On Tuesday Razer officially named its "Project Fiona" gaming tablet as the Razer Edge, a powerful machine that crams three platforms – a tablet, PC and gaming console – into one compact form factor. Even more, the device provides four different modes to meet every computing need: multi-touch tablet mode, keyboard dock mode, gameepad controller mode, and docking station mode.
As previously reported, the Razer Edge features the hardware of a desktop/notebook, but the overall thin, portable form factor of a tablet. Even more, it comes packed with Windows 8, meaning it's not your typical Android tablet or even worse, Surface RT which can't even run your favorite Activision or Blizzard titles natively. Razer said it took the Windows 8 route because the company wants customers to take their PC gaming on the go without sacrificing performance or suffering with mediocre ports.
"When we decided to design a tablet from the ground up, we did it to create a phenomenal experience for mobile gamers," said Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder, CEO and creative director. "By combining the best of PC and console gaming with Windows 8, we’ve created a true gaming tablet. Clearly, the critical acclaim and community support the Razer Edge has enjoyed suggests we hit the mark. Now, we get to celebrate the reality of what was formerly a dream with the audience for which this groundbreaking tablet was made."
To make sure the tablet meets the high requirements of PC gamers, the company chose to let those PC gamers – along with the Razer community – select the hardware configuration including the end-game chipset, weight/thickness, features and even the price. The resulting final product actually arrives in two flavors: the standard Razer Edge, and the Razer Edge Pro. Both models will be available sometime in 1Q13, starting at $999 USD.
According to Razer, the Standard model consists of an Intel Core i5 processor, Nvidia's GT640M LE GPU, 4 GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 64 GB SSD. The Pro version features an Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia's GT640M LE GPU, 8 GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 128 GB or 256 GB SSD. That's right: there's no ARM-based processing going on here – it's all Intel and Nvidia, capable of playing PC games like RIFT and Dishonored right off the shelf.
"Gamers are among the most demanding audience when it comes to processor performance. We’re happy to be working with Razer to satisfy those desires by helping build one of the most powerful tablets based on the 3rd gen Intel Core family of products," said Brad Graff, Director of Customer Marketing, Mobile Communications Group at Intel. "The Razer Edge is a testament to what can be achieved with true innovation between industry-leading companies."
In addition to the Razer Edge tablet, the company offers optional accessories including a Keyboard Dock that turns the device into a makeshift gaming laptop. This peripheral supports a removable 40 Wh battery and the traditional USB-based mouse to play your favorite shooter, MMORPG or strategy title. There's also an optional Gamepad Controller that turns the tablet into a mobile console, adding a fully programmable dual controller interface with precise analog sticks and vibration-based feedback.
For those who want the AIO experience, an optional Docking Station makes it part touch-based PC, part touch-based gaming console. The dock serves as a full charging station while also providing an extra three USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI 1.4 port, mic-in and stereo-out. Awesome.
"The Razer Edge tablet in its many forms is designed with ultra-precise accelerometers and a highly-sensitive, multi-touch screen," the company said in a press release on Tuesday. "This provides game developers with fertile new ground for engineering game experiences around the hybrid control capabilities. It also ensures current-generation PC games and those optimized for touchscreens run on the tablet. Future games developed for the Razer Edge are expected to take advantage of the integrated gamepad and functionality controls for the touchscreen and accelerometer-based movements."
Razer said it plans to offer a Razer Edge Pro bundle featuring the Pro model (128 GB or 256 GB SSD) and the Gamepad Controller. We'll get more details on exact pricing as we take a closer look at the tablet this week during CES 2013 in Las Vegas.