There wasn't much gaming to be done at the Consumer Electronics Show, which is a bit concerning when you consider just how much money electronic gaming makes these days. That said, there were some companies that made the trip, including peripheral makers like PDP and Turtle Beach. However, out of all of them, Razer stood out the most, mainly because they brought their new Edge gaming rig with them – an evolution from the gaming tablet prototype they showed off this time last year.
The Edge is a separate tablet, but it's best suited when it's snapped into a double-stick case, with two controllers strapped to the sides, jam-packed with analog sticks and buttons. This way, it functions almost like a mega-sized Wii U, but with a lot more comfort when it comes to precision and seeing the action on a bigger screen.
This tablet will come with two models, and depending which one you get, you'll be playing a Windows 8-supported device with either an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, both backed by Nvidia GeForce GT640M LE graphics. Judging by the two games we saw in action on the tablet – DiRT Showdown and Dishonored, both downloaded through Steam – it's definitely got some horsepower behind it.
DiRT was the first game we took a spin with, and outside of minor frame rate issues after several hours' of play into CES (a simple reset fixed that), the game ran as smoothly as it would on a gaming PC. Controls were second to none, supporting the analog stick and buttons like a pro as we wrecked cars and took the lead. What's more, with the right adapter (an HDMI out port that goes for around $99), you can play it on your TV and plug in a second controller, letting a friend join in the fun. We tried this with a racing session and, despite several car crashes (we just don't do well in the show), it was awesome.
Dishonored was up next, and though we only got a few minutes with this one, the game ran fairly well, though at a slightly diminished frame rate. The controls were still very fluid, especially when it came to slashing someone from behind and dumping their body to an army of waiting rats.
Other games will be supported over time with the Edge as well, including Far Cry 3 and various other hits, so don't worry about it being a one-hit wonder. Those of you with a vast Steam library will get a kick out of this.
As for technical prowess, the device looks and sounds great, but comes with one major drawback – battery life. It sits at around 1 hour of game time or two hours of general tablet use, though you can purchase an extended 40-watt battery to double that if you prefer. This does make the device more expensive – even more than its proposed $999-$1299 price tag – but you'll get the most mileage out of it possible this way. For that matter, you might also consider buying a keyboard attachment for it, so you can use it like a home computer, or for games that require MMORPG-style strategies.
Though the Razer Edge probably won't be for everyone, it's a savvy piece of technology that shows the company at its best, even with the somewhat diminished lifespan of battery. But hey, that's what you have a recharge cable for, right? Learn more (and pre-order your own) at http://www.razerone.com, and get ready for a new way to play this spring.