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Razer Edge: Hands-On With The x86 Gaming Tablet At CES 2013

Razer's Edge: The Tablet And Accessories

At 0.8" thick, the Edge is decidedly, well, substantial. In comparison, Samsung's first Atom-based Windows 8 design, which we reviewed in Samsung's ATIV Smart PC 500T: An Atom-Based Windows 8 Tablet, is .87" thick with its optional docking station attached, and that pretty much makes it a full-blown laptop. The Edge is .8" without any sort of keyboard attachment. 

Moreover, weighing in at two pounds, the Edge is half of a pound heavier than a bare Microsoft Surface. At least it's lighter than the aforementioned ATIV Smart PC 500T with its dock, which is a portly 3.2-pound combination. I still found the Edge to be easy to handle, and certainly not arduous to grasp in one hand.

Perhaps the most valid comparison at this point would be the forthcoming Surface Pro from Microsoft. Also two pounds-heavy, armed with a third-gen Core CPU, and a 10-point touchscreen, the Surface's biggest advantages are a higher 1920x1080 resolution and a .53" thickness. Even with a Type Cover, it'll be thinner than Razer's Edge. But the Surface Pro doesn't have discrete graphics. So, even if the Edge's 40 Wh battery drains quickly in 3D applications, it at least gives you the option to tear it up in your favorite titles. The Surface Pro's HD Graphics 4000 engine isn't up to the same task.

Razer leveraged crowd-sourcing to decide which specifications the Edge needed to make it desirable. The company tells us its customers suggested they'd tolerate two times the weight and thickness of an iPad, and it beat the three-pound, one-inch ceiling by a notable margin.

Company representatives didn't have much to tell us about the Edge's audio subsystem, but we found it surprisingly capable for a tablet. We put some of our music through it and were able to crank the volume without causing distracting distortion.

How about the accessories? No doubt you've already seen the Edge's Gamepad Controller attachment that enables what Razer calls Mobile Console Mode, featuring two analog sticks, 12 buttons, and vibration feedback. The attachment adds $250 to the price of an Edge.

The Gamepad Controller was integrated into the Project Fiona concept, so we're a little disappointed that you don't get it bundled with the tablet, particularly since Razer is already charging more than Microsoft for a device that largely relies on its gaming acumen as a competitive advantage.

The Docking Station (enabling Home Console Mode) arms the Edge with a stand, three USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI 1.4 output, and audio I/O for an additional $100.

Keep in mind that the Edge, on its own, doesn't have integrated video output, so the docking station is an important addition if you want to use the tablet in a living room environment.

The Keyboard Dock turns the Edge into a notebook of sorts, though it won't be available until Q3'13.

Razer says its design isn't final, so we don't want to critique it at this stage. We will say that it's easy to type on, and that it'll have its own separate price tag.

Razer plans to sell an extended 40 Wh battery pack, designed to be used with the Gamepad Controller or the Keyboard Dock, that the company says will extend standard use by up to eight hours or gaming by up to two hours. The battery pack currently shows up on Razer's site for $50.

All told, you're looking at a number of expensive add-ons to an already-pricey piece of hardware (and we haven't even mentioned the $300 extended warranty yet). Razer positions the Edge as a tablet, a gaming laptop (with the Keyboard Dock), a mobile console (with the Gamepad Controller), and an entertainment-oriented PC (with the Docking Station). Without spending big, though, the Edge is a tablet. It's a fast tablet with powerful-enough hardware to play games at 1366x768, but it's still a tablet.

The Gamepad Controller looks like it'd be nice to have for sims or certain RPGs. But just as you'll see Chris Angelini point out about Nvidia's Shield, it's hard to imagine playing first-person shooters with analog sticks. In my opinion, the $100 docking station is the only accessory that you really need to have. Add a Bluetooth-capable keyboard and mouse, and you can use the Edge as a small gaming PC. Hook up an external monitor or attach a TV via HDMI. Connect an Xbox 360-style controller, and you have a game console. 

You do pay for that versatility. A dedicated gaming laptop with a 1920x1080 screen and big graphics hardware can be found for less than the Edge with all of its accessories (an MSI GX60 comes with a Radeon HD 7970M and sells for $1,200). Fortunately, it sounds like Razer is considering bundle packages that might soften the blow of its pricing structure, including an Edge Pro package that includes the Gamepad Controller for $1,500.

  • mayankleoboy1
    But as with most innovative ideas, I'm more excited about what the Edge might become in a couple of generations as Intel and Nvidia further improve performance at lower power ceilings.

    Precisely. And this is why Razer Edge is going to fail on release.
    Reply
  • obsama1
    It would have been better if they had waited and put in a Haswell CPU in it.
    Reply
  • roninx
    I'm a gamer, and I do a lot of business travel, so the Edge appeals to me for use on airline flights. My only concerns are about the battery life and whether its comfortable to hold with the game controller for extended periods of time.

    I wonder whether someone could build a device that was only a 7" or 10" screen attached to a game controller with HDMI and USB connections. Combine that with a gaming laptop and a huge battery that could fit in a laptop case under the seat in front of you. Then you would get both light weight and extending gaming time. Obviously, you're not going to fit an M18x down there, but something like a W110ER with a 200 watt-hour battery could work nicely.
    Reply
  • DarkSable
    Hmm. I'd never, never buy one of these, but I sincerely hope it succeeds.

    Why? Simple. If it does, then there will be more people wanting to play split screen games on the windows OS. That means that there will be more of said games made, which means I win.
    Reply
  • I dont understand. Is the batterylife extended with 2 hours gaming with the additional batterypack, or is it extended with one hour of gaming?

    Both batterys are the same size, but all reports about batterylife says different things.
    Usually its 1-2hours of gaming with 6-8 hours non gaming tablet use.
    But does this mean 2-4 hours of gaming and 12-14 hours of normal use with the extended battery pack, or does it mean 30 minutes to one hour of gaming and 3-4 hours of normal use without the extra battery?

    I also want to know how easy it is to pause the game, pop out the tablet from the mobile controller dock, change battery in the dock, and pop the tablet back.
    If this is easy to do, and if the batterylife of one battery is 1-2 hours of gaming and 6-8 normal use, i will not see batterylife as a problem. I will just buy some extra batteries for 5-10 hours of gaming and 30 - 40 hours of tablet use. But i will skip this machine if batterylife of one battery is 30min -1 hour of gaming, and instead hope others will buy and wait for the second generation razer edge.
    Reply
  • sna
    I like it .. and all people who say negative things about it , like Battery life , and wait for next CPU .. wake UP

    this thing STILL HAS HD4000 , and you CAN shutdown the 640M GPU , and use the HD4000 for battery life like any tablet in the market.

    and when there is a POWER source near you ... plug it and use the 640M , like in Trains , Planes , etc ...

    but I tell you somthing , some people who "want it" and cat have it , are ....
    Reply
  • cleeve
    Gabriel TardeI dont understand. Is the batterylife extended with 2 hours gaming with the additional batterypack, or is it extended with one hour of gaming?
    Depends on the game.

    But demanding games will be 1 hour of battery life out of the package, and 2 hours with the extended battery.
    Reply
  • cknobman
    CleeveDepends on the game. But demanding games will be 1 hour of battery life out of the package, and 2 hours with the extended battery.
    Sorry but that is just not going to cut it especially for the mobile gaming market (which what this appears to be targeting).

    This is a great idea but technology and pricing just are not quite there yet. This needs to be capable of gaming on the standard batter for ~3hours and they need to be able to package the thing with the gaming dock for $1000
    Reply
  • cleeve
    cknobmanThis is a great idea but technology and pricing just are not quite there yet. This needs to be capable of gaming on the standard batter for ~3hours and they need to be able to package the thing with the gaming dock for $1000
    Sounds like our conclusion. :)
    Reply
  • lordravage
    "the Edge drove Uncharted at 1920x1080 with no performance issues."

    Did I read correctly that you were playing Uncharted on a PC?
    Reply