Great Performance, Available 5G Connectivity and Detachable Controllers Make The Razer Edge a Versatile Gaming Experience.
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Thanks to the latest wave of handheld PCs such as the Steam Deck and the Ayaneo 2, taking your games with you has become much more convenient. However, these devices are not compact enough to fit into your pocket. With the advent of cloud gaming, a new breed of mobile machines like the Razer Edge has emerged, attempting to make things even more travel-friendly. Instead of relying solely on local performance, the Edge leverages Android for lightweight applications, while services such as GeForce Now and Xbox Cloud gaming provide the necessary computing power for more demanding games. Additionally, for those who cannot bear to be without access to their games regardless of location, a 5G-enabled model is available. Despite the relatively low starting price of $400, the question remains: is a cloud gaming handheld device really necessary or desirable?
The introduction of handheld PCs, such as the Steam Deck and the Ayaneo 2, has made it easier to take your gaming on the go. Nevertheless, these devices remain bulky, which makes it challenging to carry them in your pocket. The rise of cloud gaming has led to the development of more mobile devices, like the Razer Edge, that aim to enhance portability. Rather than relying solely on local processing power, the Razer Edge utilizes the lightweight Android operating system for simple applications. Meanwhile, cloud gaming services such as GeForce Now and Xbox Cloud provide the necessary computational resources for more demanding games. Furthermore, for gamers who cannot be without their games even while on the move, a 5G-enabled model is available. Despite the affordable initial price point of $400, the question persists as to whether a cloud gaming handheld is genuinely necessary or wanted.
Looks and Design
In contrast to Logitech’s competing game streaming handheld, the G Cloud, the Razer Edge boasts a unique two-piece design. The primary component is the Edge, which features a sleek matte black finish and a spacious 6.8-inch 144Hz OLED display. Additionally, the Edge is accompanied by a detachable controller that comes bundled with the device.
Upon first glance at Razer’s Edge mobile gaming device, gamers familiar with the company’s products will immediately recognize its gamepad, which bears a striking resemblance to the Kishi V2. In fact, the gamepad that accompanies the Edge is called the Kishi V2 Pro, which features the same button, trigger, and joystick layout as the Kishi V2. However, there are a couple of additional features that set the Kishi V2 Pro apart from its predecessor, namely haptic feedback and a 3.5mm audio jack, which is particularly useful since the only available port on the Edge is a USB-C connector. Another notable inclusion on the Edge is the microSD card tray, a welcome addition in a world where expandable storage is becoming increasingly rare.
On the other hand, the exterior design of the Edge is relatively simplistic, with a plastic body that is slightly larger and thicker than a Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. featuring a boxy frame with substantial bezels, making it more akin to a bulky slate rather than a smartphone or tablet. Stereo speakers are located on each side of the device, along with a few vents at the back for internal fans. To support live streaming while gaming, the Edge features a 5MP front-facing camera. Overall, the Edge’s design prioritizes function over form, with no RGB lighting or other flashy design elements that Razer is typically known for. One notable omission, however, is the lack of a fingerprint sensor. Without support for face unlock, users are required to enter a PIN, swipe, or password every time they unlock the device, which can be a bit tedious.
The Razer Edge offers a simple yet functional design, with a gamepad that is largely similar to the Kishi V2 but with a few added features. While the device’s exterior may not be as flashy as other Razer products, it still packs a punch in terms of functionality, with stereo speakers, internal fans, and a microSD card tray. The inclusion of a front-facing camera also makes it an ideal choice for gamers who want to stream their gameplay. As for improvements, it would be great to see Razer incorporate an in-screen fingerprint sensor in the next iteration of the Edge to enhance the device’s ease of use.
As you prepare to embark on your gaming journey, the Razer Edge offers an easy setup process. The gamepad expands to accommodate the Edge, and all you need to do is align the USB-C port on the right and let the controller snap back into place. To ensure the stereo speakers are not muffled, Razer has thoughtfully included small cutouts, and despite not being anchored on the left side, the entire setup feels relatively secure. Although there may be some wiggle room when you press hard enough, it is not a cause for concern.
Upon completing the initial setup, you are greeted with the Android 12 homescreen, which Razer has tweaked with green accents and a colorful wallpaper. You can launch games and services by tapping on their respective icons, but to take full advantage of the Edge, you must tap the button below the right joystick. This summons Razer’s Nexus app, which serves as a launcher for quickly booting into games and as a place to customize settings for the Edge’s controller remapping, live streaming, and haptic features.
One of the perks of the Edge is that it automatically detects games with controller support when connected to the Kishi V2 Pro. Therefore, in titles like Diablo: Immortal or Streets of Rage 4, you can easily dive right into the action. However, the Nexus app’s recent update now enables the Kishi V2 Pro to remap touchscreen controls to the gamepad’s physical buttons and joysticks, enhancing the experience of playing games like Genshin Impact and others that do not have official controller support. Activating the Edge’s touchscreen remapping can be tricky initially, but once you update the Nexus app in the Google Play Store and toggle on the accessibility setting to enable the virtual controller feature, it becomes more straightforward. Furthermore, the system saves the virtual layout when you exit, eliminating the need to repeat the process for each application.
When you launch a game, you will notice a semicircle icon at the top of the screen. Tapping it gives you access to a menu where you can map physical buttons to their respective virtual controls. It is a simple process that takes only a few minutes, but it only works when you launch a game via the Nexus launcher. Launching a game from the Android homescreen or the app tray will not activate it. Although this feature can improve accessibility for some titles, it does not address menu buttons that do not align with the game’s virtual controls. Therefore, stretching your fingers over to the screen may still be necessary. Additionally, the virtual controller feature does not enhance traditional mouse and keyboard games, so you may find yourself playing more standard Android apps or console games from Xbox Game Pass.
Despite its compact size, the Edge’s gamepad feels sturdy, with nice, clicky buttons and tight, responsive joysticks. The shoulders have bonus controls for Mouse 1 and Mouse 2, as well as additional buttons for taking screenshots, opening menus, or accessing the general Android settings. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Edge’s screen, which has big rounded bezels and an extra-wide 20:9 aspect ratio. The lack of additional vertical screen space can make the Edge feel cramped, particularly when attempting to use its small keyboard. The aspect ratio would have been better if it was taller, as it would have made almost every game look and play better. However, regular touchscreen apps like Marvel Snap may feel awkward in portrait mode due to the Edge’s wide width. Although it is challenging to make both landscape and portrait games play well on a mobile device, the balance feels off.
Although there is a version of the Edge with cellular connectivity, the current state of 5G coverage means peak speeds are not always accessible. Nevertheless, even on 4G
Before delving into the topic of performance, it is imperative to clarify the specifications of the Edge due to the existing confusion. Initially, the advertisements for both the standard Wi-Fi-only model and the 5G model stated that they have 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. However, Razer has since confirmed that the Wi-Fi version has only 6GB of memory, while the 5G version has the complete 8GB. Additionally, while some thought that the Edge’s Snapdragon G3x chip boasted an Adreno 730 GPU, it actually houses Adreno 660 graphics. As a result, the Razer Edge’s expected potency may not be as impressive in reality.
Testing reveals that the Edge has a multicore score of 3,410 in Geekbench 5, which is significantly lower than the new Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra’s score of 4,921. Furthermore, the Edge’s score of 1,424 in 3DMark’s Wild Life Extreme test pales in comparison to the Samsung’s score of 3,809. Essentially, the device’s performance is akin to that of a flagship phone from 2022, which is not particularly noteworthy, though it is certainly more potent than the Logitech G Cloud.
Nevertheless, it is crucial to note that if you stream games from the cloud, local performance is of little importance. The Edge possesses ample horsepower to ensure that games on GeForce Now and Xbox Live run seamlessly without stuttering. Additionally, I did not encounter any major issues while playing Android games like Genshin Impact.
On our local video rundown test, the Edge lasted over 14 hours, very impressive. While gaming, the battery life drops to around seven or eight hours, depending on the title. However, even when using cellular data, the Edge still outperforms its competitors with significantly longer battery life. This means that you can spend more time playing your favorite games without having to worry about running out of battery power.
Compared to the Steam Deck, the Edge has a clear advantage when it comes to battery life. The Steam Deck typically requires a recharge after three to four hours of use. With the Edge, you’ll have significantly more time to play before needing to plug in.
While the Edge is an excellent choice for gamers who need a long-lasting device, it does have one quirk to consider. While the controller features passthrough charging via USB-C, juicing it up that way is actually slower than plugging a cable into the slab itself. This means that if you need to recharge quickly, you’ll have to disassemble the Edge’s components, which can be a bit annoying.
If you’re looking for even faster charging speeds, Razer says the Edge can handle power adapters of up to 65 watts. Using the included 45-watt power brick, charging speeds top out at around 25 watts, which is still quite fast. However, if you want to maximize charging speeds, it’s worth investing in a higher wattage power adapter.
The Razer Edge is a device that offers decent performance and an included controller add-on at a starting price of $400 for the Wi-Fi model. With active cooling to keep thermals in check and Razer’s Nexus app, playing both touchscreen-only apps and more intensive games from the cloud is made easy. While the Edge may seem like a good deal, it is essentially a chunky phone with an add-on that can be purchased separately for $100.
If you already own a relatively recent phone with good performance, it may be wiser to buy the Android or iOS versions of the Kishi V2 instead. This way, you get all the benefits of a dedicated gamepad without having to manage and carry around multiple devices. Alternatively, investing the same $400 in a Steam Deck would offer a device that is slightly larger but has the capability to stream games from the cloud and play AAA games using local hardware.
However, if you have an older phone and do not plan on upgrading for a while, the Razer Edge could serve as a decent device until you do. Additionally, if you’re always on the go and can take advantage of a speedy cellular connection, the Edge 5G is a suitable fit for you. If you’re in search of a dedicated gaming device that isn’t your primary phone, the Edge presents an interesting value proposition.
Although the Edge can handle tasks such as emulation pretty well, it seems like a niche device to own for most people. Cloud gaming continues to gain popularity, but it doesn’t necessarily require a dedicated device for apps like GeForceNow or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. One of the advantages of cloud gaming is that it works on any modern device, regardless of specifications. While the Razer Edge is a passable first attempt, there is room for improvement as devices like this continue to evolve.