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Hands-on: Razer Edge is a Whole New Class of Device

The Razer Edge is a whole new class of device. That's what I told the team after spending some hands-on time with the Windows 8 Pro gaming tablet during a private showing Wednesday night. Just like the Oculus Rift which we saw in another private showing just two hours later, I expected to be blown away by Razer's new product, and I wasn't disappointed whatsoever.

We've covered the hardware specs for quite some time, so there's no need to really re-hash the subject. But as a brief recap, the Core i5-based Razer Edge will start at $999 and the Core i7-based Razer Edge Pro will start at $1299. Both run Windows 8 Pro, and feature Nvidia's GT640M LE GPU, a USB 3.0 port, SSD-based storage and more.

The Razer Edge is seemingly a re-imagining of a mid-range all-in-one (AIO) PC, sporting enough x86-based horsepower under its 10-inch screen to cough up 59fps in Bethesda's Dishonored using the default settings and a 1366 x 768 resolution. The Razer Edge isn't iPad thin, and its form factor reminded me of the first Kindle Fire, only substantially larger.

In an AIO scenario, Razer shoved the Edge in the optional $80 dock and attached a Razer gaming keyboard and mouse. Dishonored played just as one would expect if it were running on an actual desktop, whereas the Razer Edge unit slapped into the optional $250 gamepad attachment proved more challenging based on the fact that users must move and "mouselook" using thumbsticks instead – console junkies should feel right at home.

That said, the Razer Edge was again surprisingly light even when crammed into the gamepad accessory. Holding the device felt similar to holding a gaming steering wheel with straight handles rather than curved ones, but fatigue could possibly set in after a few hours of play (it's not a Nintendo 3DS, after all). That's where the optional docking station comes into play.

With the tablet docked in front of an HDTV, gamers can dial up a USB or Bluetooth-based gamepad and forgo the handheld solution altogether. However one of my biggest beefs with the tablet thus far is a lack of a native HDMI output port on the tablet itself – this feature is only available through the dock, thus pushing customers to tack on another $$80 on top of their original tablet purchase.

All in all, we were impressed with the Razer Edge based on the little time we had to fondle the device. The $200 keyboard dock won't be out until 3Q13, and there was mention that it may undergo a few changes before it hits the market. But all else displayed in Razer's private showing was pure excellence -- probably one of the best devices shown at CES this year.

We look forward to getting our hands on the device again to do a thorough review (with benchmarks) at a later date.

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