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Razer Edge gaming tablet is Windows 8 laptop, console and 'Steam Box' in one

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

At last year's CES, Razer unveiled Project Fiona, a gaming tablet concept with dual analog sticks and a full complement of buttons, a touchscreen device with viable video game controls. Project Fiona is back at CES 2013, rebranded as the Razer Edge, a gaming tablet that has been reimagined and newly "designed for — and by — PC gamers," says Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan.

The new Razer Edge's new design was crowd sourced by PC gamers, Tan says. Razer fielded more than 10,000 emails and survey responses from its fan base, feedback that helped mold the new design of the Razer Edge.

According to Tan, PC gamers had three recurring requests: a tablet powered by an Intel Core i5/i7, a mid-tier, discrete GPU and a particular benchmark, to run Battlefield 3 on the go.

The result of that feedback is the Razer Edge, which Razer claims is "the most powerful tablet in the world." The Edge features a 10.1-inch multitouch screen, Bluetooth 4.0, one USB 3.0 port and a full Windows 8 operating system.

The gaming tablet will ship in two configurations, the standard Razer Edge and Razer Edge Pro. The base model is equipped with an Intel Core i5 processor, Nvidia GT640M LE GPU, 4 GB DDR3 RAM and a 64 GB solid state drive. The Razer Edge Pro comes with an Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia GT640M LE GPU, 8 GB DDR3 RAM and the option for a 128 GB or 256 GB solid state drive.

"It's a tablet. It's a PC. It's a console."

In addition to Razer's Windows 8 tablet, the company will release a lineup of accessories designed for playing the Edge in multiple configurations. The gamepad controller accessory offers the ability to play any PC game "out of the box" on a pair of analog sticks and programmable buttons, transforming the Razer Edge into a portable console-like device. An optional keyboard dock, which includes a built-in 40 Wh battery, turns the Edge into a laptop-style system for playing keyboard and mouse dependent PC games.

Razer will also release a docking station for the Edge with three USB 2.0 ports, one HDMI 4.1 port and stereo out. During our interview with Tan, he casually referred to the docking station as the Razer Edge's "home console dock," a means of turning the tablet into a dedicated gaming console or "Steam Box."

"It works beautifully in Big Picture mode," Tan said, emphasizing that the Razer Edge will run Windows games like Dishonored, Dirt Showdown, Skyrim and massively multiplayer online games without any sort of optimization or porting.

The Razer Edge is planned to ship sometime in Q1 2013 with retail prices starting at $999. Razer says it plans to sell a bundle featuring the Razer Edge Pro and the gamepad controller.

Razer plans to show the Edge gaming tablet at CES this week. Polygon will have hands-on impressions with the Razer Edge later today.

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