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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 12:23:09 PM , Rating: 2
JTMC Pull your dong out of your ipad already.

Not the same as the surface pro, bc its main kicker is it has discrete graphics and is designed for gaming. The surface Pro? not so much.

While I agree 250$ is pricey for a controller dock/battery, I don't know that I would call it garbage. A lot of reviews have been favorable on the controller, and since you've never used it, how would you know?

BTW ya big dummy, the controller is how you would play FPS games.

It's basically a mobile console! comes with steam which gives you access to over 2k games off the bat.

How is it selling:

So, yeah, I think you are the only one. Sales are showing that people do in fact want it. Go beat off to you ipad and STFU already.

RE: Doomed to failure
By Nortel on 4/1/2013 12:35:00 PM , Rating: 1
Sales are showing that people do in fact want it. Go beat off to you ipad and STFU already.

Sales? What sales?! It's not even available yet... let alone were any sales figures released.

Hold your hands 18 inches apart, holding a 2.5+ pound (2.1 pounds + controller dock thing) and see how enjoyable it is to play.

$1300 for the device + $250 for the controller... plus tax. This is your Messiah for x86 mobile gaming? 3x the price of an iPad... with a 4.5 hour battery life... with noisy spinning fans pumping out very hot air.

RE: Doomed to failure
By Spuke on 4/1/2013 1:11:34 PM , Rating: 3
I see your points but why are you bringing up the iPad?? The IPad can't play x86 games so there's no comparison between the two. They satisfy two totally different customers. Not excusing the Razer, not by any means, but the comparison is not there.

RE: Doomed to failure
By Manch on 4/1/2013 3:57:44 PM , Rating: 2
Pre-orders released a couple days ago. The high end systems are sold out. You said it would flop. Click on the links ya big dummy, or use google. You know how to do that right?

It's two frickin pounds! go to the gym! ya weenie!~Besides, who says you have to hold the damn thing up all the time? rest the bottom on a table, or your lap!

I had already said the attachments are overpriced. Doesn't take away that it's an interesting platform. I also already said that like the surface pro it's interesting but they need a good die shrink on some of the hardware.

Why do you keep comparing it to an ipad? There is no comparison! An ipad cant do any x86 gaming mobile, stand still or anything!

X3 the price, so now your specing the price of the low end ipad vs the top line edge?

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