Razer's Project Fiona hands-on
The Fiona runs on a third generation Intel Core i7 processor and an undisclosed GPU -- Min's word was mum on the details, but he promised us it was something hot. And hot it was -- while in game, the Fiona's internals had a lot of steam to blow off. We almost didn't notice notice the heat, though -- the controller-handles on the tablet's flanks aren't just to help you increase your kill count, they also keep your hands from getting burned. The handlebars kept our mits away from them slate's heated rear. Min continued to remind us we were playing with a prototype, and that they were working closely with Intel to ensure the device was adequately cooled.
Min ran us through a brief game of Space Marine, it was playable, smooth and quite fetching. Fiona won't out eye-melt your dedicated gaming desktop, but our pupils flirted with liquefaction. Although Min-Liang told us the specs weren't final, the prototype slab has a native 1280 x 800, 10.1-inch display -- again, it won't compete with your dedicated setup, but on the small screen it still looks nice. Min said that the Fiona is ideal for gamers who want to jump from their desktop, to a more comfortable mobile for excursions -- saving their progress to the cloud from their home machine, and picking up the same game on the Fiona later on. Sounds great, but just how long will a hardcore tablet last you in the great outdoors? Min told us to compare it to an Ultrabook -- he couldn't give us official estimates, but said that he wouldn't be surprised to see the final product last 2-3 hours. That seemed short, but then again, its no worse than the PlayStation Vita's playtime, is it?
Although Fiona is under development, Min-Liang seems confident it will start shipping in the latter half of 2012. It may have accessories, too. Despite it's gamepad and touch centric design, Min told us that it won't be closed off to any of Razer's other products -- suggesting that Fiona docks and accessories will open the Windows 8 slate up to a more traditional computer interface.
The Fiona's been under wraps for awhile, and is approaching its proposed release window quickly. Unlike the Switchblade, Min told us, project Fiona is a prototype being designed for the market, and not a concept device. Expect to see it, he said. We will -- its an intriguing, bold take on tablet gaming. We're not sure how we'll like the handlebars while web browsing, or checking email but we'll give it the benefit of the doubt for now -- or at least hope the final rig's controllers are detachable.