Dock and Keyboard

The docking station is pretty simple, just a wedge-shaped plastic part with a rubberized base that features a dock connector and two pins to hold the Edge in place. The back has a power connector, separate 3.5mm jacks for line in and audio out, an HDMI port, and three USB 2.0 ports. It’s worth stating this again, but the dock is actually the *only* way to get video out from the tablet. The lack of USB 3.0 ports is related to a bandwidth limitation for the dock connector and not a case of Razer being cheap with their port selection, though I’d still have liked to see at least one of the three ports be USB 3.0.

There are two primary use cases for the dock that I can see it serving pretty well – hooked up to a TV and Xbox controllers in what Razer calls “console mode”, as well as at a desk with an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Razer had a number of Edges set up as consoles at CES both in their booth as well as in their meeting room suite – they also announced the Sabertooth controller for Xbox 360 at CES, so it made for a nice two-in-one product showcase. It worked pretty well, though it’s worth mentioning that the displays were mirrored at 1366x768. This goes back to GT 640M LE being not suited at all to gaming at resolutions above that – running new games at 1080p on anything lower than a GT 650M can be a bit painful. But if you’re willing to play at the native resolution of the tablet and not the native res of the TV, it’s a pretty enjoyable way to game. I spent an evening with some of Razer’s marketing guys playing Dirt Showdown on a docked Edge hooked up to a 60” TV and a few Sabertooths, and the Edge acquitted itself well in this type of situation. If you just leave the dock hooked up to the TV and controllers, it’s really easy to just drop the tablet into it when you want to play.

The desktop use case is the other one where the dock is ideally suited. Connected to an external display and a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, it makes for a decent setup. This is one of the few tablets powerful enough that I could use it as a main day to day work machine, especially in the i7/8GB/256GB configuration I have here. Now, I’m not going to give up the M18x I’m currently using at my desk, but if you had to use a tablet as your primary machine, wouldn’t the Edge be very close to the top of your list?

The only remaining piece of the puzzle is the keyboard dock, which we saw displayed in very early preproduction form at CES. Back in January, it was a really rough build – the keyboard was tiny, there was tons of flex, the hinge was questionable, and the mechanism to keep it closed was a very high tech elastic band. Rough is probably understating it. I know that Min was using one during the show, but it looked like the primary intent of those hand-built preproduction units was to have the keyboard dock on display and not necessarily in a usable form. The final keyboard dock is slated for Q3, and will likely look pretty similar to the one shown previously (though with a substantially different latching mechanism). I feel like the keys will need to be bigger for the keyboard to be comfortable, and there’s enough number of perfectly good tablet-size keyboards out there for Razer to look at. I’d like to highlight, in particular, the Surface Type Cover and any ASUS 10.1” keyboard since, say, 2008, as good examples. Borrow liberally from those designs and it’ll be great.

In absence of the keyboard, I’ve turned to Microsoft’s Wedge mobile Bluetooth keyboard and paired it with the HDMI docking station to come up with a workable temporary solution for portable typing. When it arrives, the keyboard dock will be compatible with the extended 41.44Wh battery that works with the gamepad controller, offering a potential 10 hours of usable battery life in netbook mode. Given the pricing of the accessories we’ve seen thus far, I’d expect the dock to come in at no less than the $129-149 price range.

The Gamepad Performance
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  • randomlinh - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    This is how I envision a Steam box. Pick up and play anywhere... and if I have the time, dock it to a TV for big screen fun.

    Now I just need the price to cut in half....
    Reply
  • SR81 - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    ... except Valve has the intention of it being a $99 set top box that streams your games from your PC, just like the NVIDIA Shield without a screen. Reply
  • Mumrik - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    I have to assume this thing is for people looking to replace their normal stationary/laptop. Reply
  • Havor - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    Yeah still, but for a starting price of $999, this is actually NOT pretty good value.

    Come on $1000 for a heavy tablet, with only a 64GB SSD ware a big chunk will be used by the Win8 OS, and then $250 for the gaming grip.

    Even the Razor Edge Pro with a 128GB SSD and a i7 instead of a i5 would be at $1000 to high to be useful!

    Not saying that the price is to high for what it cost to make the tablet, I say the price is way to high for the real world value of the tablet, think whit a efficient Haswell CPU they could make something lighter and more useful.

    But unless they get the price down to around $500~600 with a included game controller grip, i dont see lots of people buying this overpriced tablet.

    And I wonder if the reviewer was smoking pot, or is this is a Infomercial, instead of a real review, because even do its a wonder of engineering, i don't see the appeal, and a product like this would only find buyers if it had the Apple logo on it!
    Reply
  • perry1mm - Saturday, March 30, 2013 - link

    I don't understand how you can say this is not good value. $1000 is not much if you're in the market for a laptop/tablet and are on the go enough to make it worth it...plugging in and playing games in a small profile for easy packing, carrying, and just general versatility, this is a dream come true.

    There are other options out there that I personally think are more feature rich and fit my personal use better in the same price-range and versatility, but even so the Edge fits the same type of device I'd want...and for comparable laptop performance you'd pay the same.

    I wouldn't need anything but the keyboard dock if I did get one of these, though I personally have the Vaio Duo 11 that play games great and is much better out-of-the box feature-wise, port-wise, and display-wise. Plus I got the highest spec'd one with 256GB SSD for $1300 after a promo and $100 credit back with the Sony Card.

    The main issue would be regular on-the-go battery life but if you can stretch it on power mode to get 4-6hrs, I think that is suitable, since anyone who is getting this should already expect to plug in for heavy game usage unless they're on a flight and want a couple hours of it.

    If they packaged the keyboard dock when it is available with the Pro i7, 256GB, 8GB RAM model, for $1500, it would probably be one of the best value gaming laptops for portability on the market.

    The Surface Pro with it's i5 and 4GB RAM is sorely lacking in performance. The only real downside for me is the resolution, as my Vaio Duo has spoiled me in that department and all the games I've played (DmC, HL2, Dota 2, WoW, Borderlands 2, Bastion, SC2, Portal 2, L4D2, FC2, and numerous others) all ran smoothly at 1080p if I turned down most settings and looked great at solid 30+FPS if not better.
    Reply
  • Havor - Saturday, March 30, 2013 - link

    " $1000 is not much"
    I am very well off, I am a supervisor in the offshore, and my wife is a deputy director of a local part of the national institute.

    Still i think $1000 is way to mouths for what you get in return, like i said, not saying that the price is to high for what it cost to make a device like this, saying if you wait 1~2 generations, you get way more for a lot less.

    This tablet falls in the category as the first LCD TVs, they ware around $5000 for a 40", and just like this tablet, the asking price was not to high for what it cost to make one, I am saying, you have to be a idiot to pay $1000~$1500 for something that will be outdated in 2 years by way better devices.

    "for $1500, it would probably be one of the best value gaming laptops for portability on the market."
    Got a ASUS G75VX for work, and a Transformer for on the road, ware i depending on use use the dock with, nut yeah i cant play FPS games on the Transformer, still there are lots of other fun games other the Angry Birds that i can also play on it.

    The G75 is a real desktop replacement, i can use when i am @work, I am "on the go enough" about +50% of the year, but i cant really see any real benefits over a normal tablet.

    "The Surface Pro with it's i5 and 4GB RAM is sorely lacking in performance."
    I never said the Surface Pro was a good deal, I say your a idiot or have to mouth money if you if you buy this, as you can be a early adopter of tech that is not ready for prime time, if you buy it anyway i and many others will think something of you, if you tell the total price of what you got in your hands.

    "you must be the one smoking pot if you think this would be $500-600 with a controller grip"
    Read correctly, i did not say the device was was overprices for the tech you get, i say the its just not worth it, as in 2 years from now you get the same for half the price and weight, whit 50% more powerk
    Reply
  • rviswas11 - Tuesday, April 02, 2013 - link

    i don't think you realise that the only in this thing that is going to get outdated in the next 2-3 years is the battery. as far as the performance goes even you anus will be outdated in the same time frame Reply
  • rviswas11 - Tuesday, April 02, 2013 - link

    sorry i ;meant asus. Reply
  • truthbeacon - Saturday, April 06, 2013 - link

    Again, it still depends on your perspective - As a consultant in a field where I am working the same places as you (and at the slope among other places which are out of touch with the world) and I never go anywhere without my $1400 (two years ago) SB slate.

    What you are glossing over with regards to value is that even when flying at the front, it is infinitely easier to get more work done with a tablet or slate pc because they take up so much less space (even this chunk). If you throw in the ability to do a good job of playing games for those exceedingly rare occasions when you don't have reporting or bureaucratic nonsense to deal with, you don't want to have to pull out a 15" {even ultrabook although they suck for gaming compared to ones with discreet cards} to do anything.

    Where the slate PCs come in at far handier than a tablet is that when I am leaving a site with a 6 hour flight to my next destination, I can pull out my slate and begin working on reports and generate graphs using the same proprietary software that I just collected data on. I am not limited to almost-office software, at the mercy of what is (or more appropriately what is not) available for my ARM-based device and can even bring along a full ergonomic keyboard if I wish. Further, when I am flying out, I can prepare my data collection software so that when I arrive I am not scrambling to meet the always over-optimistic "we're going to start up this afternoon" hopes, because you know how bad critical path is during a startup.
    Reply
  • perry1mm - Saturday, March 30, 2013 - link

    Oh, and to add with your last couple of comments...you must be the one smoking pot if you think this would be $500-600 with a controller grip. Are you f***ing serious, lol. That barely gets you an iPad, Surface RT, Nexus 10, or a laptop with s*** specs. To say it should be that price WITH the controller grip is absolutely asinine.

    And YOU don't see the appeal, but for someone like myself that travels regularly, is on-the-go for work almost everyday where I spend an hour or two sitting down in various locations, travel regularly for family, vaca, or just to get away with my wife for the weekend, it is perfect. The tablet versatility, performance when needed and I can plug in, plus the small profile for easy carrying/storing/space-use constraints, it really is awesome.
    Reply

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