PC gamers who are still humming and hawing over whether the Razer Edge gaming tablet is worth your hard-earned dollars: the latest news from Razer may just seal the deal for you. The company announced at GDC in San Francisco today that Steam software from Valve will come preloaded on the Edge and Edge Pro, so you’ll be able to play all the games on your Steam account on this Windows 8 slate.
Steam has a library of over 2,000 new and retro titles (often at great discounts), and more than 40 million users around the world. With Steam pre-installed on the Edge, you’ll be able to quickly load your games on the tablet so you can maximize your time slaying dragons or zombies. You’ll also be able to play your PC games on your big, high-definition television thanks to the slate’s home console mode and its support for Steam’s Big Picture feature. All you have to do is hook up the Edge and your HDTV with an HDMI cable, and you’ll be able to game with your buddy on the couch.
But how will you play your keyboard-and-mouse games on a device with a 10.1-inch touchscreen? From what the Razer rep told us, Windows 8 is smart enough to automatically port some basic mouse controls into touch controls, so most games will work just fine with your finger. That said, you won’t be able to move as quickly through a game than if you just plug in a mouse or a controller into the Edge’s USB port. For example, he was able to open up SimCity and start building roads with his finger and pan around his city, but it was slow going. Alternatively, you can pair the Edge with a Bluetooth keyboard, or buy an optional keyboard dock from Razer (the latter of which won’t be ready until Q3).
Available in two configurations, both the Edge and Edge Pro are designed to handle the latest AAA titles, and probably with better performance than most mainstream computers. That’s largely because both slates are equipped with Nvidia GT640M LE discrete graphics, when most computers just offer integrated graphics that can hardly play SimCity. Additionally, tablets like the iPad are geared for mobile games like Angry Birds.
Beyond the Edge tablets’ gaming capabilities, they’re powerful, full-fledged Windows 8 devices, which means you’ll be able to run most computer software like Office or Photoshop. The $1,000 Edge has an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB RAM, and a 64GB solid-state drive. The more expensive Edge Pro is powered by a 1.9GHz dual-core Core i7 processor, 8GB RAM, and a 128GB SSD, but will set you back $1,300. If you prefer a device with more storage capacity, Razer is also retailing a slightly pricier Edge Pro with a 256GB SSD for $1,450.
North American customers who pre-ordered the Edge earlier this month should be getting their Edge slate some time this week.