amazon Luna to ensure the hardware stack is ready for ready-to-go game streaming. ‘use.

All this needs to be tested, and it will take us a few weeks. However, recently with this new 516 GE Chromebook from Acer, I feel like Google is onto something here. The combination of a solid connection via Ethernet or Wi-Fi 6E, a fantastic keyboard, excellent speakers and a large, bright 120Hz QHD 16:10 display delivers an extremely compelling gaming experience. But it doesn’t just sound good on paper: it works as well.

Again, I didn’t have much time to play, but in a handful of matches in Fortnite and Apex Legends, the experience is so immersive that I forgot I was playing a game on a server at miles and miles. With GeForce NOW, these new Chromebooks get 120Hz as an option, and they take full advantage of it. With ray tracing, high-end graphics, and that 120Hz frame rate, games look absolutely amazing and run just as well. I won’t say there weren’t a single hiccups, but they were so rare that I never had a single issue when I was actually involved in a high intensity moment.

We’ll do a separate gaming performance video once we’ve spent more time on it, but I’m impressed with the streaming aspect of these new Chromebooks so far. But what about this device as a normal everyday Chromebook? After all, at the end of the day, this thing still has to be a laptop capable of doing normal laptop stuff. There’s also good news, as this new Chromebook from Acer is also very good at it.

Acer Chrombook 516 GE Key Features

  • 12th Generation Intel Core i501240P
  • Iris Xe graphics card
  • 8 GB RAM
  • 256 GB NVMe SSD
  • Wi-Fi 6E
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • 16-inch 120Hz IPS non-touch screen
  • 2560×1600 at 350 nits and 100% SRGB
  • Up-firing DTS speakers
  • RGB backlit keyboard
  • Oceanglass touchpad
  • 1080p webcam
  • 2x USB Type-C (3.2)
  • 1x USB Type-A (3.2)
  • HDMI 2.1 socket
  • ethernet port
  • Headphone/microphone jack
  • 3.75 pounds

A great Chromebook even without the games

It would be easy for companies to create Chromebooks that are good for streaming games but bad for everything else. Fortunately, that’s not the case with the Acer 516 GE. Instead, I love it so far. The 16-inch screen is vibrant, silky smooth and offers great viewing angles. The upward-firing speakers are powerful, full, and offer wide stereo separation, and the RBG keyboard is a joy to type on and looks cool to boot. The trackpad is huge, smooth and has a fantastic click mechanism and the aluminum cover and base make things solid and reassuring.

Even the 1080p webcam is solid, exposing shots very well for a Chromebook not really meant for meetings and work-related things. Inside we have a blisteringly fast 12th-gen Core i5-1240P with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of NVMe storage, and I probably can’t tell you how fast this thing feels. With ports for HDMI, Ethernet, USB-C and USB-A, the 516 GE is well connected and ready for anything.

My only slight complaint is the lack of touch for the screen, and it’ll be fun to see how that affects day-to-day use as I’m making it my primary Chromebook for a while. With all the benefits on offer, I doubt it’s that significant, but time will tell on that front.

Overall, I love the look, feel, and power the Acer Chromebook 516 GE has offered so far. Assuming the cloud gaming experience (and Steam gaming on the go) is solid, I’m confident the actual functional part of this device will work on all fronts. As long as the size and weight aren’t too bad in the bag, this will be a very worthwhile Chromebook to review. With a starting price of $649 and general availability already in place at places like Best Buy, I think Acer has a real winner up its sleeve for Q4. But for now, it’s review time.


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