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Relatively portable x86 gaming tablet is a dream for gamers, but very different from the iPad

Founded in 1998, gaming-electronics firm Razer built a strong name for itself in the peripherals realm and has today branched out into its own branded gaming PCs.  Its latest effort lands this week -- a gaming geared (x86) Windows 8 tablet named the "Razer Edge".

The tablet started shipping this week; the peripherals for it (read on to find out more) should be shipping in the next couple weeks.  And while Windows 8 tablets have struggled in the market, this Razer tablet does provide an interesting alternative to the market leading Apple, Inc. (AAPLfourth-generation iPad or Google Inc.'s (GOOG) aggressively priced Android-powered Nexus 7.

The device is pretty thick and heavy -- but packs powerful hardware.  It weighs approximately 2.1 lb (33.6 oz.) and measures 278.5 mm x 178.85 mm x 19.5 mm / 10.9" x 7" x .80".
Razer Windows 8
The screen is a 10.1-inch 1366x768 pixel multi-touch display (a bit lacking compared to the 2048x1536 pixel panel found in the iPad).  
Razer Edge
Under the hood is an Intel Corp. (INTC22 nm Ivy Bridge Chip -- either the i5-3317U (dual-core; 1.5 GHz std.; 2.6 GHz turbo) or the i7-3517U (dual-core; 1.9 GHz std; 3.0 GHz turbo).  That powerhouse is paired with a Kepler mobile GPU -- NVIDIA Corp.'s (NVDA) GeForce 640M LE graphics chip (with 2 GB of DDR3 graphics memory).  There's a 2 MP front-facing HD webcam, an 802.11 b/g/n adapter (no 802.11 ac support), and Bluetooth 4.0 support.

Ivy Bridge
The Razer Edge packs a dual-core Ivy Bridge chip (quad-core die pictured).
[Image Source: Intel]

Overall, the Razer Edge comes up a bit short compared to the latest iPad in several categories -- battery life, screen resolution, thickness (the Razer Edge is almost as thick as three fourth-gen iPads stacked and weighs more than three iPads), and lack of a cellular modem option.

However, the Edge does offer some interesting opportunities.  First, it's available with some unique gaming geared peripherals.  The first is a $250 USD handle-style controller, which has handholds on either side of the screen, with buttons on the handles.
Razer Edge controller handles
Alternatively you can pick up a $100 USD docking station, which charges the Edge, while offering two extra USB 3.0 ports compatible with either a keyboard/mouse combo or a pair of $80 USD Razer Elite Windows GamePads for multiplayer-gaming.  The dock also has HDMI out, so you can game on your big screen. Razer Edge controllers
Note, there's no shortage of relatively cheap gaming controllers for the iPad, but the experience of most iOS games is less geared towards them control-wise versus PC games (which often are made with controller-using gamers in mind).  Also, the Razer Edge's handle's controller is pretty unique.

When it comes to pricing, there're three different SKUs.  $1000 USD buys you 4 GB of DDR3 DRAM, 64 GB, and the i5 CPU; $1300 USD buys you 8 GB of DDR3 DRAM, 128 GB, and the i7 CPU; and $1450 USD buys you 8 GB of DDR3 DRAM, 256 GB, and the i7 CPU.

Aside from the peripherals, the Razer Edge allows you to play full PC gaming titles -- offering you much more gaming-wise than the iPad.  And the x86 CPU and Windows 8 means that you can install Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Office suite and get "real work" done between the gaming.

Here's a quick comparison with the 128 GB iPad:
iPad v. Razer Edge
(Click to enlarge)

Razer just announced that integration with Valve's Steam service will be fully supported.  The tablet is capable of playing many titles that nearly no other tablet could -- such as DiRT 3, Civilization V, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Portal 2, and The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim.

AnandTech reports the battery life to be around 4-5 hours versus 15 hours with the latest iPad.  Despite its high price and weaknesses, AnandTech's Vivek Gowri concludes, "The Edge feels like a PC-iPad-PSP mashup from the future, and it's incredibly exciting. As much as it was hyped up with all the CES awards and social media marketing push, Razer has created a fascinating gaming machine that could change the way we view portable gaming going forward."

Sources: Razer [1], [2], AnandTech

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RE: Doomed to failure
By Manch on 4/1/2013 8:42:56 AM , Rating: 3
Can an ipad play any of the games mentioned? nope.

Can an ipad run any of the Win x86 library? nope.

It's silly to compare this to an ipad since it's in a different league all together. The surface pro would be a better comparison.

The peripherals are definitely over priced (as is all razer products) but in regards to battery life and thickness of course it comes up short. You cant pack that kind of hardware into a tablet without compromise.

As far as the resolution goes, that simply a product of keeping the frame rate for the games playable. No one complains about 720p err 1080p* on xbox or PS3. the resolution is fine for what it's trying to achieve.

I do think that just like the surface pro, the hardware needs a die shrink before this goes from interesting to very compelling. Right now it's very much a niche product, but it wasn't meant to be anything else.

RE: Doomed to failure
By corduroygt on 4/1/2013 9:04:05 AM , Rating: 2
What does this device do better than a laptop with the same or higher specs, which can be found for cheaper? You can hold it in your hands? Good luck holding a 2lb brick as a tablet in your hands.

It is doomed to failure as a tablet has to be thin and light to find any shred of success in the market. Weight is much more crucial in a tablet than a laptop, since they are designed to be held by people during use, where laptops are designed to rest on a surface.

RE: Doomed to failure
By xti on 4/1/2013 10:32:40 AM , Rating: 2
an 8lb gaming laptop making you sit in practically only one position on your couch is ok....but a 2lb tablet that opens it up isnt ok?

when did 2lb become a lot?

RE: Doomed to failure
By Manch on 4/1/2013 12:03:23 PM , Rating: 2
Most would probably rest it on there lap, on the tray in an airplane I guess. It does provide usage where a laptop wouldn't be so great.

I could hold it in my hands. If you think 2lbs is a brick, then you should swing by GNC gets some sups and hit the gym...

If you look at this thing as soley as a tablet, then sure, it doesn't stack up. But it's not soley designed to be just a tablet. It's a compromise that allows you to play modern games in a stow and go format, dock it, and use it as a desktop, and I believe they will have a keyboard attachment to make it a notebook. It's a modular system to do all things well, but not great.

If you want a tablet, go buy a dedicated tablet.

Now go hit the gym and maybe you can one day hold two ipads at the same time...

RE: Doomed to failure
By corduroygt on 4/1/2013 4:54:00 PM , Rating: 2
Most would probably rest it on there lap, on the tray in an airplane I guess. It does provide usage where a laptop wouldn't be so great.

There is no such environment where this frankentablet is more practical than a Lenovo Y400, and that doesn't weigh 8lbs lol, 5lb is more like it.

I could hold it in my hands. If you think 2lbs is a brick, then you should swing by GNC gets some sups and hit the gym...

These gym comments for tablets are really funny. Get a 2lb weight, and hold your arm extended carrying it for an hour, you'll be severely uncomfortable if you're even able to accomplish it.

RE: Doomed to failure
By Manch on 4/1/2013 5:54:45 PM , Rating: 2
Where did you get 8lb and 5lb? Do you have a Lenovo Y400 or something? Is this a pecker measuring contest for you in regards to a laptop you just bought? Seriously, what gives?

Who says you're going to hold it out at arms length? Why would you even do that? You wouldn't read a book like that, I doubt you hold your tablet out like that either. Holding a two pound tablet with handles/controllers on the side of it like you would a tray would be very easy, and you could do it for a while comfortably. If you can't then seriously you need to do some push ups, get some barbells bc that is sad. I bet an el grande burrito makes your arms tired huh. Feel that muscle fatigue the next day? Ya know what, you should use your Lenovo and download a work out video get some exercise.

RE: Doomed to failure
By Reclaimer77 on 4/1/2013 8:30:48 PM , Rating: 2
lol Apple tard #2 shows up to, yet again, irrationally bash any product that's not an iPad.

RE: Doomed to failure
By Luticus on 4/2/2013 11:57:55 AM , Rating: 2
Fist of all, I'm a father. I have to hold my son all the time, and I assure you he's MUCH heavier than 2 freaking lbs. Most babies are born at 7 to 8 lbs and sometimes heavier and WOMEN cart them around all the time. Usually for hours on end! I manage just fine and I don't even work out. I'm a skinny computer nerd. If you're seriously complaining about 2 freaking pounds you're either using your tablet FAR to much and need a life, or a freaking wuss. Are you one of those people who use the Wii and complain when you're sore afterwards?

On a plane, during long car rides, while shopping, when I want to stand up and use my device at the same time, when I'm using my desktop and have my tablet in my lap and want to pull something up quickly or interact with something touch based and don't want to open a laptop, are all times when this would be more practical. You don't like it, I understand that. Other people might... get over it. I will never understand why people feel the need to get on a forum and piss and moan about something the have no damn intentions of ever owning.

RE: Doomed to failure
By Aloonatic on 4/1/2013 9:08:49 AM , Rating: 2
I agree with almost everything you say, apart from the resolution part.

Even if, for gaming, they stick to 720/768... For everything else people want more, especially people who are going to be paying so much for this.

What is it with Windows devices and age old resolutions?

RE: Doomed to failure
By Flunk on 4/1/2013 9:21:52 AM , Rating: 2
If this had a higher resolution screen you wouldn't be able to use the extra resolution anyway, the GPU can't handle pushing around those extra pixels.

RE: Doomed to failure
By Manch on 4/1/2013 11:55:49 AM , Rating: 2
Like the guy below said. The GPU cant push the pixels and maintain a decent frame rate and it would be a battery drain. 1080P is great but a 10.1" screen is still a 10.1" screen.

RE: Doomed to failure
By Ramstark on 4/1/2013 1:39:19 PM , Rating: 2
Absolutely right, I think the comparison here with the iPad is totally misdirected, I mean, I understand why they did it (market leader and all...blablabla) but as you mention, even the high end Win8 tablets/convertibles as the Asus taichi would have a hard time competing with this.

Too bad the peripherals are way too pricy, I would totally go for the handles if only for the "Avatar" movie looks xP

RE: Doomed to failure
By Manch on 4/1/2013 4:06:21 PM , Rating: 2
The high end models sold out in preorder. Hopefully interest in the platform stays. It's nice that valve is backing it. Like the surface pro, I'm waiting to see the next gen/revision.

I do want to see if AMD is going to do anything with there APU's. AMD's APU's seem like it would have been better suited for this graphics wise at least.

Yeah the price of the peripherals do seem a bit much. Razer products have always been pricey. I think they should have sold the tablet portion closer to cost. I think it would make people more willing to open their wallet for all the accessories. That's where razer could make it's money.

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