Razer Project Fiona Hands-On (CES)
It may be one of the most important tablet computers shown at CES this year, not because of a unique build and design, but because it’s made to play full-fledged PC games. Project Fiona isn’t your everyday tablet; in fact, its about as far as you can get from an iPad or Android tablet. And that, along with some high-end and completely secret hardware, is the secret sauce that may make Fiona worth forgetting about any other tablet coming out this year.
After all, don’t you want to have a full-PC running in a tablet?
Razer, the gaming peripheral company that has recently grown to manufacturing a high-end gaming laptop (the Razer Blade), is working on a 11″ gaming tablet that functions just like any other tablet – full touchscreen, built-in battery, etc. – except that it currently has Windows 7 Touch Edition and will eventually ship with Windows 8. Besides for that it’s a gaming laptop sans keyboard, with built-in gamepad controllers on both sides of the tablet. The design is a little clunky now, but it’s not set in stone exactly how it will end up.
In speaking with Razer, I asked about possible designs where the controllers are separate and/or attachable, and it’s currently something that the company is researching. The tablet itself is pretty thick at a full inch and fairly heavy too. It runs an Intel i7 CPU, full-power (not the ultrabook low-powered models), so it can be anything from 2.4-3GHz, though likely dual core. It will also have a high-end GPU, though it’s unclear which model it will have, likely an Nvidia 600 model, but without knowing what Nvidia is planning in the future for their GPU line it’s impossible to tell.
However, the plan is to release the tablet with Windows 8 for under $1,000, thereby making it a perfect gaming tablet that can potentially replace gaming laptops. Ironically enough, it would in a sense compete with Razer’s Blade laptop.
I played Space Marine at 720p (the screen display was actually 1280×800, which is strange because it looks like a widescreen display (16:9), but has a standard PC 16:10 resolution. The game ran smoothly, but the control setup was a bit strange. Like joysticks on the Playstation Move Navigation Controller or Razer’s own Hydra controller. Holding the entire device is…well, it’s big. Razer reps assured me that the battery will last at least 1.5 hours, which means that more basic functions like email and web-browsing should last much longer, especially if Windows 8 has significantly better power management functions as expected.
The game quality was great, and though I’d love to know what the settings were, that info wasn’t shared. Once again neither were the specs. Project Fiona is expected to fully release, likely under a new name, in Q3 or Q4 this year. But it’s also all experimental, so we’ll have to wait and see. Because if suddenly people can play on the go, and it’s under $1,000, there will be a line around the block to pick one up.