At last year's Consumer Electronics Show, gaming peripheral maker Razer debuted Project Fiona, a PC gaming tablet concept with a pair of control sticks affixed to the side. It looked ridiculous, but there was promise there. That promise is realized this year in the Razer Edge, a full-featured, crowd-sourced gaming PC with the form factor of a tablet, shipping soon and starting at under $1,000. You won't believe what they've packed inside this thing.
Razer promised a Fiona-like product out by the end of last year, but that was before the company opened up the design of the device to the people most important to the product—PC gamers. Thanks to the interaction of players via Razer's Facebook page and community website, Project Fiona transformed from an interesting idea to a drool-worthy piece of technology.
For starters, they got rid of those stupid handles. Well, not entirely.
The handles, with their oddly-placed buttons and analog sticks, have been replaced with an optional dock, giving sensible people the ability to skip the silliness altogether, while those keen to sit in Starbucks pretending they are driving a black rectangle can spend $249.99 for the privilege. Everybody wins.
Along with saving a little dignity, the sourced crowd was also instrumental in determining the final specifications and pricing of the Razer Edge. They told Razer the power they wanted and the price they wanted to pay. What they're getting is a Windows 8 tablet PC capable of running Dishonored on default settings at 59 frames-per-second, with models starting at $999.
Before we get to the innards, let's look at the outtards.
The Razer Edge features a 10.1 inch screen housed inside a tablet that's two pounds heavy and .8 inches deep. Weight-wise it's right in line with the Microsoft Surface Pro, with a bit more depth. It's not an ultra-thin tablet, but it's not incredibly beefy either.
The tablet will be supplemented by a number of docking stations. There's the silly stick dock, which we've seen. There's also a keyboard dock ($199), perfect for players of chat-heavy MMOs...
...and a docking station ($99) that adds USB ports and an HDMI-out, transforming the unit into a PC gaming console for your television.
The tablet by itself can run touchscreen-friendly games like Civilization 5, and if there isn't a way to connect a Bluetooth controller to it I'll be incredibly sad.
So the Razer Edge features plenty of ways to play; what sort of power are we playing with?
The standard Razer Edge (the $999) unit comes packed with an Intel Core i5 processor, Nvidia GT640M LE graphics, 4 GB of DDR3 memory and a 64GB SSD drive. If you winced as much as I did at that small amount of storage, then you'll probably be more interested in the Razer Edge Pro, with 8GB of memory, an Intel Core i7 CPU and either a 128 or 256GB SSD, starting at $1,299.
Compared to a traditional gaming PC the Razer Edge packs fair amount of power. Compared to any other tablet on the market, it's insane.
Razer has been trying to make PC gaming more portable for years now, and they've created some pretty far-fetched concepts and products in the process. Products like the Razer Blade, the $2,500 gaming laptop that sacrifices power for portability, which surprised its many naysayers by selling out at every turn.
Compared to the Blade idea, the Razer Edge is downright sensible. It's a gaming PC. It's a tablet. It's a Steam box. It's the future, and it's going on sale soon.