CES 2023: The Razer Edge 5G is impressive and path-breaking

Razer is tapping into the cloud/mobile/handheld gaming craze with the Edge 5G. It is a unique device, packed with a powerful Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 mobile chipset for native Android gaming along with 5G and Wi-Fi 6E support for on-the-go cloud gaming. I had a chance to try it out at CES 2023, and it’s the best iteration of this type of device we’ve seen. But it still loses on principle.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Razer Edge, it’s basically a phone that you can’t call or text with Razer’s Kishi V2 Pro controller. The controller isn’t the same as the $100 Kishi V2 you can buy now—it’s nearly identical, but Razer added haptics for the Edge. You can’t buy this updated version, but when I asked Razer if it plans to bring the Pro to market, the company left the door open.

The Razer Edge 5G gaming device sits on a table.

There are two versions available, one with fully Wi-Fi 6e and another with 5G and Wi-Fi through Verizon (Razer even says that if you add a line has a deal with Verizon). Make no mistake, though: You want the 5G version. Logitech’s average G Cloud gaming handheld only supports Wi-Fi, and 5G is the Razer Edge’s big selling point for true cloud gaming when you’re out and about.

And connectivity works great. Even on luxurious hotel Wi-Fi at CES, I was able to stream lego star wars the skywalker saga Without any hitch and without any delay. Cloud gaming has come a long way. i played something dead cells Even with its original Android port, and it looked great.

The back of the Razer Edge 5G handheld.

The screen helped a lot. The Edge 5G features a 2,400 x 1,080 screen with a 144Hz refresh rate. Android games don’t support 144Hz out of the box (developers need to enable it manually), but apps like Steam Link do.

For feel, the Razer’s Edge is top-notch. The Kishi V2 feels wonderful to use, and the overall package is much smaller than a device like the Steam Deck. Razer also has a niche area within the Android operating system. This includes your cloud gaming apps like GeForce Now and Xbox Game Pass, as well as native Android games like dead cells.

Anyhow, this hub is Razor Edge’s special sauce. Beyond your game, you can easily remap the controls, configure your haptics, and more. You still have a full Android experience out there, but the UI purpose built for the controllers is just missing for cloud and mobile gaming.

Button remapping on the Razer Edge handheld.

The main question is whether that hub is worth $400. Although Razer is confident that the Edge 5G is competing with handheld gaming devices such as the Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch, it is not. The Razer Edge 5G rivals the phone in your pocket. The only differences I can see between buying a Kishi V2 and buying the Razer Edge 5G are the nearly $300, haptics, and no ability to call or text on the Razer Edge.

There is no doubt in my mind; The Razer Edge 5G is the best version of this type of device I’ve seen, but it’s misguided from the outset when it comes to having more functionality in your phone. From Razer’s position it seems that an edge-like device saves battery life of your phone and gives you a dedicated platform for gaming. That’s true, but not enough to tip the scales based on what I’ve seen so far.

The price definitely doesn’t help. At $400, the Razer Edge 5G is competing with the Steam Deck to have access to Valve’s handheld without being able to play games natively — and it’s also $100 more expensive than the Nintendo Switch. If the idea behind cloud gaming is to provide a cheaper option for those who can’t afford a console or PC, then there’s no room for a device like the Razer Edge 5G.

Razor Edge handheld next to Steam Deck.

I enjoyed using the device for a while, and I would have no problem gaming on it for hours. But when it comes time to fork out the money, I’ll buy the Steam Deck or the Nintendo Switch, or even just a Razer Kishi, for my Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus. The biggest argument I can see for the Razer Edge is emulation – but once again, simply buying the Kishi and using your phone already solves that problem.

The Razer Edge 5G will release on January 26 via Razer’s website or Verizon.

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