This $1,000 HP Chromebook is actually WORSE than Acer's new $600 Chromebook

Best Laptops 2023: HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook
(Image credit: Future)

When I reviewed the $500 Acer Chromebook 516 GE, I didn't expect much from it. Everything about it is mid, which is par for the course for a laptop in its price range. However, if I'm going to shell out 1,000 smackeroos, it better be worth every penny.

That being said, imagine my surprise when I dove into a comparative analysis between the $499 Acer Chromebook 516 GE and the $1,000 Dragonfly Pro Chromebook — and found that the latter is actually worse than the former in several benchmarks.

Many have called HP out for rolling out an overpriced Chromebook, including our very own Editor-in-Chief Sherri L. Smith, Monica Chin from The Verge, and more, but it really hit me how ridiculous the pricing is when it cannot even compete with a $600 Chrome OS machine.

The Chromebook 516 GE crushed the HP Chromebook in performance

Before I dive into the performance scores the Acer Chromebook 516 GE and HP Dragonfly Chromebook delivered on our testing, let's get into their internals.

The Acer Chromebook review unit we tested came with the following specs:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-1240P
  • GPU; Intel Iris Xe graphics
  • Memory: 8GB of RAM
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Display: 16-inch, 2560 x 1600 pixels

Acer Chromebook 516 GE

Acer Chromebook 516 GE (Image credit: Future)

Our HP Chromebook came packed with the following components:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-1235U 
  • GPU; Intel Iris Xe graphics
  • Memory: 16GB of RAM
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Display: 13.5-inch, 2256 x 1504 pixels

HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook review: The Pixelbook successor

HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook review (Image credit: Future)

At a quick glance, it's no wonder the Chromebook 516 GE bested the HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook in performance. It's packed with a P-series chip (indicated by the letter "P" in its CPU name), which means it delivers a bit more "oomph" in its processing compared to the U-series chip (also known as an "ultra-low power" processor) inside the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook.

The chip inside the Acer Chromebook also has more cores and threads (12 cores and 16 threads vs. 10 cores and 12 threads) compared to Intel Core i5-1245U-packed HP Chromebook. As such, the $499 Acer Chromebook can roll out more simultaneous calculations compared to the $1,000 HP Chromebook.

Why is the $499 Chromebook packing a more powerful CPU than the $1,000 HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook? It has a different target audience. The former is targeting cloud gamers seeking the best premium experience they can squeeze out of a Chromebook. As for HP — well — maybe they're targeting consumers who enjoy setting a $1,000 on fire?

Overall performance scores

The Chromebook 516 GE delivered a Geekbench 5 multi-core score of 8,077, but the Dragonfly Chromebook fell short with a measly score of 5,246. Yikes!

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 Acer Chromebook 516 GEHP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook
Geekbench 4.38,0775,246
JetStream 2.0256.18.213.7

Web browsing scores

To test web browsing, we whipped out the JetStream 2.0 test. Unfortunately for the HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook, it further proved that it is not worth its $1,000 price tag by delivering a lousy score of 252.68. The Acer Chromebook 516 GE, on the other hand, outpaced it with a score of 256.18.

Bottom line

Of course, there are areas where the HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook bests the Acer Chromebook 516 GE. For example, it has a battery life of 9 hours and 17 minutes, which isn't that great for a $1,000 Chromebook, but it's better than the 7 hours and 40 minutes you get out of the Chromebook 516 GE.

The HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook has an ultrabright display. In fact, it is nearly four times brighter with its 1,276-nit display. The dim Acer Chromebook has a disappointing 346-nit screen, but of course, that's expected from a $600 laptop. The Dragonfly Pro Chromebook's display also takes up more of the DCI-P3 color space compared to the Acer Chromebook, but the difference is negligible (77.8% vs. 75.8%).

Another plus is that the HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook has a rare, but stunning 8MP webcam, which is quite refreshing considering the 720p and 1080p shooters that we often disappointingly see on laptops.

Still, the HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook is grossly overpriced. Perhaps the Acer Chromebook 516 GE (currently on sale at Best Buy for $499) might be a better deal.

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Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!