The Gamepad

The gamepad controller is obviously the game-changer here, since it really does redefine portable gaming usage models. That sounds like marketing hyperbole at first, but it’s actually true – you can take the Edge around with the gamepad and play real PC games on it basically anywhere, as though it’s a huge PSP or some crazy Ben Heck experiment to weld the two halves of an Xbox controller to a tablet. It’s simply awesome, there’s absolutely no question in my mind about that.

The gamepad controller is like a case that the Edge docks into, with a springloaded clip with the dock connector and two pins on either side to hold it in place. The inner surface of the gamepad features two rubber pads with springs behind them to pop the tablet up out of the case when the clip is released. Inserting and removing the tablet from the gamepad is a two-hand job, as both sides of the bottom clip need to be released before the tablet pops up.

The frame is made of anodized aluminum, with the controls and backplate being matte black plastic that looks very similar to the aluminum in terms of aesthetic. Everything attaches to the aluminum skeleton though, so the entire piece feels very solid in your hands. It actually reminds me a bit of the controller cases for iPhone that turned it into something resembling a high-tech Gameboy. The frame has contours on the inner bottom edge, redirecting output from the downward-firing speakers out towards the user.

With the extended 41.44Wh battery, the full kit weighs about 3.25 pounds. Ergonomically, this is a two-handed device – there’s too much weight and holding just one handle won’t work due to the rotational moment of inertia. Basically, it just wants to rotate around the axis of the handle unless you’re holding both of them. The weight means that the easiest way to game is to place the back of the tablet on your lap and just crane over it to play. It just isn’t feasible to hold upright for any sustained period of time without resting it against something. The IPS panel helps with the viewing angles, so thankfully that isn’t an issue. The nice thing about the gamepad controller is that it does shield the worst of the heat – the top right corner of the gamepad does get pretty toasty when gaming or benchmarking for a length of time, but it’s not as bad as touching the tablet directly.

The controller has two analog sticks prominently featured at the top of each side, directional buttons on and a back button on the left side, the four action buttons (A, B, X, Y) and start button on the right side, two sets of right and left shoulder/bumper buttons, and two analog triggers. It has basically the same controller layout as the Xbox 360, with one key difference – the right analog stick is placed above the action buttons instead of below. This is a little annoying, because the natural instinct is to put your thumb on the analog instead of the action buttons where they would normally be. If you don’t adjust the position of your hand on the right side, this can result in discomfort during extended gaming sessions (yes, I know this from experience.)

The system recognizes the gamepad as an Xbox 360 controller, so there are no questions about compatibility or setup. It just works. You can even install JoyToKey to emulate a mouse using the analog sticks, though I wish Razer had included a first-party way to do this. When properly set up, it’s pretty interesting to use the gamepad for standard Windows input.

In general, the Edge’s gamepad controller shockingly simple to use and easy to get used to, the adjustment isn’t nearly as much as one would think considering that your Xbox controller has suddenly mutated and grown a 10.1” display. You start playing games everywhere – buses, cars, planes, coffee shops, subways, libraries, basically anywhere you can pull out a tablet. Early on in the review process, I was driving to dinner with a friend of mine who was playing Half-Life 2 on the Edge in the passenger seat. It was incredibly distracting, mostly because I really wanted to play too. (A small piece of advice: don’t drive and play Need For Speed during stoplights, regardless of how tempting it might be to do so.) But it’s awesome – places where it would be awkward or impossible to play PC games are no longer so, you can just take the Edge and play Skyrim or Dirt 3 as easily as one would play Angry Birds on an iPad. Bam, mobile PC gaming, redefined.

Design Dock and Keyboard
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  • HisDivineOrder - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    If you were told that the spec is TN panels and you were given an IPS, then that means you were given a cherry picked unit and many of the launch units will include a TN panel and still be "up to spec."


    Also, I think it's pretty short sighted to say, "Well, 1366x768 is fine because gaming is going to be bad on a 1080p panel with that GPU." First, not every game is Crysis 3. Second, not everyone is going to want a decent PC-based tablet just to game. Some of them are in fact going to watch movies and/or web browse from time to time and having a high resolution panel would benefit them.

    Perhaps Razer should have spec'ed a 2560x1440 panel to give the best of both worlds. Excellent with all content except games and a great way to down-rez to 1280x720 for high end gaming.

    Considering the high cost of this thing (including one of those peripherals in your purchase price is a necessity), I think a high res panel is the least they could have done.

    Anyway, good review except for you're constant apologies for Razer's mistakes. Also, I can't help feeling like this device REALLY reminds me of the first Razer Blade. The one that came out just before Ivy Bridge and sucked, only to be replaced in a few months time by a version that included IB, better power per watt, better everything, and a slightly lower price.

    With Haswell incoming, buying one of these based on IB is downright wasteful since anyone who would want this will want that, too. Might as well wait.

    Especially when the keyboard add-on isn't even ready for primetime.
  • VivekGowri - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    Pre-launch, I was told TN, but that was apparently a mistake - all specsheets and units (preproduction as well as final production) I have encountered have been IPS. The production version has always been IPS, there's been nothing to indicate that mine was a cherry picked unit.
  • royalcrown - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    Everyone is free to like what they will, here is my 2 cents on this thing:

    1. Ugly as hell
    2. Pretty fat and bulky
    3. Waay overpriced

    Really, for what this thing costs base price, you can go buy a laptop that has all the same features or more, is just about the same thickness, already has all the "optional" ports, charger and other crap, more storage. That's before the overprived accessories.

    For all the people that think, "But I can haz buttunz own itz." just add a ps3 controller to a laptop or use motionjoys PS3 controller driver and you have the same or better.
  • coolhardware - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    I'm not quite sure why so many people are hating on the Razer Edge and Vivek's review.

    He liked the machine and had a lot of fun playing games on it, he addresses the weaknesses and the strengths. He came to a conclusion and it is not an absurd one.

    The tech industry needs visionaries and companies that release bleeding edge products. Not every original release can be as polished as we would like, I would argue that the opposite is true... most initial genre creating products have some pretty rough edges!

    Kudos to Razer for having the balls to produce something like this: a tablet that can play PC games (without having to stream them from somewhere else).

    Kudos to Vivek for taking the time to review and benchmark it so we can read about if for free and come to our own conclusion about purchasing it or not.

    Now, what I would like to know a bit more about:
    +can it easily be taken apart? (b/c I would like to know about upgrading the SSD)
    +what is the warranty?
    +what interface does the dock use (like what bandwidth does it have and what does the connector look like) [they mention that they didn't put USB3 on the dock there b/c not enough bandwidth, and that surprised me...]

    Anyhoo, thanks for the review Vivek, I appreciate it!!!
  • bountygiver - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    it's a tablet, upgrading yourself is obviously not going to be easy, the question is only how hard?
  • coolhardware - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link


    re we talking Surface Pro hard (i.e. sure it uses mSATA but you'll likely break it to upgrade it), or Dell XPS 10 (relatively easy). More info about tablet serviceability here:
  • althaz - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    I like this (A LOT), but the price point is too high. The $1499 bundle probably needs to be under $1000. The weight and thickness honestly don't bother me overly.
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    Cool that they actually pretty much pulled this off. I'd loooooove to have one, but realistically the money is better spent towards a normal, more powerful notebook (just got an M17x-R4 with a GTX 680).

    I wish that you got the features of the HDMI dock (either through the dock or built in) plus the second battery, plus the controller dock all included at any of the price points...I'd feel better about that price-wise. Interesting how it might handle games that really need a mouse and keyboard too...and yeah, it ought to have first party controller-as-mouse support, considering.
  • Darbyothrill - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    You would think that they would have wanted to wait for Haswell, considering Intel's claims that the GPU competes with the 650m.
  • Jumangi - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    The Vita can't sell at $250 but a heavy $1000+ tablet based around gaming will? How does this stuff get past being laughed at during the boardroom meeting and get actually made?

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