The Bottom Line
May 21 2013 - The Razer Edge is definitely a niche product at this point. It is the only Window 8 tablet on the market that is truly 3D PC gaming capable and that will likely appeal to some. Its base pricing and performance is similar to that of the Surface Pro but the tablet just sacrifices a bit too much on the battery life, display resolution and ability to connect an external display that many may be better off buying a low cost small gaming laptop. This is particularly true when you consider most gaming experiences will require either the Gamepad or Dock accessories which cost extra.
- Solid Build and Design
- Good Performance
- PC Gaming Capable
- Gaming Really Requires Gamepad Accessory
- Poor Battery Life
- Limited Set of Ports
- Intel Core i5-3317U Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 64GB Solid State Drive
- 10.1" WXGA (1366x768) IPS Touchscreen Display
- 2.0 Megapixel Front Camera
- NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M LE 1GB Graphics
- 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- USB 3.0, 3.5mm Audio Jack, Dock Connector
- 10.9" x 7" x .80" @ 2.1 lbs.
- Windows 8
Review - Razer Edge
May 21 2013 - Razer's Edge tablet is a unique device that piqued many people's interest. The 10.1-inch tablet device is designed specifically for PC gaming. Now, there are other tablets out there that can be used for gaming but they are running more graphically limited tablet designed games where this is designed for the demanding PC gaming. This sets it drastically apart from its more obvious competitor, the Microsoft Surface Pro, which is designed as a productivity tablet.
It terms of the design, the Razer Edge isn't a flashy design that one might expect from a company so geared towards PC gaming. In fact, it has your basic black bezel and anodized aluminum back exterior. The system is on the larger and heavier side coming in at eight tenth of an inch thick and weighing over two pounds. It isn't too much heavier than Microsoft's tablet but a good deal thicker.
To power the Edge, Razer relies on the ultra low voltage Intel Core i5-3317U dual core processor. This is a processor that is typical of many ultrabooks and many hybrid laptops. It offers a fair amount of performance while using a relatively modest amount of power. It is matched up with 4GB of DDR3 memory which allow it to run the Windows 8 operating system without too much problem. It would be nice to see a bit more memory but the device isn't really intended for much multitasking and this is sufficient for playing most PC games.
For storage, the tablet features 64GB solid state drive. This is a bit small for a Windows 8 based tablet especially if you are planning to put a fair number of games onto it. Of course, there is no optical drive so one can always use a digital distribution service like Steam or Origin that allows games to be loaded as need to help keep the number of games on it at any one time to a limit. There is a single USB 3.0 port to add some temporary external storage if you need it.
Since the Razer Edge is about gaming, the display and graphics are crucial components. Color and brightness are quite good thanks to the IPS technology behind the display panel. The screen measures 10.1-inches which is common for many larger tablets but features a relatively mediocre 1366x768 native resolution. The reason for the lower resolution has to do with the 3D graphics engine for PC games. NVIDIA's GeForce GT 640M LE is a relatively low to mid grade mobile graphics processor and will at times struggle to maintain smooth frame rates for many games without turning down detail levels or dropping the resolution further. Gaming it certainly playable with older games but some of the more demanding and modern games will still be a struggle.
Since this is a traditional Windows based laptop, it may be quite difficult to play many games as they are designed around a keyboard and mouse controls. Some games like Civilization V have been worked such that they can be used with just the screen but for many, the use of the optional GamePad Controller Dock is going to be a must. This add some significant bulk to the tablet but has two handles in the landscape mode with analog sticks and multiple buttons. It also costs $250 with adds some considerable expense to the system. This pushes the system into the price territory of many acceptable and more capable gaming laptops.
Battery life is going to be a major concern for anyone buying the Razer Edge for mobile gaming. The tablet itself features a 41WHr capacity battery pack which is roughly the same size as the one Microsoft uses for its Surface Pro. The difference here though is more power demands from a dedicated mobile graphics engine. In digital video playback tests, the unit was able to run for just four and a half before going into standby mode. This is certainly better than the Surface Pro which scored a lesser four but still well below what most tablets and some hybrid class laptops can achieve. Admittedly, this is a better use case as gaming will use more power. To this end, extended gaming sessions will probably be only between one and one half hours. Now the controller dock also includes a battery that doubles the capacity but will still limit game time to roughly two hours.
With a base price of $999 for the tablet and an addition $250 for the gamepad to make it suitable for gaming, the Razer ends up being a very expensive setup. Sure, it is roughly the same price for the base tablet as the Microsoft Surface Pro with similar levels of performance but the Edge trades off storage and screen resolution for 3D gaming capabilities. This certainly isn't a good choice for those that won't be gaming. The problem is that there are number of small gaming laptops like the Maingear Pulse 11 that cost roughly the same but provide a better overall gaming experience.