Razer is a well-known name in the gaming community, with its green glowing snake logo stamped on all manner of mice, keyboards, and other specialized peripherals. But Razer’s newest toy—the Razer Edge Pro gaming tablet—is way more than a mere plaything. First announced as “Project Fiona” back at CES 2012, this unique device has been designed to bethe tablet for PC gamers
The Edge Pro is big for a tablet, but it’s extremely slim and light for anything remotely capable of serious gaming. Measuring 7 by 11 by 0.8 inches (HWD) and weighing 2.14 pounds, the Edge Pro is significantly thicker than other Windows tablets, like the Microsoft Surface Pro, which is just 0.53 inch thick, and weighs slightly less at two pounds. But for all this heft, you get a lot more in terms of hardware—the Edge Pro and its less expensive standard variant, the Core i5-powered Razer Edge, are also the only Windows tablets on the market today to offer both Intel Core processing and discrete graphics. As tradeoffs go, this is pretty worthwhile.
And let’s not forget that even the slimmest, lightest gaming laptops are considerably less portable. Our previous Editors’ Choice for portable gaming laptops, the Maingear Pulse 11, is 1.5 inches thick and weighs 3.7 pounds. Razer’s own made-for-portability Blade laptop is still 0.88-inch thick, and 6.6 pounds. On top of that, you aren’t likely to use the laptop for gaming without at least adding a gaming mouse to the mix, and you’ll need to find a table or desk to sit at while you play—but the Edge Pro lets you play anywhere, without needing a mouse for all games.
On any other system the 10.1-inch IPS display and its 1,366-by-768 resolution would be small and inadequate—though it’s the same resolution of the screen on the Maingear Pulse 11—but because you’ll be bringing the Edge Pro so much closer to your face, the smaller size and lower resolution aren’t much of an issue. For a larger display and higher resolution, the HDMI port found on the accessory console dock does output at 1080p.
On the back of the tablet, which is made of the same cool black aluminum seen on the Razer Blade, you’ll find Razer’s distinctive logo, with three intertwined snakes that glow green when powered on. When we tested the speaker quality on the Edge Pro, I was surprised by the quality of the sound. While there’s no bass to speak of, the sound itself is significantly better than most tablets—there’s no buzzing at high volumes, and the sound is fuller than the thin, tinny sound heard on other tablets.
On the tablet you’ll find a docking port (which doubles as your power connector), a headphone jack, and a full-size USB 3.0 port. The USB port is easy to spot, because it’s the same brilliant green we saw on the Razer Blade. The Razer Edge Pro is equipped with 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 + HS, so it will pair up with any wireless peripherals you want.
Inside, the Razer Edge Pro is equipped with a 256GB solid-state drive, in addition to the aforementioned Intel processor and Nvidia graphics card. All of those heat-generating components also require a cooling fan, and this one gets humming pretty early on—it’s the only tablet we’ve reviewed where fan noise is a concern. But that fan is indispensable, as I measured surface temperatures between 114 and 130 degrees at various points during testing and use. It got particularly warm in the upper right-hand corner, but you won’t likely be using the tablet alone during the most intense gaming. A lot of this heat buildup is dealt with by using the accessory gamepad dock, shielding the hot surfaces from your touch and giving you two external handles to hold. Handling the tablet won’t be an issue while using the tablet on the desktop/console dock.
While the Edge Pro is free of any bloatware or spurious software trials, it does come with Razer’s Launcher dashboard for browsing and launching games, and also comes preinstalled with Steam, saving you the step of downloading it yourself. Additionally, the Edge Pro is designed for compatibility with Steam Big Picture Mode when connected to an HDTV through the console dock.
Razer covers the Edge Pro with a one-year warranty, with an extended warranty available ($199.99 direct) to stretch it to two, and also adds a year of coverage for power cable, console dock, and gamepad dock (except battery). Docks and accessories are also covered by a one-year warranty.
While the tablet design doesn’t really make for a system you can upgrade and maintain in the same way you can tweak and optimize a desktop PC, Razer tells us that the SSD inside can indeed be swapped out by the user. But tinkerers beware—doing so will void the warranty.
Our review unit came with two docks, the Gamepad Dock ($249.99 direct), and a desktop cradle called the Console Dock ($99.99 direct). A third accessory—a keyboard for laptop-style functionality—is expected to be available in Q3 of this year, but specific details about features, availability, and pricing weren’t available as of this writing.