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Razer Edge Pro tablet--insane performance that's completely impractical

Alex Wawro | April 1, 2013
PC gaming is poised to break free from the desktop--it just needs a device that delivers fast frame rates and lush graphics in an affordable, portable package. Enter the Razer Edge Pro, a Windows 8 tablet built expressly for playing PC games on the go. The hardware even comes with an optional controller accessory that turns the tablet into a handheld game console.

The 10-point capacitive touchscreen is big enough for playing games, as long as you run them full screen. I had no issues browsing the web or using Windows 8 apps, but I felt cramped while trying to manage multiple desktop applications on the Edge Pro's limited real estate. It's a problem that's easily solved by hooking up the tablet to an external display, but you'll have a difficult time doing so without purchasing the dock accessory, as the Edge Pro tablet itself sports just a single USB 3.0 port.

Bottom line: To use the Edge Pro as a full-fledged desktop PC replacement, an HDTV gaming console or a mobile gaming machine, you must invest in Razer's portfolio of pricey peripherals.

If you choose to shell out $99 for the Edge docking station--which packs three extra USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI out port, a mic jack, a stereo port, and a jack for the power adapter--you won't have any trouble outputting to a full 1080p display. I connected the tablet to both a 24-inch Gateway monitor and a 40-inch Mitsubishi HDTV via HDMI, and it effortlessly drove each display at 1920-by-1080. To this extent, the Edge Pro actually doubles as a decent desktop gaming PC--if you're willing to pay for the docking station and deck it out with a keyboard, mouse, monitor and headset.

Razer earns respect for cramming so much processing performance into a tablet chassis. But with PC power comes PC problems. Play a processor-intensive game like Dishonored for more than a minute, and you'll feel the heat--literally.

Despite the integration of heat-dissipating grilles along the top-rear edge of the tablet chassis, the tablet consistently became almost too hot to handle during gaming sessions. I passed it around to a few friends and nobody found it painfully hot, but we all agreed that the Edge Pro is uncomfortably warm to the touch while running PC games. It's not a deal-breaker, but Razer might consider adding "lap warmer" to the Edge Pro's already lengthy list of functions.

As far as fan noise, the Edge Pro emits a noticeable hum during processor-intensive use. I found it inoffensive and easy to ignore, but your tolerance may vary.

Best-in-class performance

The Edge Pro's go-for-broke hardware helped the tablet earn top marks in PCWorld's suite of performance benchmarks. Razer sent us the premium version of the tablet, so our tests were able to tap into a 1.9GHz Core i7 CPU, 8 GB of RAM, and a discrete NVIDIA GT 640M LE GPU alongside the standard Intel HD 4000 graphics chip.

Our review unit, which you can order now on Razer's website for $1450, also came with a 256GB SSD. The standard $1300 Edge Pro comes with a more modest 128GB SSD. And if you want to spend even less money, a cool $1000 will get you the basic Edge tablet, which sports the same discrete Nvidia GPU, but comes with a Core i5 processor, a 64GB SSD, and just 4 GB of RAM.

 

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