Razer's Innovative Edge Gaming Tablet Is a Risky Proposition

The Edge offers a lot of gaming power for a tablet, but it requires costly accessories to realize its full potential.

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You've heard it before: "Gaming is everywhere." However, no one's saying that gaming is perfect everywhere. Generally, the form and function of gaming hardware define the types of games that work best. Therefore, it's interesting to see how the recent advent of high-powered tablets has begun to blur the line between stationary and mobile gaming.

Razer's Edge gaming tablet is a perfect example. It's crammed full of modern components, capable enough to support the latest DirectX 11 PC games, and is designed to work in tandem with a slew of accessories tailored for a variety of scenarios. It's slightly larger than most tablets, and definitely more expensive, but that isn't surprising once you realize what's under the hood.

Razer Edge Gaming Tablet
Razer Edge Pro Gaming Tablet
Display
10.1" IPS (1366x768) w/ Multitouch
10.1" IPS (1366x768) w/ Multitouch
CPU
Intel Core i5 Dual Core Base 1.7GHz / Turbo 2.6GHz
Intel Core i7 Dual Core Base 1.9GHz / Turbo 3.0GHz
GPU
Intel HD4000 & NVIDIA GT 640M LE 1GB DDR3
Intel HD4000 & NVIDIA GT 640M LE 2GB DDR3
RAM
4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 @ 1600MHz
8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 @ 1600MHz
Storage
64GB SSD (SATA-III)
128/256GB SSD (SATA-III)
Price
$999.99
$1,299.99 / $1,449.99

These parts, at least in the case of the Pro model Razer supplied for testing, are definitely good enough for gaming. After we put BioShock Infinite through its paces on the high-end Edge, it's obvious that it's possible to generate decent frame rates, but you will have to dial back a few graphical flourishes.

Note: V-Sync was disabled during benchmarking, resulting in the partial and torn frames found in the video below.

Very Low
Low
Medium
High
Very High
Ultra
Ultra + DDOF
72.25 FPS
54.73 FPS
44.57 FPS
38.04 FPS
24.59 FPS
20.13 FPS
17.89 FPS

Now, despite the form factor, the Edge is a full-fledged PC, running Microsoft's tablet friendly Windows 8 OS. Since it's practically infeasible to play most PC games with a touch screen alone, you inevitably need to add inputs to make use of the Edge as a gaming device. It's probably too early in the tablet PC game to expect developers to retroactively update their libraries for a touch screen, after all. In other words, you'll want to pick up one of the three attachments to get the most out of your tablet.

With the full kit, the Edge can be played in the living room, at a desk, and on the go, with support for the sorts of inputs you'd expect. A configurable and unified gaming device is untraditional, but the benefits of a single, portable platform are definitely worth exploring. Unfortunately, getting a taste of Razer's take on this vision doesn't come cheap. The price you pay for the Edge accounts only for the tablet. The keyboard dock (currently unavailable), GamePad, and docking station have to be purchased separately.

Keyboard Dock: $200   /   GamePad Controller: $250   /   Docking Station: $100


The docking station is the cheapest attachment out of the lot at $100, but it provides a lot of useful functionality compared to the more expensive and specialized GamePad controller. First off, it provides a convenient way to charge and mount the tablet. Without the dock, you have to manually connect the slightly awkward power cable and lay the tablet flat. Outside of the obvious benefits, the back of the dock provides an array of useful connections: 3 USB ports, HDMI-out, and 2.5mm audio in and out ports, in addition to the power connection. Compared to the tablet on its own, which provides only a single USB port and 3.5mm audio port, the dock expands the potential of the mighty tablet in a much needed way. Unfortunately, the angle of the tablet while docked is a bit too acute for desktop use without inconveniently wedging something underneath the base.

As you might guess, the HDMI port on the back of the dock makes connecting the Edge to a TV a relatively simple affair. You may need to change a setting or two within Windows to mirror or extend the desktop, but these preferences are saved within the operating system on a per-display basis. Keep in mind, however, that the BioShock benchmark ran at 720p; connecting the Edge to a 1080p display will significantly impact its performance. In this case, it's best to scale back the Edge's output resolution to 720p within Windows.

Once you've got the display hooked up, all that's left to do is connect a Windows-supported USB controller. With an Xbox 360 controller, Steam in Big Picture Mode, and the Edge connected to your TV, you are, in essence, as close to a "Steam Box" as any other configuration on the market today. You also have the benefits of a home theater PC with a touch-screen interface. With the additional USB ports, display connectivity, and convenient charging setup, the dock seems to be a must-buy accessory for an Edge owner. One caveat: unless you attach an Ethernet to USB adapter, you're limited to Wi-Fi connectivity out of the box.

At $250, the GamePad controller adapter isn't as easy to recommend. When the Edge was simply known as the "Project Fiona" concept design, the hallmark feature was the dual analog controller built into the chassis. The attraction was, and still is with the Edge's GamePad, a mobile PC gaming device with tried-and-true controls at the ready. Truly, you only need to snap the Edge into the GamePad controller's chassis, and you have access to the equivalent of an Xbox 360 controller, with an added pair of shoulder buttons to boot. You also get a bit of extended battery life (and heft) with the optional $69, 2800mAh battery back on the inside of the GamePad. Considering that the Edge's stock battery barely lasts two hours while gaming, the extra juice might be worth investing in.

In theory, the GamePad controller should make mobile PC gaming a reasonable activity, and technically, it does. However, there are a few complications that make it less than ideal. For starters, the Edge tablet, weighty enough at 2.1 pounds, becomes a truly beefy device when the GamePad comes into play, topping off at 4.16 pounds (4.86 with the AC adapter). If you're sitting in a chair with comfortable armrests, the weight becomes less of an issue. Otherwise, it's nearly infeasible to support the weight of the devices and also play at your best for an extended period of time. The remarkable weight makes focusing your dexterity on the controls an issue, and the form of the grips doesn't do the Edge any favors either. Are the handles OK? Yes, but they aren't comfortable. Where the handles are completely straight, most controllers are bowed outward to accommodate the form of the controller in relation to our bodies. In the end, the GamePad is too large, slightly uncomfortable, and far too expensive to recommend.

The Edge is an interesting product; it's a transformable device that is, in theory, many things at once. It can handle modern PC games reasonably well without succumbing to the bottom-of-the-barrel settings, so far as the Pro model is concerned. The dock provides an elegant solution for connecting a PC to your TV or home theater, while also expanding the raw functionality and overall usefulness of the core tablet. There's not as much to be optimistic about regarding the controller, and that, along with its high cost, deflates the Edge's desirability as a mobile PC gaming device.

It's true that the Edge's performance is a bit under par given the relative cost of each model, but it's rare to see so much power in such a small package. Ultimately, its value comes down to your needs. For the casual player with an interest in tablets, it's hard to recommend the Edge. If you're the sort of player who usually uses a console, the Edge won't provide a significant enough leap in performance to justify the cost of the four, or more, current-gen consoles it takes to get there.

However, if you're a dedicated PC user with a dated rig, a burning desire for a tablet, and a console-like connection to your TV, then the cost of the Edge and the dock connector looks a bit less absurd. It solves all of the aforementioned issues in one fell swoop. The problem exists when you already own the devices the Edge is supposed to replace. If the Edge came with every one of its planned accessories, at the same base cost, it would make more people think twice before brushing it off. For now, investing in an Edge is recommended only if you have money to burn, and the need for such a convertible, all-in-one device.

Discussion

402 comments
Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith

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Ben Colvin
Ben Colvin

I feel like they should just sell a controller attatchment for tablets so it will be cheaper.

Courtawulf
Courtawulf

I think the big problem is that there is little reason for this to exist. Most games that are designed to be played "on the go" are developed to run on the average tablet, so why not just buy that? Sure you can play bioshock infinite on it, but do you really want to? Such a large and involved game doesn't seem like it would be much fun playing during a morning comute or while waiting for your coffee. Sure it might be a neat thing to have on a plane or something, but it is likely just going to turn into a conversation piece.

And hey, if nothing else you can buy it as a 5lb isometric muscle builder. 

fursecu
fursecu

maaaan, gaming on 10'' is brutal..i tell you that..

gonna buy me one just to play angry birds

Timothy Hage
Timothy Hage

Uh is this a April fools joke. Not funny.(and no it's not worth it)

Charles Payne
Charles Payne

All you saying it isent worth it, dont forget we got laptops that cost more then that like the acer ultrathin with a i3 cpu and intel 4000 and only 3gb of ddr3 also a 10" screen, And thay sell for like £1300.

Paul Bastin
Paul Bastin

My issue is that it doesn't do anything new that my existing gaming PC and tablet don't already do and it will of course handle both tasks worse. It won't please people who already have PC's and tablets, it won't coax in newcomers looking to get into both, I can't see who this device is supposed to be for.

Getsu Moon
Getsu Moon

640m geforce 8 gb 1.90 +1.90 ghz 8 cpu totAlly worth it cheaper than sony things

shanakar
shanakar

I can guarantee you that its not worth the money. The only good thing going on it is the fact that it has an i7 processor and the nVidia video card. For $999 you get a 64gb ssd drive. Seriously? You only have about 28gb free space available after windows and all its junk take what they need. Not to mention all the other stuff you need to install yourself. So expect about 20gb of available space to install and play your games. I bought a new Samsung Slate 7 with the i5 processor and 4gb ram for $650 bucks. Paid another $200 for a 256gb mSata SSD drive, opened the unit up, took the old drive out, put the new drive in, and voila, 256gb hard drive unit for $850 instead of $1499.00. They show games like Civilization 5 and Call of Duty and so on running on this and while its all nice and well, I don't know anyone who's going to be carrying such a clunky thing just to play a game. My Slate 7 is like .5 of an inch.


Not to mention, this is the first of its kind coming out, so it will no doubt be riddled with bugs and issues. I rather wait a year or two to see what comes out to compete with it when companies have far better knowledge of these types of peripherals. I like many would love to be able to play games on the move, I play Torchlight 2 and Runes of Magic and Spellforce series on my Samsung Slate without issues. So in the long term, these will be great, but I think its too early to get into one that is made by a company that has a bad track record with its computer peripherals.

Christian Tobi
Christian Tobi

currently has no worthy games, good games are only japan

Christian Tobi
Christian Tobi

I'll stick with my N3ds and then build a super rig

Roy Spooner
Roy Spooner

$300 is a great target price because no one is buying this thing for $1000. razor is out of it's damn mind. Good luck finding a sucker in this economy.

Xone Lifeless
Xone Lifeless

$1000? I'll... hmm... $200 into retail games, $200 into MMOs, $500 for a new graphic card, $100 for life. Oh wait, I don't have a life. Regardless, much better than waste $1000 in a gimmick device that people will think I'm an alien if I use it at public locations.

Jordan Green
Jordan Green

Looks really good mihgt get one instead of a whole gaming setup ????

Gil Rybak
Gil Rybak

no its not worth it, and its a stupid idea. sorry for being mean, but you honestly cant play games like crysis, battlefield 3 and the others they advertise while waiting at the doctors or something. Thats why nintendo and many of the app games excel. Most are fun, and can be quick pick up and go experiences. Which is why the psp failed a bit (also lack of games but still). I feel like it will take a long time for devs to understand that time and time again, people have showed they don't want full blown console experiences on the go (no matter how much they say). And for all the people saying you could play it at home, why don't you just use your pc/console if you are already at home? and 1 hour battery life? come on!

Allie Jongeward
Allie Jongeward

or you could build a pc with that money. not worth it!

Khanh Le
Khanh Le

No, I will spend 300 for a console and 300 for a smartphone. Then 400 left for maybe a tablet. Why buy this?

elegance89
elegance89

Not sure about you guys, but anyone else think this just looks a bit...clunky? Awkward? Don't get me wrong I love the concept, but for mobile gaming I'm happy to just play my psp and gameboy colour (pokeomon red anyone?) and leave the heavy grunt work for my gaming PC at home.

Kenneth Te
Kenneth Te

The more suitable price would be around $250.00

Kraig Morgasm
Kraig Morgasm

Pffft! What a rip off! I would rather have a wiiU ... And that doesnt even have any games

abdoalwaer
abdoalwaer

@Jonathan Lahey I beg the differ , I could never go back to the graphics and the FPS on PS3 after I bought my gaming PC .(and for the record , I could build a gaming PC for about $600 tops.)