It’s an intriguing twist to pair a removable controller with solid performance and electable 5G connectivity.
Taking your games on the move has never been simpler thanks to the most recent generation of handheld Computers, like the Steam Deck and the Ayaneo 2. Nevertheless, those gadgets are not at all portable. Yet as cloud gaming has grown in popularity, emerging mobile devices like the Razer Edge are attempting to make things even more portable. The Edge runs Android for light-weight apps, but services like GeForce Now and Xbox Cloud Gaming give the processing capacity for more demanding games, as opposed to exclusively depending on local performance. There is even a device that enables 5G connectivity for individuals who can’t imagine their lives without constant access to their games. The issue is, though, even with a very low a $400 starting price, Do you actually need or want a handheld gaming cloud?
The Edge’s gamepad resembles the Blade V2 quite a bit, and anyone familiar with Razer’s other mobile gaming products will notice this right away. This is because it is essentially the same thing with a few minor modifications. The Razer V2 Pro controller, which is technically what comes with the Edge, has the same configuration of buttons, triggers, and joysticks.
The Edge only has a USB-C connector as its only port, therefore the two other features are some additional haptics and a 3.5mm audio jack. Despite this, you do receive a microSD card tray, which is a much-appreciated addition in a world when expandable storage is becoming increasingly rare. The Razer Edge is based on a two-piece design, in contrast to the G Cloud, Logitech’s competing handheld game streaming device. The Edge itself is a somewhat unassuming matte black slab that has a 6.8-inch 144Hz OLED display and a detachable controller.
The Edge’s exterior, meanwhile, is quite simple. Its plastic body is somewhat thicker and larger than a Galaxy S23 Ultra’s. This results in a thick slate that is neither quite a tablet nor nearly a smartphone in size when combined with a boxy frame and some very large bezels. Together with a few vents for the internal fans at the back and stereo speakers on each side of the device, additional features include stereo speakers. A 5MP front-facing camera is situated on the Edge’s long side to better facilitate livestreaming while gaming, which is another difference from a conventional smartphone.
The Edge is really simple to put up when it’s time to relax and play. The gamepad stretches to make it simple to fit the Edge inside, and all you have to do to have it snap back into place is align the USB-C connector on the right. Although not anchored in on the left side, Razer cleverly added a few small cutouts to prevent the stereo speakers on the Edge from sounding muffled. The complete configuration also seems reasonably solid. Yes, there is some wiggle room if you push hard enough, but I never worried that everything would crumble.
After completing the initial setup, you are presented with the Android 12 home screen, which has been modified by Razer and features a vibrant wallpaper and some green accents. By touching on their respective icons, you can start games and services from here as you would expect, but if you want to use the Edge to its full potential, you must tap the button on the gamepad next to the right joystick. This launches the Razer Nexus app, which can be used to customize settings for the Edge’s controller remapping, livestreaming, and haptics capabilities as well as a launcher for swiftly launching games.
One of the benefits of the Edge is that, when connected to the Kishi V2 Pro, it instantly recognizes games that enable controller input, allowing you to start playing Diablo: Immortal or Streets of Rage 4 right away. The Pad V2 Pro can also remap touchscreen controls to the gamepad’s physical buttons and joysticks, which is possibly more significant because it was made possible by a recent upgrade to the Nexus software. If you’re like me and prefer physical buttons to virtual ones, this makes playing games like Gershan Impact and others that don’t have official controller compatibility much more pleasurable.
Yet initially, the Edge’s touchscreen remapping can be a little challenging. This is so that new owners can manually update the Nexus app on the Google Play Store before turning on an accessibility setting to enable the virtual controller capability. Even then, I had to restart the machine a few times before everything began to function. The fact that this is a one-time step means that once you have it set up, you won’t need to repeat the process for each app.
An symbol in the shape of a semicircle will appear at the top of the screen when a game is launched. By tapping it, you can open a convenient menu where you can map actual buttons to the corresponding virtual controls. Depending on the game, it only takes a minute or two, and when you exit out, it even saves your virtual arrangement so you won’t have to do it again later. It’s vital to note that this only functions when a game is launched using the Nexus launcher. An icon won’t activate if you tap it from the Android home screen or the app tray.
This can greatly increase accessibility for some titles, but it is not a panacea. In addition to being in beta, the virtual controller feature doesn’t do much to fix issues like menu buttons that don’t correspond with a game’s virtual controls, which I encountered when playing Mega Man X Dive. Hence, you will occasionally need to extend your fingertips towards the screen. Additionally, although while the virtual controller capability might be quite useful, it doesn’t significantly improve games played with a mouse and keyboard. So, even if you can theoretically stream Civ 6 to the Edge from a close-by computer via the Steam Link app, the experience is still not fantastic. Finally, I thought this made sense.
Luckily, the gamepad on the Edge feels sturdy despite its small size. The joysticks are snug and responsive, and the buttons have a satisfying click. Even more controls for Mouse 1 and Mouse 2 are provided on the shoulders, along with extra buttons for menu access, screenshots, and basic Android settings.
The Edge’s screen, which has large, rounded bezels and an excessively wide 20:9 aspect ratio, unfortunately, cannot be regarded to be in the same category. The Edge can seem crowded due to the lack of additional vertical screen space, especially when using its absurdly short keyboard. My daily driver is a Z Fold 4 with a tiny keyboard on its outside Cover Screen, and I’ve made significantly more typos attempting to enter text on the Edge than I do on my phone. I truly wish Razer had chosen a higher aspect ratio because almost all games would look and play better with it. With the exception of standard touchscreen applications like Marvel Snap, where the Edge’s extreme breadth In portrait mode, it seems weird. It’s true that creating games that work well in both landscape and portrait orientation on a mobile device is challenging, but the balance is off.
Also, although I appreciate that there is a version with cellular connectivity, you don’t always have access to peak speeds because of the current status of 5G coverage. That’s okay, though, because unless you live in the middle of nowhere, your connection is probably fast enough for the most of things even on 4G. But when you factor in that and the fact that the 5G variant is exclusive to Verizon and costs $200 extra, I believe that the normal Wi-Fi-only device is a better choice for the majority of consumers.
Now, there has been some uncertainty about the Edge’s specifications, so I think it’s necessary to clear that up before we talk about performance. Initially, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage were listed for both the regular Wi-Fi-only variant and the 5G model. Razer has recently confirmed that the 5G version receives the full 8GB of memory while the Wi-Fi version only has 6GB. The Snapdragon G3x chip in the Edge, which some people also believed to have an Adreno 730 GPU, really has Adreno 660 graphics. This implies that the Razer Edge might not be as powerful as you had anticipated, which sort of translates to performance in the real world.
Local performance isn’t as crucial if you’re streaming games from the cloud, of course, and the Edge has more than enough power to keep games on GeForce Now and Xbox Live running smoothly and stutter-free. I had no significant issues playing Android games like Gershan Impact either.
The Edge undoubtedly outlasts heavier handheld PCs in terms of durability. It lasted more than 15 hours during our test of local video rundown (15:22). But, depending on the game, you may expect to play for closer to seven or eight hours when you’re gaming, and even less if you’re using cellular connection. Nonetheless, in the majority of cases, that is still much more than what a Steam Deck would provide (which typically conks out after three or four hours).
One oddity with the Edge is that, although having passthrough charging available through USB-C for its controller, charging it that way actually takes longer than simply connecting a wire into the slab itself. Using a USB power meter, I discovered that charging rates for the Edge using the 45-watt power brick that comes with the device top out at at 25 watts, but that rates drop to about 15 watts if you use the pass-through charging on the Kishi V2 Pro. True, this discrepancy might not matter much if you plug the Edge in overnight, but having to unscrew the Edge’s parts when you need to recharge it more quickly can be inconvenient. And according to Razer, the Edge can go much faster.
I’ll return to my initial query now. Do you actually require the Razer Edge? It’s actually a pretty good deal to get a device with performance comparable to one of last year’s flagship phones starting at $400 for the Wi-Fi model since it also comes with a controller add-on. Also, you get active cooling to help control thermals, and Razer’s Nexus software makes it simple to play both touchscreen-only apps and more demanding games from the cloud. So far, not too bad.
But, the Edge can also be purchased separately for $100 and is essentially just a big phone with an accessory. You also have the choice of either the Android or iOS versions of the Kishi V2 if you take the slab out of the picture. Therefore you’re probably better off doing that if you have a newer phone with high performance. With fewer devices to manage and take along, you benefit from all the advantages of having a dedicated gamepad. Or, you could spend the same $400 on a Steam Deck to have a somewhat larger device that can play AAA games and stream games from the cloud.
The Razer Edge, on the other hand, might be a respectable device to tide you over till you upgrade if you have an older phone and don’t have any immediate plans to do so. The Edge 5G might actually be a fantastic fit for you if you’re the kind of person who is always on the road and can really benefit from a fast cellular connection. The Edge also offers an intriguing value proposition if you really want a dedicated gaming device that isn’t your primary phone.
Yet as someone who is attempting to live with less electronics, I feel like these circumstances might be a little specialized. Emulation is one of the other jobs the Edge can accomplish rather well, but that’s more of an unauthorized use. In all honesty, the Steam Deck is also more effective at that. And while though cloud gaming is becoming more and more popular, I’m still not sure that most users of programmed like GeForce Now or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate require a dedicated device. While the Edge is a more than adequate initial attempt, I think there’s a lot of space for growth because one of the best things about cloud gaming is that it works on any current device regardless of hardware.