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Gaming Chromebooks with up to 144Hz panels have arrived, but they’re not what you think

Google has announced three new Chromebooks specifically designed with cloud gaming in mind. Acer, Asus, and Lenovo each have their own models, each sporting an assortment of gaming features, such as 120Hz refresh rate screens, higher=resolution displays, RGB lighting, improved audio, and faster processors.

Of course, unlike a standard gaming laptop, these new Chromebooks don’t actually have hardware inside since they’re meant to game primarily using game streaming services.

Three gaming Chromebooks with games on them.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

So far, these Chromebooks are fully compatible with Nvidia GeForce Now, Amazon Luna+, and Xbox Cloud Gaming, giving access to over 1,400 games, more than 100 of which are free to play. These services were already supported on Chromebooks, but Google says these new devices are tailor-made to enhance the cloud gaming experience. GeForce Now, in particular, is announcing that it will bring 1600p 120Hz streaming to Chromebooks, which matches the panels on these new devices.

As for the laptops themselves, the names are as follows: The Acer Chromebook 516 GE, Asus Chromebook Vibe CX55 Flip, and the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook. While all three models have a similar target of supporting cloud gaming in ChromeOS, there are some key differences between the three.

The front and back of the IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

First off, the Acer and Lenovo models both have anti-ghosting keyboards with four-zone RGB backlighting, while the Asus model is only anti-ghosting. The Asus model also has a different panel than the others, using a 16:9 aspect ratio screen with a 1080p resolution and 144Hz refresh rate. The Lenovo and Acer Chromebooks, on the other hand, have a 16:10 1600p display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The Asus model is also the only option that supports Wi-Fi 6 instead of the newer Wi-Fi 6E standard.

The advantage to the Asus option, of course, is that it is a “Flip” Chromebook, meaning it can be used as a tablet or in tent mode.

All three Chromebooks come with different audio solutions, whether it’s the “force-canceling” speakers on the Acer Chromebook 516 GE or the four-speaker setup by Wave on the IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook.

All three Chromebooks come with at least 8GB of RAM, but feature different processor options, all from Intel’s 12th-gen Core processor lineup. The Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook will start at $599 and includes the Core i3-1215U and 256GB of storage. The Acer Chromebook 16 GE, meanwhile, starts with a higher-powered Core i5-1240P and 256GB of storage for $650.

Asus did not provide configuration or price details, though Google did say that models start as low as $399. Three months of GeForce Now RTX 3080 Membership and Amazon Luna+ are included with any of these laptops, and some retailers will be bundling in a SteelSeries 3 Gaming mouse.

All three models will be available for purchase some time later in October.

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Luke Larsen
Senior Editor, Computing
Luke Larsen is the Senior editor of computing, managing all content covering laptops, monitors, PC hardware, Macs, and more.
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