Battery Life and Mobile Gaming

This is the section that probably will garner the most scrutiny. The Edge comes with a 41.44Wh battery, and in normal usage situations, it does about as well as one could expect from an Ivy Bridge-based tablet. Surface Pro comes with a similarly sized battery, and we saw pretty similar runtime from the two tablets (Surface Pro, on average, had about 15-20 minutes more life in any given test). Considering that IVB ultrabooks don’t fare too much better (or, in some cases, significantly worse – looking at you Acer) I guess it’s hard to complain here; until we see Haswell and its significant idle power reduction later this year, ARM and Clovertrail tablets are going to slaughter IVB tablets in this category.

Battery Life 2013 - Light

Battery Life 2013 - Medium

AnandTech Tablet Bench 2013 - Web Browsing Battery Life

Video Playback - H.264 720p High Profile (4Mbps)

There’s an additional wrinkle with the Edge – the mobile gaming aspect. I broke down the typical gaming power draw in the introduction, and it’s worth bringing back up: pair a 17W CPU and a 20W GPU, consider that almost no reasonable workload will peg both at the same time, toss in loads for the display, SSD, RAM, WiFi, chipset, and all the other auxiliary components, and a 40W total system draw estimate in gaming workflows is pretty reasonable. If you’re using the Edge in the gamepad controller with the extended battery, there’s a total of 82.88Wh of battery power onboard. This sets up a pretty simple equation to estimate the gaming battery life: 82.88Wh/40W = ? hours. Do the simple division, and you’re looking at a hair over two hours, which is where Razer’s “two hours of gaming battery life” claim comes from. (I had John Wilson, Razer’s VP of System Engineering, walk me through the math here, and he confirmed that 80 divided by 40 did in fact equal two.)

Naturally, a good amount of testing was in order, so I unplugged the Edge, went to a nearby coffee shop, and played Dirt 3 until the battery died. I did this multiple times in the interest of generating as much data as possible (I love my job.) I was initially planning on using a timedemo or looping a benchmark, but I thought it would be more fun to actually game on the Edge – I also needed some real world mobile gaming experiences, so it killed two birds with one stone.

I spent most of my time in Dirt 3 and Need For Speed: The Run. The latter isn’t part of our benchmark suite and it’s not the most recent NFS title (it was a holiday 2011 release), but the Cannonball Run-esque storyline intrigued me and I’ve been meaning to play through it for some time without ever getting the chance to do so. The Edge review just gave me the excuse I needed to get into it.

The two hour estimate is pretty fair, depending on brightness levels, power plan, and graphics settings I saw anywhere between 1:45 and 2:30 in the newer games. I also fired up Quake III: Arena for curiosity’s sake, to see how much less strenuous a 12 year old game would be, and got 3:12 of playing time out of it. It’s worth noting that I wasn’t hitting network at all, either, so that’s another thing to consider.

In the “Balanced” power plan and a brightness of 200nits (55%), playing Dirt 3 with medium settings at the native 1366x768 resolution, the Edge lasted for 136 minutes (2:16) before running out of juice. That’s pretty much in line with what we expected, and lowering the brightness can help extend that. I wouldn’t recommend high or ultra settings due to the additional power draw, while the Power Saver profile throttles the GPU far too aggressively for smooth gameplay even at medium settings. The Balanced power profile and medium settings made for a nice compromise in mobile use cases.

Performance Thermals
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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....
  • 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.
  • Mumrik - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    I have to assume this thing is for people looking to replace their normal stationary/laptop.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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
  • rviswas11 - Tuesday, April 2, 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
  • rviswas11 - Tuesday, April 2, 2013 - link

    sorry i ;meant asus.
  • truthbeacon - Saturday, April 6, 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.
  • perry1mm - Saturday, March 30, 2013 - link

    Oh, and to add with your last couple of 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.

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