Hands-On with the Razer Edge Gaming Tablet

The Razer Edge keyboard dock, $199.

Project Fiona made quite a splash at CES and E3 last year, as gaming on a tablet was truly undiscovered territory only a few months ago. After gathering extensive feedback from the community (largely via Facebook) and figuring out the whole Windows tablet thing, Razer has come back with a retail product: the Edge.

Not to be confused with U2′s guitarist, the Edge will come in two flavors: Edge and Edge Pro. Despite the name difference, both tablets run Windows 8 Pro, so the Pro designation is in the hardware. The base Edge comes with a Core i5 CPU, 4 GB of RAM and a 64 GB SSD. The Pro model gets a Core i7, along with double the RAM and storage. Both models come with an Nvidia GeForce GT640M LE graphics card, which is supposedly good for 60 frames per second in Dishonored and 30+ FPS in Dirt 2.

The Razer Edge controller dock, $249.

Project Fiona was a tablet with two gaming controllers stuck on the sides, but the Edge is a lot more than that. You can use the Edge as a regular, Plain Jane Windows tablet, or you can invest in one or several add-ons. The gaming sticks are still there, but it’s a dock (with an extra battery) that the Edge slides into. The whole contraption is light enough to game with, especially when resting the bottom edge in your lap. It’s an odd form factor, yes, but not one that impedes your gaming chops at all (assuming you’re comfortable with a controller).

The Razer Edge desktop dock, $99.

There’s also a more traditional keyboard add-on for the Edge, which is essentially a bulky keyboard case. While this isn’t launching until Q3 2013, it’s the add-on most productive gamers will go with. Finally, there’s a standard dock with USB and HDMI I/O, which allows your tablet to connect to your TV and controllers of choice.

The base Edge is $999, and the beefed up Pro model is $1,299. These price points are steep when compared to the iPad or your Android tablet of choice, but the $1,000-ish point is spot-on for Windows tablets, especially those running Windows 8 Pro. The desktop dock is $99, which isn’t bad for an HDMI and USB tablet hub, but the price skyrockets for the tablet controller ($249). A controller that costs as much as a 3DS? That’s…steep, to say the least.

The controller dock, unattached.

Game Front should have a full review of the Edge later this month, but our inital impressions so far are mixed. The tablet itself is light enough (about 25 percent heavier than an iPad), and the full Windows experience outguns Android or iOS. The color scheme is gamer-friendly, as is the included USB port and headphone jack. The mixed feelings come in with the accessories, which are prohibitively expensive. And the battery life is still poor for gaming — about two hours (8-10 hours with no gaming). I’m cautiously optimistic for now, and hopefully the Edge wins me over in the coming weeks.

Game Front was on-site at CES 2013 (January 8-11), covering all the latest gaming gadgets. Check out all of our CES 2013 news, previews and features.

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