Best Chromebooks for gaming 2023

Steam on Chromebooks
(Image credit: Android Central / Andrew Myrick)

The introduction of Steam Alpha for Chrome OS and Chromebooks got a lot of us pretty darn excited. Google had been supposedly working on this functionality for the last few years, and instead of forcing users to tinker around with Linux, Steam Alpha comes as a native gaming experience. With the Acer Chromebook 714, you're getting plenty of juice to handle Steam games, along with being able to stay productive or fire up some Android games when you have the time. But there's more to finding the best gaming Chromebooks than just picking whatever you can get your hands on. 

Gaming on Chromebooks is just getting started

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Acer Chromebook Spin 714 review hero 16x9

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)
Best gaming Chromebook overall

Reasons to buy

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Perfect for getting started with Steam Beta
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Thunderbolt 4 ports
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Gorgeous 2K, 14-inch, 3:2 touchscreen display
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The Core i5 model is easily available
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Includes built-in USI stylus pen

Reasons to avoid

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Limited to 8GB RAM
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No Core i7 model is available
Acer Chromebook Spin 714 | Intel Core i5 | 8GB of RAM | 256GB SSD (opens in new tab)

Acer Chromebook Spin 714 | Intel Core i5 | 8GB of RAM | 256GB SSD (opens in new tab)

Acer's Chromebook Spin 714 is not only extremely powerful and performant, but it's easily the best Chromebook overall. Along with being able to handle all of your tasks, the Spin 714 is also part of the Steam Beta on ChromeOS program. And despite not having any "gamer aesthetics," the Spin 714 is still our pick for the best gaming Chromebook.

As if it weren't obvious already by its inclusion on the list of best Chromebooks, we're big fans of the Acer Chromebook Spin 714. There are multiple versions available, so you'll need to pay close attention to the specs provided if you want to enjoy Steam Beta on the go. In that case, you'll need to get the latest version available, which is powered by Intel's 12th-gen Core i5 chipset. 

Unfortunately, if you do opt for the latest Spin 714, you are limited in the available configurations. And by limited, we mean that there is currently only one version that you can pick up today: the Core i5 version paired with 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. But considering this is one of the only Chromebooks that is compatible with Steam Beta, it's just one of those sacrifices that you'll have to make, for now at least.

Thanks to the 12th-gen Intel chips, Acer was able to include Thunderbolt 4 compatibility, something that isn't readily available on many Chromebook models. In our Chromebook Spin 714 review, we found that the 14-inch 2K display is absolutely gorgeous and is one of the best displays on any Chromebook. Plus, the Gorilla Glass trackpad offers an experience that is much different from Acer's norm.

Keychron Q5 with HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook propped in front

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)
The best and most expensive Chromebook

Reasons to buy

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Incredible performance
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Configurable with the latest Intel 12th Gen processors
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The built-in Haptic Trackpad is incredible
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Compatible with Steam Beta, Android games, and cloud game streaming
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Beautiful 3:2 display

Reasons to avoid

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Expensive
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Battery life is a bit disappointing
HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook | Intel Core i5 | 8GB of RAM | 128GB M.2 NVME SSD (opens in new tab)

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook | Intel Core i5 | 8GB of RAM | 128GB M.2 NVME SSD (opens in new tab)

If cost is of no concern and you want the best Chromebook that money can buy, the HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook is the way to go. There are several pre-configured options available, but you can also configure the specs to your liking if you want to add all the horsepower you need.

Unlike some of the other options that you'll find on the list of best gaming Chromebooks, there's nothing about the HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook that screams that it's "for gamers." It's not until you start looking at the different configurations and realize that this is one of the few Chromebooks that is compatible with Steam Beta for ChromeOS. 

There are a few things that help the Dragonfly separate itself from the pack, starting with the haptic trackpad. If you've ever used a MacBook then you'll know what we're talking about, as it doesn't actually move when you click it. Instead, it just uses ChromeOS to emulate a click, ensuring that no matter where you push down on the trackpad, it will register a response.

But what makes this one of the best gaming Chromebooks is the power that's under the hood. There are some pre-configured options available, but if you want the most powerful Chromebook, then you can configure it yourself with Intel's 12th Gen chips, all the way up to the Core i7-1265U and 32GB of RAM. 

The biggest problem with the HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook is the price tag. It's easily one of, if not the, most expensive Chromebook on the market today. Creating your own configuration can end up emptying your wallet pretty darn quickly, leaving you to decide whether you really need all that power, or if one of the other options on this list will be better suited for your needs.

ASUS Chromebook CX9 sitting on desk

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)
Upgrade pick

Reasons to buy

+
Future-proof for gaming and anything else
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14-inch UHD display is stunning
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Built-in fingerprint scanner
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Solid battery life for the size
+
Compatible with Steam Alpha

Reasons to avoid

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Very expensive compared to other options
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No Core i5 model available
ASUS Chromebook CX9 (CX9400) | Intel Core i7-1165G7 | 16GB of RAM | 512GB SSD (opens in new tab)

ASUS Chromebook CX9 (CX9400) | Intel Core i7-1165G7 | 16GB of RAM | 512GB SSD (opens in new tab)

The ASUS Chromebook CX9 might not be powered by Intel's 12th-Gen processors, but it's still using the best 11th-Gen Core i7 chip. This model specifically is also paired with 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD, and you can get the Steam Beta up and running in no time. We just wish it had a convertible, 2-in-1, design instead of a traditional clamshell one.

Those who are looking for the biggest, baddest, and most impressive Chromebook on the market will want to check out the ASUS Chromebook CX9. There is one major caveat that we'll get to later, but the Core i7 version includes 16GB of RAM, 512GB of NVMe storage, and is on Google's shortlist for Steam Alpha compatibility. 

There are different display options available, with ASUS offering either a standard 1920x1080 resolution or a UHD option with 3840x2160 resolution. The UHD resolution might be a bit overkill with a 14-inch display, but there's no denying that it'll look incredible doing any task. ASUS also packed in some extra features including a built-in fingerprint scanner and the ability to turn your trackpad into a number pad if you need to fill out some spreadsheets. 

As we mentioned, there is a catch with the CX9: this is currently one of the most expensive Chromebooks on the market. There are only two configurations available,  a Core i3 or Core i7 version, with ASUS leaving out a Core i5 for some reason. And if you want to spring for the UHD display, it'll cost you a pretty penny compared to the FHD version.

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5i

(Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)
A solid experience

Reasons to buy

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A great all-in-one Chromebook for gaming and productivity
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Dual USB-C ports
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Wi-Fi 6 for faster download speeds
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Compatible with Steam Beta

Reasons to avoid

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Only available with 8GB RAM
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Model with 12th-gen Intel chips is not readily available
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5i | Intel Core i3-1115G4 | 8GB of RAM | 64GB Storage (opens in new tab)

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5i | Intel Core i3-1115G4 | 8GB of RAM | 64GB Storage (opens in new tab)

Technically speaking, there's a newer version of the Chromebook Flex 5i that has been released. However, it's currently unavailable with Intel's 12th-gen chipsets, and the Pentium Gold model isn't sufficient for gaming Chromebooks. Thankfully the Flex 5i powered by 11th-gen Intel chips is still available and chances are, you'll be able to find it on sale.

Lenovo took almost all of the best parts of its Flex 5 Chromebook, re-packaged them, upgraded the processor, and brought back one of the best Chromebooks with the Flex 5i. It's clear that Lenovo knows what it's doing in this space, as the Flex 5i provides an incredible experience, regardless of whether you want to try out Steam Alpha or just play some of the best Android games.

You won't have to pay an arm and a leg for an upgraded processor, but it's not often that the Flex 5i can be found on sale. The keyboard is extremely comfortable to type on, and the display can be flipped over into tent mode if you want to use one of the best Chromebook game controllers. Overall, performance is just solid, and you really couldn't ask for too much more out of one of Lenovo's latest Chromebook offerings. 

One area where we would have liked to see an improvement is in the battery life. The company claims that this Chromebook would offer up to 10 hours, but in our Flex 5i review, we found that it instead lasted about eight hours before we needed to reach for a charger. Nevertheless, this is simply one of the best and most dependable Chromebooks on the market. 

Acer Chromebook 514

(Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)
Enjoy the benefits of Thunderbolt 4

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful display
+
Thunderbolt 4 ports available
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Built-in HDMI port
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Compatible with Steam Beta

Reasons to avoid

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Limited configurations
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Screen could be brighter
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Battery life could be better
Acer Chromebook 514 | Intel Core i5-1135G7 | 8GB of RAM | 128GB SSD (opens in new tab)

Acer Chromebook 514 | Intel Core i5-1135G7 | 8GB of RAM | 128GB SSD (opens in new tab)

Acer's Chromebook 514 doesn't really do anything "special" other than just being an incredibly reliable Chromebook. It features last year's 11th-gen Intel processors, paired with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. But even without the convertible design, you'll still enjoy a gorgeous 14-inch touchscreen display whether you're getting work done or firing up some games.

If you want to get a Acer Chromebook 514 for Steam gaming, you'll need to pay attention. Acer has been dabbling in releases that feature both AMD Ryzen chipsets and Intel processors. So if you want to mess around with the new Steam Alpha, you'll need to make sure that you opt specifically for the Chromebook 514 CB514-1W. Otherwise, your gaming experience will be limited to cloud gaming options and games from the Play Store. 

As for the Chromebook 514 CB514-1W itself, this is just another example of Acer flexing its muscles. The biggest reason why this is further down list compared to the Spin 713 is the display brightness, which maxes out between 200-250 nits. This is fine in most use cases, but if you plan to take this out of your home and game on the go, you likely won't end up having a great time. 

Battery life is another area where we would have liked to see some marked improvement. In our Chromebook 514 review, we found that the battery would tap out around the 8-hour mark, falling short of Acer's claimed 12 hours. But on the bright side, you'll be able to enjoy Thunderbolt 4 so you can connect it to your favorite Chromebook monitor and game on a bigger screen.

Phone Hub open on Chromebook with Galaxy Z Fold 4

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

Acer Chromebook 516 GE

Not just for cloud gaming

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful 16-inch 2560 x 1600 display
+
120Hz refresh rate
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Customizable RGB keyboard
+
Configurable with up to 16GB of RAM and 12th Gen Intel Core i7

Reasons to avoid

-
Only the Intel Core i5 with 8GB of RAM model is currently available
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No touchscreen
Acer Chromebook 516 GE | Intel Core i5-1240P | 8GB of RAM | 256GB SSD (opens in new tab)

Acer Chromebook 516 GE | Intel Core i5-1240P | 8GB of RAM | 256GB SSD (opens in new tab)

The Acer Chromebook 516 GE might be positioned as a cloud gaming-first Chromebook, but it's so much more than that. It sports a 16-inch QHD display with a 120Hz refresh rate, a customizable RGB keyboard, and eventually, we're expecting to see a version released with Intel's 12th-gen Core i7 chip. 

Despite being announced alongside a new push for "cloud gaming on Chromebooks," the Acer Chromebook 516 GE can handle so much more. For one, it sports a beautiful 16-inch display complete with a 120Hz refresh rate and a 2560 x 1600 resolution. The 120Hz refresh rate is notable as there aren't many Chromebooks that can offer more than a 60Hz panel.

And to add to the gamer aesthetic, the Chromebook 516 GE gives users a customizable RGB keyboard, allowing you to pick a specific color or a "predefined 4-zone color option." It's also a nice touch that Acer includes free trials for Amazon Luna+ and NVIDIA GeForce Now to help get your feet wet.

But as soon as you look at the spec sheet, it becomes pretty obvious that the Chromebook 516 GE is capable of handling much more. The base model is powered by Intel's 12th Gen Core i5-1240P paired with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. This puts it right in line with some of the best Chromebooks overall, without needing to worry about an exorbitant price. 

Unfortunately, while Acer confirmed that there will be another model using the Intel Core i7, that version is not currently available. This won't be a problem for most, but we would like to at least have the option for a gaming Chromebook with 16GB of RAM. 

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook closeup on keyboard with RGB

(Image credit: Google)

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook 16

Portable gaming on Chrome OS

Reasons to buy

+
16-inch, WQXGA, 120Hz, 16:10, display
+
Anti-ghosting keyboard with 1.5mm key travel
+
Up to 11 hours of battery life
+
Wi-Fi 6E

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited retailer availability
-
No plans for a Core i7 model
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook 16 | Intel Core i5-1235U | 8GB of RAM | 256GB M.2 NVMe SSD (opens in new tab)

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook 16 | Intel Core i5-1235U | 8GB of RAM | 256GB M.2 NVMe SSD (opens in new tab)

There are actually two versions of the IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook 16 that have been released, but the lower-end Core i3 model is tough to find. Luckily, Lenovo offers the Core i5 version directly from its website, giving you another option if you're looking for one of the best gaming Chromebooks, and one that's compatible with cloud gaming or the Steam Beta program.

Lenovo was also part of the aforementioned announcement regarding Google's new marketing push for cloud gaming on Chromebooks. With the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook 16, you'll find an incredible 16-inch display with a QHD resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. 

And while you'll be able to enjoy your favorite games from the likes of GeForce Now, Xbox Cloud Gaming, and Amazon Luna, the IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook 16 has another trick up its sleeve. The display has been "certified by TÜV Rheinland" as sporting a "low blue light-emitting panel" to help cut down on the eventual eye strain that you'll likely feel after gaming for hours.

Speaking of gaming for hours, this Chromebook will be able to last you through the entire day with relative ease thanks to the 11 hours of battery life. And with Wi-Fi 6E on board, you won't have to worry about being slowed down when playing cloud games or installing Steam games.

The biggest frustration with Lenovo's first gaming Chromebook comes in the configurations that are available. There's an Intel Core i3 option that can be found at only one retailer (Walmart), and if you want to grab the upgraded Intel Core i5 version, you'll have to go directly through Lenovo. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem as though Lenovo has any plans to release a model with the Core i7 processor in tow.

What to look for with the best gaming Chromebooks

Xbox Controller on Acer Chromebook Spin 713 in tablet mode

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

If you were to set out to try and find the best gaming Chromebooks a year ago, the results would likely look much different than they do today. Throughout this roundup, we've made mention of "Steam Beta," which is Google and Valve's attempt to bring true gaming to the Chrome OS platform. 

Steam Beta originated as "Borealis,' which you can see if you go through the steps to actually enable proper Steam gaming on your Chromebook of choice. With this new alpha program from Google, however, the options are fairly limited as to what Chromebooks are currently compatible with. Thankfully, not only did Google provide a list of which Chromebooks you can use, but it also shared a list of the minimum specs. 

  • Intel Iris Xe Graphics
  • Intel Core i3 or higher (11th-gen or 12th gen)
  • AMD Ryzen 3 or higher
  • At least 8GB of RAM

This gives us a pretty good indication of what future Chromebooks will need as a baseline to get Steam up and running. And we've included all of the available options that Google provided in its list. It's why you'll see the Chromebook Spin 714 at the top, while other popular options from the list of best Chromebooks have been omitted.

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks, tablets, and wearables

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.