Handheld consoles are currently exploding in popularity. Between the Steam Deck, Logitech’s G Cloud streaming device, the ultra-affordable Abxylute, and the just-announced Asus ROG Ally, a new era of portable consoles and streaming-focused devices has arrived. The most unique device in the burgeoning category is the Razer Edge, an Android gaming handheld with detachable controllers. The Razer Edge aims to be the ultimate “do everything” portable device, part phablet, part cloud device and part high-powered gaming machine. There are some compromises along the way, but it’s the easiest handheld we recommend for anyone looking to get more out of their mobile.
At first glance, the Razer Edge looks like a big phone. There are two models, a Wi-Fi-only terminal and a Verizon Exclusive 5G version, but they can’t be used to make calls or send emails. Otherwise, at 6.8 inches, it’s slightly larger than most smartphones, but has all the features of an Android smartphone. It’s also thick, which is the first clue that it does more than it looks.
A lot of what makes the Edge impressive goes under the hood.It’s the first device to feature the Snapdragon G3X chipset, a mobile processor with active cooling built for gaming. . Compared to my Pixel 6, the Edge can play high-demand Android games longer on higher settings without going into a fireball.
Even if I tried, I don’t think I could make the edge overheat – and I tried. On black desert mobile I set the graphics to the highest setting (the one that warns that it will cause overheating) and waited for hours I played. After 90 minutes, the left side of the screen felt a little warmer, but it was hot. If you’re playing with the sound off, you can still hear the internal fans working, but it’s much quieter than both the Switch and Steam decks.
Mobile games are made to run on most phones, so overheating is generally not a big problem. For MMOs like Black Desert, MOBAs like Wild Rift, and open-world RPGs like Genshin Impact, the edge can make a big difference. There are many benefits to having such a high-performance device, as cooler temperatures mean more stable performance and longer battery life.
The included controller is the Razer Kishi V2, which was reviewed separately last year. I still think it’s the best mobile controller.I think the ergonomics could be better.Virtual controller mode allows you to assign controller inputs to onscreen buttons. This allows you to play Android games without native controller support.
It works well and the button mapping is simple and intuitive, but the functionality is rather limited. He can’t emulate one of the most common inputs in mobile games: tap and drag, so it really only works in games that have on-screen buttons. I’ve tried using a virtual controller with Pokemon Unite, and while it’s great for moving around and auto-attacking, movements that require holding down a button to aim (almost all) don’t work. Mobile MOBAs are not controller compatible as there is no way to tell the controller to hold and aim with the stick. Luckily, you can take the Edge out of the Kishi controller and hold it like a phone. This is a huge advantage over other handheld gaming devices.
By its nature of being both an Android mobile device and a handheld game console, the Edge comes with some compromises. The aspect ratio is the mobile standard 20:9, which is great for Android games and required for compatibility with Kishi, but otherwise not great. While streaming games with Geforce Now, Game Pass, or PlayStation Remote Play (which is perfect thanks to Edge’s Wi-Fi 6E support), many screens because almost all games are natively 16:9 space is lost. You can have more control over resolution settings via Steam Link, but 20:9 is a weirdly long aspect ratio that the game wasn’t designed for. Not only is more than two-thirds of the screen lost, but if the game has widescreen cutscenes, they are reduced to postage stamp size. Most emulators allow you to scale the image to fill the screen, but we do not recommend doing so.
That said, emulation is probably the best use case for Edge. Android is already a great platform for emulation, and Edge’s hardware is perfectly capable of running retro games. We tested some games notorious for poor emulation performance, like Super Mario Sunshine, but they all maintained high frame rates and consistent performance. Emulate all Nintendo consoles and handhelds up to Wii, as well as PlayStation, PS2, PSP and arcade games. My tests weren’t exhaustive, but Super Mario Galaxy 2 and his Kingdom Hearts: Birth by his Sleep are both perfect, so I have to assume this thing can emulate pretty much everything.
With or without a controller, between high-performance Android gaming, flawless cloud streaming, and a wide range of features that emulation offers, the Razer Edge sets itself apart from all other handhelds. Downsides like the non-standard aspect ratio and cramped controller didn’t stop me from using it every day to stream Game Pass and get used to classic games.Razer has moved on from the Razer Phone, but the Edge proves it was ahead of its time. I would gladly swap my phone for a device like this.As streaming and Android gaming become more sophisticated, the Razer Edge will only get better.
Next: Xbox’s Remix Controller is the future of video game peripherals