Acer Chromebook Plus 516 GE (2024) review: a great, if not mind-blowing, refresh

Acer Chromebook Plus 516 GE: Five-minute reviewIn early 2023 I reviewed Google’s first dedicated gaming Chromebook, the Acer Chromebook 516 GE, and it changed my mind about Chromebooks and gaming. So I was excited to get my hands on the long-awaited refresh, the Acer Chromebook Plus 516 GE (2024).The Chromebook has been upgraded in every meaningful way, from the display to the specs, and even has new AI features included for those looking to double it as a productivity

WebGL Aquarium (30,000 fish): 85 fpsThe upgraded specs of the Acer Chromebook Plus 516 GE (2024) shine through in its benchmark scores, as these are some of the highest test results I’ve seen in any Chromebook and are solid improvements over the already excellent scores from the original Chromebook 516 GE model.I was particularly impressed by the WebGL Aquarium, as it was able to maintain a high 85fps with the maximum amount of fish enabled.Image 1 of 2(Image credit: Future)(Image credit: Future)The Intel Core CPU is certainly working overtime, which is great to hear from those interested in playing the best PC games through Steam or any Android titles. While you’ll mainly want to game through a streaming service like Nvidia’s GeForce Now or Amazon Luna, having the option to play locally is always a boon. Just know that the Steam Borealis is still in beta, meaning you’ll have to enable it through developer mode at your own risk. But in my experience, it runs quite well with little in the way of slowdown or bugs.The best way to use this Chromebook, however, is through GeForce Now. If you’re using the most premium subscription option and you have a solid internet connection, the experience is incredibly smooth and stutter-free. I played AAA titles like Cyberpunk 2077 and Baldur’s Gate 3 with no issues at all. And thanks to the great display, the games look even better than in the original model and beat out most other Chromebooks.(Image credit: Future)The battery life isn’t too shabby, lasting about seven hours when under heavy video use and a bit more under normal work conditions. While it’s not the best for a Chromebook, it still outstrips most Windows laptops using an Intel Core CPU. The good thing is that you can play for quite a bit before running low on battery, making it way more portable-minded than other gaming laptops.It lasts a little longer when it comes to productivity work, ensuring that you’ll have a full work or school day worth of charge. And it charges pretty fact too, so you won’t be stuck at an outlet for too long in case you need to juice up.Acer Chromebook Plus 516 GE: Price & availabilityHow much does it cost? starting price is $649.99 (around £515 / AU$980)When is it available? Available nowWhere can you get it? Available in the USThe price for the Acer Chromebook Plus 516 GE (2024) is $649.99 (around £515 / AU$980), which is the same price that the original Acer Chromebook 516 GE sold for at launch. While it’s a steep price point for a Chromebook, for a gaming laptop it’s a steal, especially for more casual gamers who don’t require much firepower for the games they play, or those who only want to stream games instead of playing locally.Currently, it’s only available in the US through Best Buy, with no units available to purchase in the UK and Australia at the time of this writing.Acer Chromebook Plus 516 GE: SpecsThe Acer Chromebook Plus 516 GE I reviewed came with an Intel Core 5 120U CPU with Intel Arc Graphics, up to 16GB of LPDDR4X SDRAM, and 256 GB PCIe storage. There aren’t any options to upgrade your specs, and Chromebooks are notorious for poor self-repairability and no self-upgrade options.Swipe to scroll horizontallyAcer Chromebook Plus 516 GE (2024) specsHeader Cell – Column 0 Acer Chromebook Plus 516 GE (2024)PriceStarting at $649.99 (around £515/AU$980)Display16-inch, 16:10 WQXGA 2560 x 1600, 350 nits, 120 HzCPUIntel Core 5 120UGraphicsIntel Arc GraphicsRAMUp to 16GB LPDDR4XStorageUp to 256 GB PCIe SSDPorts2x USB 4 Type C, 1x USB Type A Gen 3.1, 1x 3.5mm combo jack, 1x Ethernet port, 1x HDMI 2.1 port, ConnectivityWi-Fi 6E AX211, Bluetooth 5.2Battery65WHrWeight3.81 lbs. (1.73 kg)Dimensions14.04 x 9.83 x 0.84 inches (356.58 x 249.67 x 21.3 mmShould you buy the Acer Chromebook Plus 516 GE?(Image credit: Future)Swipe to scroll horizontallyAcer Chromebook Plus 516 GE (2024) score cardHeader Cell – Column 0 RemarksRatingValueThough availability is poor, the pricing for a refresh that upgrades specs from the old model is worth applauding.4 / 5DesignIt’s not very pretty but it’s light enough to carry around and has a solid build quality.4 / 5PerformancePerformance is even better this time around, with solid benchmark scores to boot.5 / 5BatteryThe battery life, under the movie test, is still around an impressive seven hours4 / 5 Average totalThe Acer Chromebook Plus 516 GE is a solid refresh worth investing in, though it still has a few of the same shortcomings as the previous version.4.5 / 5Buy the Acer Chromebook Plus 516 GE if…You want solid game streaming performance This is a laptop made for game streaming and it does it well. The vibrant display also helps, as titles look clean and clear through near stutter-free gameplay.You’re on a

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