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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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By Argon18 on 4/1/2013 2:05:07 PM , Rating: 1
A Windows 8 Gaming Tablet? That's a whole lot of fail all wrapped up into one miserable product.

Nobody plays serious games on a tablet. Not enough horsepower, not enough battery life, piss poor controls.

On top of that, they put the new turd OS from Redmond on there, so it isn't really a tablet is it. You need your anti-virus and anti-spyware and all that other crap just like a Windows peecee. You'll need an entire IT department just to keep the thing running.

This thing is the answer to a question nobody asked. Like a wrist watch that's also a TV, a can opener, and a tooth brush. It's a combination of features that don't belong together.

RE: Woah
By BillyBatson on 4/1/2013 3:17:39 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like you are asking the wrong questions....
This tablet does have enough horsepower, does have enough graphics power, does have enough memory. Though this device is being advertised as a gaming device it doesn't mean that's all that it is it is a touch laptop without a lid it's not meant to be a portable gaming console. It doesn't have enough battery life to game all day no but for someone on the to they can write up a school report, get work done, watch/listen to media, browse the Internet, download games and software, and when you want or have time fire up a full version game. How about using this for school home and business during the week and taking it to LAN parties on weekends? I would still take my mouse keyboard and a desktop monitor and it would still be lighter and more convenient than taking a PC tower. And in those situations I would have my power cord with me any way whether I game with a laptop, PC, or a Razer edge.
As a casual gamer but so on who uses computers tablets a phone for computer work very day this device is definitely one of the answers for me. I really wanted a Surface Pro before this was announced and this trumps the sPro in every way except cost, resolution, and probably battery life. I will be buying one of these 2 products just don't know which one yet.

RE: Woah
By BillyBatson on 4/1/2013 3:20:52 PM , Rating: 2
Oh as for your "turd" OS comment you can exit win8 tablet mode and use the traditional desktop and gaming performance is supposed to be mildly improved over win7 correct? As long as there are drivers you can downgrade to win7 correct though I don't see how anyone would benefit from this other than having a start menu again.

RE: Woah
By Luticus on 4/2/2013 9:56:13 AM , Rating: 2
Yea, I game on a 3Ds with similar battery life and less horse power. This thing owns. The only think I wish is that they'd gone up to 1080 but I understand why they did not. First the screen is 10" and second to push games with decent settings at higher resolution it would need a video card that would suck the life right out of that battery. So you go ahead and play "cut the rope" at insane resolutions on your ipad or android tab or whatever you use. I'll rock skyrim on something like this.

Next the OS is amazing. I use it on everything. Your baseless "opinion" on the OS is quite irrelevant. I AM an entire IT department. So I know what I'm talking about when I say, "you have no experience with the OS and it shows.

Lastly, a question no body is asking eh?! I'm asking! I want a powerful PC-esque tablet. Just because you want to sit on yours and thumb facebook all day or whatever doesn't mean that's all I want to do. The world is big and full of many different people with many different requirements and desires. If this doesn't fit yours then that's great, but you are defiantly not the standard by which all tablets should be judged.

RE: Woah
By Manch on 4/2/2013 10:54:34 AM , Rating: 2
Razer asked on Facebook and people replied.

Learn to read specs.

Have you ever used Win 8 on a touch screen laptop or tablet? I doubt it.

If you require an IT department to keep you computer running, they should take away your computers and give you a t86....wait...a typewriter?, you're a moron. Somebody get him some crayons!

"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

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