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
POST A COMMENT

89 Comments

View All Comments

  • randomlinh - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    This is how I envision a Steam box. Pick up and play anywhere... and if I have the time, dock it to a TV for big screen fun.

    Now I just need the price to cut in half....
    Reply
  • SR81 - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    ... except Valve has the intention of it being a $99 set top box that streams your games from your PC, just like the NVIDIA Shield without a screen. Reply
  • Mumrik - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    I have to assume this thing is for people looking to replace their normal stationary/laptop. Reply
  • Havor - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    Yeah still, but for a starting price of $999, this is actually NOT pretty good value.

    Come on $1000 for a heavy tablet, with only a 64GB SSD ware a big chunk will be used by the Win8 OS, and then $250 for the gaming grip.

    Even the Razor Edge Pro with a 128GB SSD and a i7 instead of a i5 would be at $1000 to high to be useful!

    Not saying that the price is to high for what it cost to make the tablet, I say the price is way to high for the real world value of the tablet, think whit a efficient Haswell CPU they could make something lighter and more useful.

    But unless they get the price down to around $500~600 with a included game controller grip, i dont see lots of people buying this overpriced tablet.

    And I wonder if the reviewer was smoking pot, or is this is a Infomercial, instead of a real review, because even do its a wonder of engineering, i don't see the appeal, and a product like this would only find buyers if it had the Apple logo on it!
    Reply
  • perry1mm - Saturday, March 30, 2013 - link

    I don't understand how you can say this is not good value. $1000 is not much if you're in the market for a laptop/tablet and are on the go enough to make it worth it...plugging in and playing games in a small profile for easy packing, carrying, and just general versatility, this is a dream come true.

    There are other options out there that I personally think are more feature rich and fit my personal use better in the same price-range and versatility, but even so the Edge fits the same type of device I'd want...and for comparable laptop performance you'd pay the same.

    I wouldn't need anything but the keyboard dock if I did get one of these, though I personally have the Vaio Duo 11 that play games great and is much better out-of-the box feature-wise, port-wise, and display-wise. Plus I got the highest spec'd one with 256GB SSD for $1300 after a promo and $100 credit back with the Sony Card.

    The main issue would be regular on-the-go battery life but if you can stretch it on power mode to get 4-6hrs, I think that is suitable, since anyone who is getting this should already expect to plug in for heavy game usage unless they're on a flight and want a couple hours of it.

    If they packaged the keyboard dock when it is available with the Pro i7, 256GB, 8GB RAM model, for $1500, it would probably be one of the best value gaming laptops for portability on the market.

    The Surface Pro with it's i5 and 4GB RAM is sorely lacking in performance. The only real downside for me is the resolution, as my Vaio Duo has spoiled me in that department and all the games I've played (DmC, HL2, Dota 2, WoW, Borderlands 2, Bastion, SC2, Portal 2, L4D2, FC2, and numerous others) all ran smoothly at 1080p if I turned down most settings and looked great at solid 30+FPS if not better.
    Reply
  • Havor - Saturday, March 30, 2013 - link

    " $1000 is not much"
    I am very well off, I am a supervisor in the offshore, and my wife is a deputy director of a local part of the national institute.

    Still i think $1000 is way to mouths for what you get in return, like i said, not saying that the price is to high for what it cost to make a device like this, saying if you wait 1~2 generations, you get way more for a lot less.

    This tablet falls in the category as the first LCD TVs, they ware around $5000 for a 40", and just like this tablet, the asking price was not to high for what it cost to make one, I am saying, you have to be a idiot to pay $1000~$1500 for something that will be outdated in 2 years by way better devices.

    "for $1500, it would probably be one of the best value gaming laptops for portability on the market."
    Got a ASUS G75VX for work, and a Transformer for on the road, ware i depending on use use the dock with, nut yeah i cant play FPS games on the Transformer, still there are lots of other fun games other the Angry Birds that i can also play on it.

    The G75 is a real desktop replacement, i can use when i am @work, I am "on the go enough" about +50% of the year, but i cant really see any real benefits over a normal tablet.

    "The Surface Pro with it's i5 and 4GB RAM is sorely lacking in performance."
    I never said the Surface Pro was a good deal, I say your a idiot or have to mouth money if you if you buy this, as you can be a early adopter of tech that is not ready for prime time, if you buy it anyway i and many others will think something of you, if you tell the total price of what you got in your hands.

    "you must be the one smoking pot if you think this would be $500-600 with a controller grip"
    Read correctly, i did not say the device was was overprices for the tech you get, i say the its just not worth it, as in 2 years from now you get the same for half the price and weight, whit 50% more powerk
    Reply
  • rviswas11 - Tuesday, April 2, 2013 - link

    i don't think you realise that the only in this thing that is going to get outdated in the next 2-3 years is the battery. as far as the performance goes even you anus will be outdated in the same time frame Reply
  • rviswas11 - Tuesday, April 2, 2013 - link

    sorry i ;meant asus. Reply
  • truthbeacon - Saturday, April 6, 2013 - link

    Again, it still depends on your perspective - As a consultant in a field where I am working the same places as you (and at the slope among other places which are out of touch with the world) and I never go anywhere without my $1400 (two years ago) SB slate.

    What you are glossing over with regards to value is that even when flying at the front, it is infinitely easier to get more work done with a tablet or slate pc because they take up so much less space (even this chunk). If you throw in the ability to do a good job of playing games for those exceedingly rare occasions when you don't have reporting or bureaucratic nonsense to deal with, you don't want to have to pull out a 15" {even ultrabook although they suck for gaming compared to ones with discreet cards} to do anything.

    Where the slate PCs come in at far handier than a tablet is that when I am leaving a site with a 6 hour flight to my next destination, I can pull out my slate and begin working on reports and generate graphs using the same proprietary software that I just collected data on. I am not limited to almost-office software, at the mercy of what is (or more appropriately what is not) available for my ARM-based device and can even bring along a full ergonomic keyboard if I wish. Further, when I am flying out, I can prepare my data collection software so that when I arrive I am not scrambling to meet the always over-optimistic "we're going to start up this afternoon" hopes, because you know how bad critical path is during a startup.
    Reply
  • perry1mm - Saturday, March 30, 2013 - link

    Oh, and to add with your last couple of comments...you must be the one smoking pot if you think this would be $500-600 with a controller grip. Are you f***ing serious, lol. That barely gets you an iPad, Surface RT, Nexus 10, or a laptop with s*** specs. To say it should be that price WITH the controller grip is absolutely asinine.

    And YOU don't see the appeal, but for someone like myself that travels regularly, is on-the-go for work almost everyday where I spend an hour or two sitting down in various locations, travel regularly for family, vaca, or just to get away with my wife for the weekend, it is perfect. The tablet versatility, performance when needed and I can plug in, plus the small profile for easy carrying/storing/space-use constraints, it really is awesome.
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now