Like many PC gamers, I have often wanted a computer that could pack the power of a gaming rig into a portable device. Gaming laptops are very beautiful and have their place, but that place is often on a desk. After a week of using Razer's new Edge gaming tablet, I realized I really wanted to play Bioshock Infinite in the bathroom without burning my thighs. Everyone hails Razer, the liberator of dreams.
Razer's only verification guidelines before shipping a Razer Edge rental unit was that I don't tell them I used it in the bathroom. I'm a review policy freedom fighter, deep in the trenches, pants around my ankles, balancing a $ 1,499 gaming tablet on the side of the tub before moving it to a less secluded front. And why not? I don't have to stop playing until the batteries run out.
Razer first introduced the Edge in early 2012 as a strange looking tablet / controller hybrid with handles on both sides that contain buttons and analog sticks. It looked pretty ridiculous, but there were promises. I was pretty sure it would never come true – a pipe dream.
Still, Razer stuck with it and used the PC gamers in its community to create a gaming tablet that delivered everything they wanted at a reasonable price. A year after its debut, the design was completed. The Razer Edge was a real thing and was coming soon.
There are two models of the Razer Edge. The lower model costs $ 999 and sounds like a powerful system. It has an Intel Core i5 instead of an i7, less memory, and only 64GB of storage, but I can see it does the job as long as you don't want to load too many games on it at once.
The device I've played on is the beefier Razer Edge Pro for $ 1449. Here's what's inside:
|Intel Core i7 Dual Core with Hyper-Threading
Base 1.9 GHz / Turbo 3.0 GHz
|8 GB DDR3 (2 x 4 GB 1600 MHz)|
|Intel HD4000 (DX11)
NVIDIA GT 640M LE (2 GB DDR3, Optimus technology)
|10.1 inches (IPS, 1366 x 768)
Multi-touch HD display
|128/256 GB SSD (SATA-III)|
|Intel WLAN (802.11b / g / n + BT4)|
Codec supports 7.1 (via HDMI via the optional docking station)
HD webcam (front facing, 2MP)
Dolby home theater v4
USB 3.0 x1 (green, SuperSpeed)
Audio jack (3.5 mm, 4-pin, stereo output / microphone input)
|Approximate size: 278.5mm x 178.85mm x 19.5mm / 10.9 "x 7" x 0.80 "
Approximate weight: 962 g
It's a pill!
It's a rectangle as one would have expected. The design is reminiscent of the Razer Blade laptop, which uses the same metal for the back and the damn glowing squid thing. It's about as thick as a closed Nintendo 3DS XL and about as big as it looks in this size comparison picture I made with everyday household items (i.e. in my household).
It's more powerful than your average tablet, but it's nice to hold something. It feels pretty solid, and at just over two pounds, it has weight without putting any strain on the hands that are used to comfortably resting on gaming mice.
The 10.1-inch IPS display is as bright and clear as a sunny day. Just don't take it outside on a sunny day or you won't see anything. This is not a picnic device unless it's the most depressing picnic ever. With the Razer Edge Pro, I valued my back deck as a place not to play the new Devil May Cry.
The screen resolution is 1366 x 768, which seems low to someone used to nothing less than a 1920 x 1080 HD monitor, but then you're not holding a 1920 x 1080 HD monitor inches away from your face. At least you shouldn't. This is a good resolution for the screen size and means the device's graphics card won't have to work quite as hard.
Thanks to the fame of the AT&T internet in a new apartment, downloading my normal series of benchmarking games was out of the question, especially since I'd wasted a good several hours downloading Transformers: Fall of Cybertron because I was in some sort of Transformers -The mood was. If I did that again I would buy a USB cable adapter for charging. The Edge's WiFi isn't slow, but nothing works over a cable.
What I used for benchmarks instead were two new games, Bioshock Infinite and the latest Tomb Raider, both of which were so considerate that they included benchmarks built in.
Out of habit I tried both games first with the highest possible graphics preset. The ultra setting wasn't that great for either game – not that I expected it to be. Nevertheless, an average of 17 frames per second are playable for both titles, just not very playable.
Turning it all the way down (you can turn it all the way down) to medium settings brought both titles to a nice average of 56 to 60 frames per second (I even remembered turning off vertical sync). It's not only playable, it's also really fun, at least as long as it lasts.
Battery life and configurations
The Razer Edge uses low-power Intel graphics to handle daily Windows 8 tablet chores, and I'd assume the battery life will be okay for these, but there are dozens of cheaper tablets out there if you're just running Microsoft want word. This is about games.
In full-on battle mode with the optional gamepad controller ($ 249.99) loaded with an additional battery ($ 69.99), the Razer Edge Pro ran for an hour and forty-five minutes on Bioshock Infinite.
All in all, that's not many minutes, but then you probably don't want to use the gamepad controller that long anyway. With the extra battery, it adds another two pounds to the device, and it hurts if you hold it up for long periods of time. It works like Gangbuster (although mine seems bugged towards the end of my testing – Razer thinks it's buggy), and after a short period of adjustment (the screen moves with my hands!), It's a fun way to play. Just no way to play for a long time.
I really preferred to play on the standard docking station ($ 99.99) with the Xbox controller attached, as you can see below.
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The biggest obstacle to the Razer Edge is its own innovation. Not only is it the most powerful Windows 8 tablet out there – it's a revolutionary new way to play PC games. It's the revolutionary part that I'm struggling with. I have been playing PC games in a chair with one hand on my keyboard and the other on my mouse for nearly two decades. Hence, curling up on the couch with a handheld might be a little more intimate than I'm prepared.
Still, it grows on me and it's not that I can part with it now that we were in the bathroom together.