Google has unveiled its latest project, a line-up of 3 new Chromebooks built for Cloud Gaming. Google has partnered with ASUS, Acer, and Lenovo to create a new segment of Chromebooks powerful enough to handle cloud gaming.
The Chromebooks are optimized to support Cloud Gaming services such as Nvidia GeForce Now, Amazon Luna, and Microsoft Xbox Cloud Gaming. Only a few weeks ago, Google announced that they are canceling plans to release the successor of the Pixelbook, and pulling plugs off their cloud gaming service, Google Stadia, which makes this announcement even more surprising.
Regardless, the newly announced Chromebooks feature gaming hardware many PC gamers are looking for; an anti-ghosting backlit keyboard, speedy high-resolution displays, and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity.
Google has also introduced a dedicated “Everything Button,” which directly searches for games across Nvidia GeForce NOW and Google Play to launch games without any downloads or installation.
Google has also partnered with gaming peripheral manufacturers, including Acer, Corsair, SteelSeries, HyperX, and Lenovo, to create dedicated gear with the Works with Chromebook certification. This ensures smooth operation with the new gaming Chromebooks.
Acer Chromebook 516 GE
The Acer Chromebook 516 GE features a 16-inch WQXGA (2560 x 1500) IPS display and 120Hz refresh rate support. The display comes at a 16:10 aspect ratio with narrow bezels all around the display frame. It also supports a 100% sRGB color gamut for true-to-life color accuracy.
The Chromebook is also equipped with the latest 12th Gen Intel Core processors with options between the Intel Core i5-1240P or i7-1260P.
The processors are the latest from Intel but are sorely lacking compared to the mainline Intel laptop processors. The Intel Core i5-1240P has a 1.7GHz base frequency, while the standard Intel Core i5-12500H measures 2.5GHz.
However, since this is a Chromebook, this is to be expected.
Additionally, the Chromebook 516 GE comes with up to 16GB LPDDR4X RAM and up to a sizable 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD. The Chromebook sports an integrated GPU, the Intel Iris Xe Graphics card.
The RGB keyboard on the Chromebook 516 GE utilizes anti-ghosting technology to ensure accurate keyboard inputs. This helps when you’re pressing multiple keys at once which is indispensable when gaming. There 7 different color options or a 4-zone color option for the RGB keyboard.
The quad-speakers on the Chromebook 516 GE are DTS enabled for full, clear audio. The speakers are positioned with two upward and two downward-facing speakers. The laptop also utilizes “force-canceling” woofers to help mitigate vibrations caused by audio and loud sounds.
Lastly, the Chromebook 516 GE features Wi-Fi 6E and a variety of connectivity options including USB-C, USB-A, HDMI, RJ-45 LAN port, and Bluetooth. The Chromebook 516 GE is rated to last up to 10 hours on a single charge.
The Acer Chromebook 516 GE is set to release this month with a starting price of $649.99. It will also release in EMEA in December for EUR 999.
ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX55 Flip
The ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX55 Flip takes a different approach and includes a 2-in-1 form factor.
The 15.6-inch Full HD display is also a touch screen and can be folded into multiple different configurations. The display features a 16:9 aspect ratio and 144Hz refresh rate in an 81% screen-to-body ratio screen.
Powering the Chromebook Vibe CX55 Flip is an 11th Gen Intel Core processor with multiple options including Intel Core i3, i5, and i7. It also features RAM up to 16GB and up to 512GB SSD storage options.
In terms of GPU, the Chromebook Vibe CX55 Flip can feature either Intel UHD Graphics or Intel Iris Xe depending on the configuration.
But unlike the Acer Chromebook 516 GE, the Chromebook Vibe CX55 Flip only has a single-color backlight on the keyboard. The keyboard still retains the anti-ghosting feature for accurate keyboard inputs.
The Chromebook’s speakers are tuned by Harman/Kardon but otherwise is a simple dual stereo speaker setup. It also features Wi-Fi 6 and multiple connectivity options including Bluetooth 5.0, USB-A, USB-C, HDMI, and microSD card reader.
The Chromebook is rated to last up to 10 hours on a single charge.
ASUS’s cloud gaming Chromebook has a few differences such as the lack of an RGB keyboard and only Wi-Fi 6 (not latest Wi-Fi 6E) support. However, it has the highest refresh rate at 144Hz among the three Chromebooks and can function as a 2-in-1 laptop as well.
The ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX55 Flip is available for preorder at Best Buy for $699 for the Intel Core i5 version. The Chromebook is expected to start shipping on Monday, October 17th.
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook
The last Cloud Gaming Chromebook Google unveiled is the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook. The IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook features a 16-inch WQXGA (2560 x 1600) IPS display with a 120Hz refresh rate.
The display is a 16:10 aspect ratio and supports a 100% sRGB color gamut alongside TÜV Rheinland Low Blue Light certification.
Internally, the Chromebook is equipped with the latest 12th Gen Intel Core processors and has two variants to choose from; the Intel Core i3-1215U or the Intel Core i5-1235U. It also supports up to 8GB RAM on both versions and a 128GB eMMC or 256GB/512GB SSD storage options.
The IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook features a four-zone RGB backlit keyboard with anti-ghosting and a 1.5mm key travel. The key travel will increase comfort when typing or when gaming.
The Chromebook also features a quad-speaker setup with Waves Audio encased in an anodized aluminum body. The laptop weighs 1.82kg. In terms of battery life, the IdeaPad Chromebook Gaming has the highest of the three, maxing out at 11 hours.
In terms of connectivity, the IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook supports Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.0 as well as multiple wired ports including 2x USB-C, USB-A, and a MicroSD card reader.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook will start at $599 and will be available in October.
What Cloud Gaming Services Will These Chromebooks Support?
As of now, the new Cloud Gaming Chromebooks all support three cloud gaming services: Nvidia GeForce NOW, Amazon Luna, and Microsoft Xbox Cloud Gaming. It’s also rumored that Valve is working on a Chromebook-compatible version of Steam in the future.
For now, we can expect that the Chromebook Gaming segment will expand as Cloud Gaming services evolve. Google is also offering a three-month trial for both Amazon Luna+ and NVIDIA GeForce NOW’s RTX 3080 Tier for new users to test out Cloud Gaming.
Google has also ensured the new Chromebooks have been tested thoroughly and claims they can support “120 frames per second and console-class input latency of under 85ms.”
Since Google just recently nixed their own premium Chromebook line-up, we can expect Google to continue supporting Chromebooks through their partners. Hopefully, Cloud Gaming Chromebooks are here to stay as they can be an interesting proposition for casual gamers.
But that’s what we think. We want to know your thoughts on the latest Gaming Chromebooks. Would you get one? Or would you prefer to spend the money on a mid-range gaming laptop with Windows? Leave us a comment!