Another year sees another blood-rushing, vampiric, energy-draining Consumer Electronics show, come and go. There was a ton to see and a lot of incredible innovations. We spoke about show themes in other pieces from this past week. One of these is mirrored from last year and that’s “tablet PCs”. Expect larger and smaller touch friendly slabs to be available with peppered releases over the year’s duration. Yet none of these tablets are as eye-catching–and ambitious as Razer’s freshly unveiled Razer Edge Pro gaming tablet.
Astute readers will recognize this new gaming window. It’s Razer Fiona transformed! James got some hands-on time with the Fiona at last year’s CES show, while Christen is piecing together his editorial for the Razer Edge Pro, which he made sweet love to while visiting the Razer booth in Vegas. In the interim, I wanted to highlight the major elements that distinguish the Razer Edge Pro mobile gaming device going to market from the experiment that was the Razer Fiona project.
Firstly, the Razer Edge Pro tempts with some irrefutably alluring features for PC gamers. This is a gaming-grade tablet genetically engineered using higher end components more often found in gaming-grade laptops. Pulling out all the stops, Razer is packing in an Intel i7 Dual core processor with its pipeline flushing Hyperthreading and 600m series mobile graphics processor. However, we knew much of this last year.
Razer Fiona Concept Shown at Last Yr. CES 2012
Still, many things have changed since we saw Razer’s young Fiona. One notion James inferred, remains true to PC gamers “After all, don’t you want to have a full-PC running in a tablet?” Because Razer Edge Pro is virtually that. So what changes exactly, have 365 days brought us?
At last year’s show the Fiona was running Windows 7 Touch version. At the time it was common knowledge Windows 8 would drop sometime Q3 2012, so not only were the Win8 innards expected, Razer had confirmed as much. But what version and would features be trimmed to only support the touch aspects of the OS..? Plus there was some talk of a “hybrid user interface”. Understanding discretion is the better part of valor, Razer conceded and conformed. The Edge Pro is running a full PC-worthy version of Windows 8 with its touch and familiar desktop features.
The display dimension is still 10.1 inches. But now we have an IPS panel that is capable of 1388 x 768 resolution, more familiar with laptops, instead of the 1200 x 800 we saw on the Fiona.
Console Style Controllers
Razer is pushing to marry all your gaming vehicles into a device that can bend and fold with your environment. Remember those fixed controllers that protruded out on the Fiona? They uglied up the device something nice. Also how would you tout this supposedly “mobile” device with those in the way? They have been converted to function as an attachment and completely optional, which is such a relief.
Getting rid of the mandatory controller scheme was a smart move. It paves the way for several peripheral options for the Razer Edge Pro, which the Fiona could never enjoy. One is the removable gamepad controller attachment mentioned. The other is a docking station. This brings great functionality to your Edge. It adds 3-USB 3.0 ports, HDMI port, mic-in/stereo-out ports. With the dock you have a standard desktop setup where all your favorite gaming peripherals, keyboard, headsets and controllers are welcome. With this multiplayer gaming right there on the Edger Pro is a real thing, with split screen and multiple controllers
A keyboard dock is yet another accessory. The keyboard dock instantly turns your Edge Pro into a traditional laptop. This dock enhances the sound of the Edge Pro’s built-in speakers through the use of a direct-reflective acoustic chamber.
We were never sure what the final retail price would be. Some of us speculated on versions of the Fiona with different specs and price points. But it was understood by all, Razer was pushing for a gaming tablet that slid under the relatively low $1000 limbo bar. That’s a dance not many can pull off with skill and quality, and Razer seems no better equipped. The Razer Pro Gaming Tablet final MSRP is $1299.99 exactly. That doesn’t mean cheaper models can’t follow this entry.
Many of the specs were completely unknown. So it’s nice to have the full detailed list before us now. But the first thing I did notice, was it looks like Bluetooth support has received its walking papers. Let hope that’s not true forever, especially if this becomes a line of variously spec’d products, so maybe Bluetooth can make a return.