Design

The Edge will be pretty familiar to anyone who has seen or spent any time with Razer systems in the past – consider a tablet with the same design language as the Blade and you’ll be on the right track. Like the Blade that came before it, the design is clean and understated. The matte black anodized aluminum chassis looks actually like a shrunken version of the Blade lid, with the same vertical ridges flanking a glowing green Razer logo. The edges are all radiused, with two large vents on the right and left sides of the top edge (intake on the left, exhaust on the right). The sides of the tablet are unadorned, while the bottom has the dock/power connector located in the center and a pair of speakers located at the corners. The top edge of the tablet has buttons for power, keyboard, rotation, and volume, as well as a 3.5mm combo jack and a USB 3.0 port accented in the traditional Razer green. The front face is completely clean other than the webcam at the top and the circular Windows button located just under the display.

When you first pick it up, it seems pretty antithetical to the slim ARM-based tablets that we’ve gotten used to over the last few years. Even Intel-based tablets like Surface Pro have tried really hard to reach that level of thinness, but the Edge practically flaunts its chunky design. The thickness isn’t the problem I thought it would be going into the review, because quite honestly, the size doesn’t make it uncomfortable to use. The curved sides make for a good in-hand feel, and the Edge feels more comfortable than Surface Pro does. My biggest issue with Surface Pro is that it felt really heavy, but because the Edge weighs just as much and has a significantly larger chassis, it doesn’t have that same dense feel to it. The ridges on the back also play into the in-hand feel, the subtle curvature acts almost like a grip that helps you hold the tablet. It just has a nice, solid, reassuring feel to it when you pick it up.

Razer made a big deal out of the speakers when I last saw the Edge at CES. Tablet audio has been overlooked for the last few years, though it’s finally starting to get its share of attention. The Edge has enough room in the chassis to pack a pair of surprisingly good stereo speakers. Any time you get solid midrange and any semblance of bass out of a tablet or ultrabook, you should be thrilled – it doesn’t happen very often. The speakers on the Edge are clearly and distinctly louder and more defined than any tablet or ultrabook I’ve spent time with in recent times – iPad (even the mini, which has stereo speakers), Surface Pro, ATIV Smart PC and Smart PC Pro, Zenbook Prime, Aspire S7, you name it. They’re legitimately better than any other prominent device in this class.

I have a couple of nits to pick with the design. The first is the bezel around the display – it’s huge. Tablets tend to have larger bezels than we like on notebooks, and the display edge gestures in Windows 8 also have a role to play here, but there’s something to be said for the elegance of a slim bezel. The Edge has a bezel that’s just over an inch wide all the way around. That’s pretty substantial, even compared to the healthy 0.75” width of the iPad’s bezel. The generous bezel means that you’re never worried about accidentally touching the display, but I’d like to see a display closer in size to Surface’s 10.6” panel in this same size chassis. I’m not sure how feasible it is for a company like Razer to get a somewhat irregularly sized panel, though. I’d also be interested in seeing how much bigger the chassis would need to be to fit an 11.6” display, and I’m sure John Wilson and his team kicked that idea around before settling on the 10.1” panel. It’s clear that the ideal display size for Windows tablets is somewhere between 10.1” and 11.6”, so it’ll be interesting to see if more manufacturers take Microsoft’s lead and start shipping devices later this year with displays in the 10.6”-11.1” range.

The other is the Windows sticker on the back – I think they’d have been better off integrating that into the power brick the way ASUS has been doing with their design-oriented systems for some time now. Perhaps I was spoiled by the sleekness of the Blade’s 120W brick, but in comparison the off-the-shelf Chicony 65W AC adapter is ugly and looks like a cheap touch on an otherwise very polished product. I’d like to see something slimmer, like a downsized version of the Blade adapter, with the product stickers integrated to really complete the clean aesthetic the rest of the device has.

Introduction The Gamepad
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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."

    Whoops.

    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.
    Reply
  • 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. Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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!!!
    Reply
  • 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? Reply
  • coolhardware - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    Exactly.

    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: http://www.jdhodges.com/2013/03/tablet-teardowns/
    Reply
  • 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. Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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. Reply
  • 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? Reply

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