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Razer Edge vs. the competition: fight!

Razer Edge vs. the competition: fight!
Sean Buckley
Sean Buckley|@seaniccus|January 8, 2013 1:01 PM

Audacious claims are starting to become a standard component of Razer hardware announcements -- following the Blade's claim to the title of "world's first true gaming laptop" is the Razer Edge: "a full feature PC and the most powerful tablet in the world." It certainly has the full feature PC aspect down -- with an Intel Core i5 (or i7 for Pro) processor at its heart, the Edge is more of a modular Ultrabook than your run-of-the-mill tablet. Then again, that seems to be the Windows 8 slate trend, doesn't it? We pitted the Edge against some of the category's recent stars, including two other tablets, a slider and a full featured convertible laptop. Read on to see how it stacks up.

Razer Edge Microsoft Surface Pro Acer Iconia W700 Toshiba Satellite U925T Dell XPS 12
Pricing $999+ $899-999 $800+ $1,150 $1199+

Base Model: 1.7GHz Core i5 (2.6Ghz with Turbo Boost)

Pro: 1.9GHz Core i7 (3.0GHz with Turbo Boost)

3rd Gen Intel Core i5 1.7GHz Intel Core i5 3317U 1.7GHz Core i5-3317U 1.7Ghz Core i5-3317U / i7-3517U (up to 3.0GHz with Turbo Boost)
GPU NVIDIA GT640M LE Intel HD 4000 Intel HD 4000 Intel HD 4000 Intel HD 4000
Internal storage 64 / 128 / 256GB 64 /128GB 128GB 128GB 128 / 256GB
RAM 4-8GB 4GB 4GB 4GB 4-8GB
Screen size 10.1 inches 10.6 inches 11.6 inches 12.5 inches 12.5 inches
Screen resolution 1,366 x 768 pixels 1,920 x 1,080 pixels 1,920 x 1,080 pixels 1,366 x 768 pixels 1,920 x 1,080
Screen type IPS ClearType Full HD CineCrystal IPS TruBrite IPS with Gorilla Glass 400-nit display with Gorilla Glass
Weight 2 lbs 2 lbs 2.09 lbs 3.35 lbs 3.35 lbs

Reported 8 hours of tablet use and
2-4 hours gaming*

*while using additional 40Wh extended battery pack

42 Wh (estimated 4 hours) 4850 mAh, 54 Wh (7 hours tested) 38 Wh (5 hours tested) 47Wh (5:30 hours tested)
Rear camera None 720p 5MP 3MP none
Front-facing cam 2MP 720p 1.3MP HD webcam 1.3MP
Bluetooth v4.0 v4.0 v4.0 v4.0 none
Ports USB 3.0, 3.5mm audio, docking port USB 3.0, 3.5mm audio, MicroSDXC, Mini DisplayPort USB 3.0, Micro HDMI, 3.5mm audio USB 3.0, 3.5mm audio USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, 3.5mm audio
Keyboard Sold separately Sold separately Sold separately Built in Built in
Operating system Windows 8 64-bit Windows 8 64-bit Windows 8 64-bit Windows 8 Windows 8 64-bit
Availability Q1 2013 Q1 2013 Available now Available now Available now

Perched on the proverbial auction block, most of the Razer Edge's specs look strikingly familiar -- a 1.7GHz Core i5 (or i7, to match the XPS 12), 4-8GB of RAM and Windows 8. The crux of Razer's claim lies in the Edge's discrete GPU, the NVIDIA GT640M LE. Dedicated graphics aren't uncommon in laptops, but fully featured Windows 8 tablets are a brave new world -- most manufactures don't seem to be willing to risk the inevitable power drain the extra visual oomph demands. A quick peek at the battery category shows why: Razer's early battery estimates carry the caveat of an extended battery peripheral. Razer warned us that it has yet to put the internal power pack through its paces, but even in a best case scenario, the tax for high performance is evident: 2-4 hours of portable gaming, tops. This is hardly a surprise, of course -- fully fledged gaming laptops rarely fare better. Even the comparatively miniscule PlayStation Vita struggles to surpass three hours of non-stop play.

DNP Razer Edge vs the competition

So, is the Edge the most powerful tablet out there? Its dedicated GPU certainly outpaces the integrated graphics its competitors cling to, though it trades in a little screen real estate and visual fidelity for the privilege of calling itself a gaming rig. Even so, that 1,366 x 768 resolution will likely work in its favor, demanding slightly less from its GPU than it might if it attempted to render games in 1080p.

We'll tentatively give Razer a pass on this one -- the Edge Pro's 8GB of RAM and Intel Core i7 CPU can go toe to toe with the best Windows 8 slabs on the horizon, and its dedicated GPU closes the deal. The world's "most powerful" slate? Maybe -- we'll let you know how it holds up in the real world after stringing it through the Engadget review gauntlet. In the meantime, we'll keep our eyes peeled for a worthy contender -- after all, Moore's Law (and the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show) never sleeps.

Razer Edge vs. the competition: fight!