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Best Chromebook for gaming 2023

We take a gander at the best gaming Chromebook models currently available
Last Updated on June 14, 2023

If you want to know the best Chromebook for gaming in 2023, we’ve got the best picks for you below, plus everything you need to know about gaming on a Chromebook and what it entails before you make your purchase.

If you’re interested in Android gaming, you can basically play Android games on any Chromebook, but below we’ll be discussing Chromebooks that can actually run the games you can play on a Windows machine (at least some of them anyway). Let’s dive right in!

Products at a Glance

Our Recommended

Best Chromebook for gaming 2023

  • Very powerful CPU & iGPU for a Chromebook
  • 16GB RAM
  • 512GB SSD storage
  • Touchscreen
  • Very good keyboard
  • Thin & lightweight
  • Great build quality
  • MicroSD card creader
  • Very expensive for a Chromebook
  • Speakers & webcam could be better
  • Battery duration suffers due to powerful components

The ASUS Chromebook CX9 comes with the sort of processor that you’d more typically find in a Windows laptop. The Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU with Intel Xe iGPU graphics might not be powerful by gaming laptop standards, but these are (almost) the most hard-hitting core components you’ll find in a Chromebook and are complimented by 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a 512GB SSD – again, both very non-typical but ideal for gaming. Although it doesn’t quite win out in terms of its processor power compared to our second pick, the 16GB of RAM gives it the edge when playing games as it simply lets you play more of them. This does unfortunately increase the price well beyond what you’d normally pay for Chromebook, however if you’re looking to game using Steam on ChromeOS, this is the best option out there.

The machine is built to a military grade standard of durability, including the 180 degree hinge on the display, which als0 has touch screen functionality. The 60Hz screen has decent color, replication, great contrast, and a solid 366 nits peak brightness. Although the speakers and webcam aren’t the best quality, the keyboard and touchpad are both great and a pleasure to use – with the chassis of the laptop also raising upwards to improve both the typing angle and airflow for cooling.

The port selection is good, including a microSD card reader, and despite having the most powerful components on this page the CX9 is exceptionally light at 2.54 lbs, with nice and thin dimensions.

Battery duration (when battery saving mode is enabled and brightness reduced to 50%) is a bit disappointing for a Chromebook at around 7-8 hours, but this is still okay by normal laptop standards.

  • The most powerful CPU & iGPU you'll see in a Chromebook
  • 120Hz display
  • 1600p resolution
  • Very good port selection incl. ethernet
  • 8GB RAM cap

As you can probably guess from the name the Acer Cloud Gaming Chromebook 516 GE is specifically geared towards gaming, and not just cloud gaming services – it’s quite capable of running Steam for ChromeOS thanks to its 12th Gen Intel 12-Core i5-1240P (plus Intel Iris Xe graphics) – which is the most powerful option you’ll see in a Chromebook in terms of single and multi-core processing.

On top of this it comes with a 120Hz maximum refresh rate on the high-res 1600p display – a rare sight on Chromebooks and one which certainly gives it the edge for competitive shooters when cloud gaming. The reality is you’re unlikely to reach this FPS if you’re running games with the device’s hardware using Steam for ChromeOS or something similar, but as you use the hardware of a remote gaming PC when cloud gaming this is certainly possible (providing your internet is sufficiently good).

Besides this it’s got a solid selection of ports including an ethernet socket for that all-important ethernet connection when cloud gaming. The only real downside of this machine is the 8GB RAM cap, which limits its ability to play some more demanding games on Steam for ChromeOS.

  • Fairly strong CPU & iGPU for a Chromebook
  • 512GB SSD storage
  • 2-in-1 convertible form-factor
  • Good build quality
  • Speakers could be better
  • Fans get noisy under stress
  • 8GB RAM cap

The 14″ Acer Chromebook Spin 714 is the latest iteration in a line that has previously included the 13.5″ Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (another solid high-end pick) and this version offers an Intel 12th gen CPU along with the classic 2-in-1 convertible design that lets you transition between laptop and tablet form-factors.

The particular version we’ve picked comes with 512GB of SSD storage (very welcome for gamers), along with an Intel Core i5-1235U and Intel Iris iGPU – not as powerful as our two top picks, but still a respectable performer. Unfortunately for gamers you only get 8GB of RAM in this Chromebook, but this is the standard cap for nearly every Chromebook device, so we can’t really complain too much – ultimately it will still run non-demanding games on the lowest settings that don’t require more than 8GB of memory (which is quite a few).

Although the Spin 713 comes with a 2K screen option, we’ve picked this 1200p variant of the newer model as it’s a better option for gaming on if you’re relying on the core components to actually run the games – as in Steam for ChromeOS rather than using Cloud services. The screen refresh rate is capped at a maximum of 60Hz, as in our top pick.

Although the quality of the speakers is again a bit lacking and the fans can get a bit noisy under stress, thee overall build quality is sturdy, including the 2-in-1 hinge (generally a week point) and it’s nice and portable. Battery life at half brightness will extend to around 9 hours, which is okay, if not particularly good for a Chromebook. Still, this is a nice looking, premium Chromebook machine that you can definitely games on.

  • Fairly strong Intel CPU & iGPU option for a Chromebook
  • 120Hz display
  • 1600p resolution
  • Great battery life
  • Good port selection
  • eMMC storage
  • ARM Cortex variants not powerful enough for Steam on ChromeOS
  • 8GB RAM cap

This Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook is very similar to the Acer Cloud gaming Chromebook reviewed above (providing you pick up the right loadout), however only has eMMC storage and the Intel Core i5-1235U, whilst decent, isn’t quite as powerful as the option in the Acer machine.

However, it does have considerably superior battery life: hitting above 12 hours on battery saver mode at half battery, which is impressive indeed considering the CPU and the display.

Onto that display, you once again get a 1600p 120Hz screen, ideal for cloud gaming at high FPS. The port selection is decent, although once again you’re capped at 8GB or memory which can limit your ability to play certain games on Steam for ChromeOS.

Finally, be aware that much less powerful ARM Cortex variants exist of these machines that are often confusingly labelled as Intel – these Chromebooks will not be compatible with Steam for ChromeOS and aren’t recommended as gaming Chromebooks.

What to think about when shopping for the best Chromebook for gaming in 2023

Gaming ‘on-system’ on Chromebooks vs cloud gaming on Chromebooks

Besides low-demand Android gaming (as discussed above) the two main methods of playing the kind of games you might on a Windows laptop are either: 1. on the laptop itself, using the processor, integrated graphics (dedicated graphics cards are still unheard of for Chromebooks, almost by definition), RAM and storage to install and play the game, or 2. via the cloud – essentially streaming your game from a proper gaming PC/server, only really using the display on your Chromebook and heavily relying on your internet connection / bandwidth for a smooth experience.

Obviously the first of these is heavily limited by the hardware of Chromebooks, but there are some non-demanding games you can run solely using the components of the more powerful Chromebooks. The downside of the second option is that you have to pay for a subscription to a cloud gaming service (such as GeForce Now, Xbox Cloud Gaming, PlayStation Plus, Amazon Luna etc.).

Steam on ChromeOS

There are various methods you can use to install Steam on a Chromebook, including by installing Ubuntu/Linux and then the Linux version of Steam. The easiest way however to play games using your Chromebook’s hardware is via Steam on ChromeOS, which is now in beta.

You can read more about what games you can run on Steam on ChromeOS on the dedicated page, but beware that although games like Fallout 4, The Witcher 3, and Skyrim are listed with the caveat ‘playable on low settings with 16GB RAM’, this is pretty optimistic in our opinion, and it’s much more like/viable that you will be playing less demanding titles.

The most up-to-date list of Steam on ChromeOS supported devices are as follows:

  • Acer Chromebook 514 (CB514-1W)
  • Acer Chromebook 515 (CB515-1W)
  • Acer Chromebook 516 GE
  • Acer Chromebook Spin 514 (CP514-3H, CP514-3HH, CP514-3WH)
  • Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (CP713-3W)
  • Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (CP714-1WN)
  • Acer Chromebook Vero 514
  • ASUS Chromebook CX9 (CX9400)
  • ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5 (CX5500)
  • ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5 (CX5601)
  • ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX55 Flip
  • Framework Laptop Chromebook Edition
  • HP Elite c640 14 inch G3 Chromebook
  • HP Elite c645 G2 Chromebook
  • HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook
  • HP Pro c640 G2 Chromebook
  • IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook 16
  • Lenovo 5i-14 Chromebook
  • Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook 14
  • Lenovo ThinkPad C14

Best Chromebook for gaming FAQs

Can you play games on a Chromebook?

Besides very non-demanding Android titles, you can play some ‘proper’ games on a Chromebook by installing them on the machine itself, assuming you have sufficiently powerful core components and the game is both undemanding and supported on ChromeOS, however its generally not a straightforward undertaking.

Cloud gaming on a Chromebook is generally more advisable and there’s a much wider variety you can play, however it requires a subscription paying and a good internet connection.

Can you play Steam games on Chromebook?

You can play Steam games on a Chromebook via Linux or through Steam on ChromeOS which is now in beta, although the number of titles are limited relative to the Windows version.

Our Verdict

The ASUS Chromebook CX9 is one of the most powerful Chromebooks we’ve seen with, with 16GB of RAM, and therefore the best for gaming using Steam on ChromeOS. However if you’re looking for the best Chromebook for cloud gaming, then the 120Hz Acer Cloud Gaming Chromebook 516 GE (2023) is the best choice and comes with the most powerful CPU, even if it is limited by 8GB of RAM. If neither of these have the power you’re looking for, we recommend taking a look at our best gaming laptop page instead, or our best Ultrabook guide if you’re looking for a thin and light Windwos machine more suited to general work.