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The Edge starts at $1,000, with the Pro (reviewed here) climbing up to $1,450. That may be pricey for a "tablet," but it comes with an Intel Core i7-3517U, Nvidia GT 640M LE, 8GB of DDR3/1600, and a 256GB SSD. While it’s supposed to be the happy love-child of a portable tablet and a powerful PC, the end result is a compromised monstrosity.
The Razer Edge is quite thick and heavy
The first thing you’ll notice about the Edge is its bulk. Measuring 10.9x7x.8 inches and weighing two pounds, 2.1 ounces, it’s big, thick, and heavy for a tablet, basically requiring you to rest it on your body for support. This in turn muffles the otherwise excellent speakers due to their placement on the bottom edge. And flipping the Edge upside down isn’t a great solution, as you might accidentally trigger the power button on the opposite edge.
Other external controls and ports include a volume rocker, auto-rotate lock, a virtual keyboard button, in addition to a USB 3.0 port and headphone jack. The intake and exhaust vents are quite large and often noisy, as you’ll hear the fans revving even when just web browsing.
The controller peripheral is too heavy and expensive to make this gaming tablet a game changer.
The Edge’s IPS panel screen offers fantastic viewing angles. While the glossy five-point touch display features just a 1366x768 resolution, its 10.1-inch screen still offers a decent 155.1-pixel-per-inch (PPI) density. Our MSI GT60’s 15.6-inch screen has a 141.2 PPI, for example. We weren’t fans of the thick one-inch bezel however, as it made us wish we had Stretch Armstrong’s thumbs.
Our biggest issue with the Edge, however, is that it lacks a physical keyboard. While Windows 8 might be better with touch, it sucks with only touch. Navigating through desktop mode was a headache because a lot of the tiny icons were clearly designed for the precision of a mouse/trackpad. Even if you were to hook up a Bluetooth keyboard/mouse, you still can’t effectively use the Edge as a proper desktop PC because it doesn’t have a stand. (An optional dock with additional ports could serve as a stand, at the added cost of $100.)
The $100 console dock is a necessity with its stand and additional USB ports
The Edge also had connectivity issues with our Linksys E1200 router, often disconnecting or running terribly slow, and Razer acknowledged problems with Linksys routers in general. Belkin and D-Link routers fared better, but the download speeds were often a quarter of our zero-point’s sitting a foot away.
The Edge didn’t fare any better in our standard performance benchmarks. The closest it got to our zero-point in CPU-intensive tests was in ProShow, where the Edge’s 1.9GHz-clocked CPU lagged just 22 percent. In our multithread-hungry x264 benchmark, it got crushed by 54 percent. In our GPU tests, it fell 14 percent behind in STALKER, and got severely beaten down in 3DMark 11. The Edge couldn't even keep up in the battery department!
At the end of the day, you shouldn’t expect a tablet to perform on par with a beefy gaming notebook. The Edge was designed to run games on medium settings, and for the most part, it succeeds. We played Borderlands 2, an Unreal Engine game, and got a consistent 40fps. The Edge was actually able to max out Portal 2, a Source Engine game, with frame rates in the high 80s. On the more graphically demanding Far Cry 3, however, we saw a 31fps average, which suggests settings should be lowered.
The Edges is begging for a keyboard, but the official one won't be out until Q3 2013.
If you’re looking to play these games with the Edge’s optional controller peripheral, you shouldn’t, as the Edge ends up weighing four pounds, which is much too heavy. It’s also overpriced at $250. The much-needed keyboard add-on also isn’t available yet, nor is its price known. The dock mentioned above, meanwhile, is a necessity. For its $100 you’ll get three USB ports, an HDMI-out, and a much-needed stand, but it lacks an Ethernet port.
While the Edge is much more usable if you purchase the right accessories, that drives up the price and limits the portability. You're better off purchasing a laptop to satiate your gaming needs and a Nexus 7 to get your portability fix—which you can do for about the same price of the Edge with all the peripherals it needs to be useful.
We really wanted to like the Edge, but the design limitations currently make this a better idea on paper. At present, this is one dull Edge.
Our zero-point notebook is an MSI GT60 with a 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-3610QM, 12GB DDR3/1600, two 500GB Seagate 7,200rpm hard drives, a GeForce GTX 670M, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. STALKER CoP tested at 1920x1080 with Ultra settings, Tessellation, and contact hardening.
Good boot times; powerful speakers; competent display.
No keyboard; need to buy peripherals; no kickstand; severe Wi-Fi issues.