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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 docking station resembles a sleek USB hub. Along the rear are three USB 2.0 ports, audio out and mic jacks, an HDMI 1.4 port, and a power jack for the Edge power supply. The idea is to set up the station next to your PC or TV, plug in all the requisite cables for your display, mouse, keyboard, and so on, and then just plop the Edge into the dock when you get home and use it as your desktop PC or gaming console.


Plug the tablet into the docking station (sold separately) and use it's suite of ports to hook up three additional USB devices and drive external hardware via HDMI and audio out.

I did both, and I'm happy to report the Edge Pro performs very well in either capacity. It's a little challenging to find decent PC games that support multiple players using gamepads, but my friends and I had a fantastic time playing through Double Fine's The Cave on a 40-inch HDTV. The Edge Pro performed equally well when docked with my mouse, keyboard and 24-inch monitor--the extra screen space and input control make the Edge Pro shine as a desktop replacement.

Of course, if you're away from the docking station and want to play anything other than simple touch-based games on the Edge Pro, you'll need to either plug a controller into the tablet's sole USB 3.0 port, or jack into the optional $249 Gamepad Controller, which cocoons the tablet in a considerable amount of extra hardware.

The Gamepad Controller gives you console-style button controls--a welcome feature when playing many PC games. But the accessory is also a hefty investment in terms of both price and poundage: When you slot in the extended battery, the machined aluminum chassis adds more than two pounds and almost four inches to the tablet. This expanded form factor is manageable, but I needed to curl up on a couch when using the Edge Pro in all it's mobile gaming glory for more than 15 minutes at a stretch. The ergonomics are challenging, and many seating positions just won't work.


The Edge Pro is at its best -- and heaviest -- when jacked into the gamepad chasis(which concelas a slot for an extended battery.)

The chassis is sturdy--there's no danger of snapping the thin supports that link the hand grips to the shell--and conceals motors that deliver surprisingly satisfying vibrational feedback during game play. Razer's design clearly duplicates Microsoft's Xbox 360 for Windows gamepad, with two analog joysticks, a directional pad, four face buttons (A, B, X, Y), and the requisite Start and Select buttons.

 

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