If you followed last year's CES, you'll likely remember Razer's Project Fiona prototype gaming tablet. Gamers salivated, and it won numerous "Best of CES" awards. But then it missed its estimated "late 2012" ship date, and many wondered if it would ever see the light of day. Well, Razer followed through at CES 2013, announcing that the Windows 8 tablet will launch soon as the Razer Edge.
The last we'd heard, Razer was asking its Facebook fans to pick important details about the device. The people have spoken, and the Razer Edge will – as expected – offer mid-range gaming PC specs in a portable package.
Unlike last year's prototype, the market version's handlebar controls are detachable, and sold as a separate accessory. This adds versatility, as Razer will also sell a keyboard dock, and – even more intriguing – a docking station.
The optional docking station turns Razer Edge into a full-fledged console. It keeps the tablet charged while you connect multiple controllers and watch the action (via HDMI out) on your HDTV. Steam Big Picture mode only enhances the console gaming experience.
There are two versions: a standard Razer Edge, and Razer Edge Pro. The standard rocks an Intel Core i5 CPU, NVIDIA GT640M LE graphics, 4 GB of RAM, and 64 GB of SSD storage. The high-end Pro model packs an Intel Core i7, the same NVIDIA GT640M LE GPU, 8 GB of RAM, and either 128 GB or 256 GB SSDs.
Both versions sport 10.1-inch IPS displays, with 1366 x 768 resolution. Its 155 pixels per inch (PPI) is mid-grade for a 2013 tablet (the iPad has 264 PPI, and the Nexus 10 299 PPI), but ultra-high resolution tends to show more in text than in games.
The only other potential red flag is the device's battery life. Razer estimates that it will last "up to two to four hours" while gaming (standard tablet use can last up to eight hours). Razer will sell you an extra 40-watt hour battery for US$69, which doubles battery life.
Razer Edge may have a tablet form factor, but its guts are those of a solid gaming PC – and its price reflects that. The standard (standalone) tablet will cost $999. The Pro model will retail for $1299.
To enjoy the device's killer features, though, you'll need to pay even more. The GamePad Controller will add another $250 to your purchase, the Keyboard Dock (not available until Q3) another $200, and the docking station another $100.
Even if you skipped the keyboard, the Razer Pro with GamePad and dock would set you back $1,650. That's enough to buy a PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, and a mid-range desktop gaming PC.
The bleeding edge of technology is never a cheap place to be. But, if you're willing to invest in it, both Razer Edge models will launch sometime within the next few months.
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