ASUS 15.6″ Cloud Gaming Chromebook Review
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What to know before buying
- This is not a Windows gaming laptop, so you can’t install a game like Fortnite directly on this laptop.
- Instead, this Chromebook is optimized to use streaming gaming services like NVIDIA GeForce NOW and Xbox Cloud Gaming. These services typically require a monthly fee, but you may find some free-to-play titles (for example, you can stream and play Fortnite for free with Xbox Cloud Gaming at the time of this writing, but the game offerings can change at any time).
- So while this Chromebook can play games, it requires a fast and stable internet connection in order to do so, as well as an account with a cloud gaming service.
- Check out our guide for more information about gaming on Chromebooks.
The ASUS Cloud Gaming Chromebook (model CX5501) definitely has a more aggressive gaming design compared to most Chromebooks. It has a distinctive look that’s both stylish and functional, with orange WASD keys to help you quickly find the directional keys during online play.
It has a large 15.6-inch 144 Hz Full HD monitor that provides a sharp display for gaming. Being a touch screen, it does have a very reflective surface, making it difficult to use outside or if there is a bright light source or window behind you. The screen can also be folded 360 degrees to use the laptop in tablet mode and to also use it in tent mode, which can be handy when gaming with a controller.
However, at this price point for a Chromebook, I thought that ASUS could have took the design a little further and added RGB lighting effects, for example.
I tested this laptop with Fortnite on the XBox Live Gaming service with a fast Wi-Fi connection on FIOS. Gameplay was surprisingly good, with only a tiny delay between pressing a button on my controller and having the game react. Most of the time, I didn’t even notice the delay.
Graphic quality was also very good and visible on the large 15.6-inch screen, but like any streaming video, there are occasional artifacts and pixelation in the video display while playing. However, I still found Fortnite very playable on this machine. It’s important to remember that gaming quality is very dependent on the quality of your internet connection. For example, if you’re watching a show on Netflix, the video is not actually on your computer; it’s streaming from a remote server, so the video quality is dependent on your internet quality. The same goes for these cloud gaming services.
I was a tester for one of the first Chromebooks, and I’m impressed how far they have come through the years. They are capable machines for those who want something easy for word processing (Google Docs), web browsing and social media (Google Chrome), basic gaming (Android apps), video conferencing (Google Meet), and even some coding (Linux environment and VS Code). Chromebooks are also a lot easier to maintain and install updates compared to Microsoft Windows, and the security protections in place with ChromeOS help protect against a lot of the viruses and malware out there.
This laptop can last up to 10 hours on a single charge and can be recharged via USB-C. The USB-C also allows you to connect it to a monitor for times when you want to game at a desk. I was happy to find that the USB-C connection worked with my Belkin dock, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it will work with every USB-C dock out there.
The ASUS Gaming Chromebook is great if you’re into streaming gaming services, but remember that the games can’t be installed directly on this machine and the gaming quality is highly dependent on your internet connection and requires an account with a cloud gaming provider that supports the Chrome browser. However, it still functions like a normal Chromebook and can be used for web browsing, social media, Google Docs, some Android and Linux apps, and video conferencing.