Razer Edge 5G Review: peak cloud gaming, anywhere
I’ll admit, The Razer Edge 5G wasn’t quite what I imagined it to be when Razer first teased it last year. What I thought would be a gaming handheld more akin to Logitech’s G Cloud, turned out to be a gaming tablet bundled with a Razer Kishi V2 Pro controller. It’s still a gaming handheld, but not one solid unit like I thought it was going to be.
Turns out, though, that this is a good thing. Because Razer packed the Edge 5G (and the Edge Wi-Fi) with some powerful enough components to handle demanding mobile games too. And in my personal experience, these are almost always better with touch controls. And it’s a lot easier to use those touch controls on a tablet device than on something like the G Cloud. Which does also have a touchscreen. The Edge 5G is in all honesty, one of the coolest gaming devices the company has released in years.
Yes, it makes some great keyboards, and its gaming laptops are usually top-notch if you can get over the insanely high price tag. But those are more of the same. More of something Razer has been offering for years. Newer models of hardware it releases on an annual basis. The Edge 5G, is a new gaming device category for the company if you don’t factor in the original Edge from over a decade ago – a handheld gaming PC. It is however a similar idea. Even if it’s meant for cloud gaming as opposed to local PC gaming.
I’ve been using this thing for over a month and I absolutely love it. And it’s been the sole reason I’ve gotten back into games like Control, because it plays so well on mobile via GeForce NOW. And that AMOLED display really does amp the visuals up. Is Razer’s Edge 5G really all it’s cracked up to be though?
The Razer Edge 5G gets a big boost from Verizon
Razer’s execution of the Edge 5G (in partnership with Verizon) is what really makes the device a compelling piece of hardware. But Verizon is doing some heavy lifting here. Unfettered access to your cloud games no matter where you are. Although, you are still limited in some ways. If you don’t have Wi-Fi access, you’ll need to rely on Verizon’s 5G mobile internet. Which, can also sometimes be spotty. If it’s not available in your area, then the device defaults to 4G LTE. Which isn’t exactly a great experience for cloud gaming.
Some areas of my apartment will get a 5G connection just fine while others, 4G LTE is the only option. And after many attempts to play games using the LTE, it’s become clear that it just doesn’t have the speed or reliability to make cloud gaming work. That being said, if you can connect the Edge to 5G, gaming is great. And in most of my sessions over mobile internet, I didn’t experience any dropped connections and visuals were just fine.
I will say though that it still did seem to perform a little better over Wi-Fi. And if you’re using apps like Steam Link, you’ll need to be on the same network as your PC anyway. But when you can play games using the 5G connection, it’s a pretty surreal experience. Being able to sit in traffic (not while you’re the driver of course) and play games you’d normally play on your PC or console at home.
While the Verizon 5G support isn’t the only notable part of this device, I really feel like it sets the Edge apart from the G Cloud, and any other similar devices that may come out in the future.
Better performance means less battery life
It’s the unfortunate way of things. The Edge 5G has a great display. Which helps games look more vivid. But that higher resolution display and faster frame rate do cause the battery life to take a hit.
This is only amplified with the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 mobile platform inside. It’s a more powerful chipset that delivers better performance in games like Genshin Impact. But that also means an increase in battery drain. I was getting around 7-8 hours of battery life on average. Which isn’t terrible but it’s only a little more than half of what you get on the G Cloud.
You’ll have to be ok with these concessions if you want the uptick in performance and the ability to play over 5G. Though honestly, that might be worth it if you want a device dedicated to just cloud and mobile gaming. And that’s not really a bad thing to want if you want to keep games off of your phone for the most part.
Just like with gaming phones, you’ll also notice that the better performance does lead to a warmer device, albeit not by much. Though I think Razer also does a pretty good job here with the Edge’s cooling tech. Also worth noting is that while I did notice the device getting a little warm from time to time, it didn’t get nearly as warm as the ROG Phone 6 Pro can. And I never really had any issues with the Edge 5G’s fans spinning up.
When it comes down to it, 7-8 hours of battery life is going to be more than enough for some gamers. And if you need to you can always keep it plugged in for the passthrough charging.
The design is undeniably Razer
Razer’s products have a defining look. A style that hasn’t changed a whole lot in quite some time. And really, there’s nothing wrong with that because why fix what isn’t broken? When it comes to the style of the Edge 5G, I’m comparing it more to the likes of Razer’s gaming laptops. And in the past, its phones and older Edge tablet that ran on Windows.
It’s a box slab with very subtle rounded edges and draped in a matte black coating. And if you’re a fan of this look (I certainly am), you’re going to love the look of the Edge 5G. Because it carries that same design. Thankfully, there’s no Razer Chroma RGB here. Don’t get me wrong. I love Chroma RGB. But there’s a time and place for it. And I just don’t think it’s necessary to have on this kind of device.
On a gaming laptop, sure. Because you’re sort of meant to play games on a laptop while it’s plugged in. Where the RGB isn’t going to impact the battery life. However, the Edge 5G is intended to be an entirely mobile device that is much more portable than a gaming laptop. And Chroma would just eat up power.
Plus, you wouldn’t really be able to show it off most of the time anyways. If you’re using the Edge 5G for its intended purpose – cloud gaming – then it’ll be nestled in between the two sides of the Kishi V2 Pro. And the only logical place to have Chroma would be on the tri-snake logo that gets covered up.
Chroma aside, the Edge has a sleek look to it whether it’s sitting in the Kishi V2 Pro or not. And it’s fairly comfortable to hold. Though I will admit I do think the G Cloud is more comfortable for longer gaming sessions, as there’s just a little less to hold onto with the Razer Edge 5G’s setup.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room – the price
Look, at $599, the 5G model of the Razer Edge is not cheap. That’s essentially the cost of a new phone. Which you could also use for cloud games, Android games, and slap into a Kishi V2 controller if you wanted physical controls for some of them.
But there’s still something to be said for having a dedicated device for handheld cloud gaming that isn’t your phone. Especially if you want a less powerful phone mostly for calls, texts, photos, and the occasional internet browsing. The Edge 5G serves the purpose of being a powerful Android tablet that can play demanding mobile games and cloud games. All without having to drain down the battery life of what is essentially your lifeline these days.
Again, though, $599 is a lot to ask. And I think Razer and Verizon know that. It doesn’t mean that’s going to impact their decision on the price point. Just that they’re aware of the price tag being costly and being confident that it’s worth it. In my opinion, the Edge 5G is certainly a niche product. Cloud gaming, despite it being pretty darn good these days, is still new. And there’s more work to be done to make it a more seamless experience comparable to local PC and console gaming.
But there are going to be people who want a device like this. And are willing to pay the premium if it means they can play cloud games anywhere thanks to Verizon’s 5G internet. So yes, $599 is a lot, but if you do want to play cloud games and not use your phone for it, you might as well do so with the best option out there. You can also get the Razer Edge 5G for as low as $10 a month for 36 months ($360) if you sign up for a new line on Verizon, which makes it cheaper than the Wi-Fi model at full retail.
Should you buy the Razer Edge 5G?
I’m not going to sit here and pretend that this is a device everyone needs to have for handheld gaming. For many, in fact probably most, a smartphone with decent hardware components will be fine. Especially at this price tag. But don’t let that deter you if you want something made specifically for cloud gaming.
Razer and Verizon have created a great gaming handheld. And it’s definitely fun to use. That being said, the Razer Edge 5G isn’t worth it for some consumers. There’s just no reason to buy one if you already have a phone that plays mobile games with decent quality. And if your phone is also 5G, then you already have a device for cloud gaming on mobile internet too. For those who do want a separate device for this however, the Razer Edge 5G could be a great fit.
Buy the Razer Edge 5G if:
- You want a dedicated gaming handheld with 5G support
- You live in an area with a strong 5G connection or travel to one often
- The price doesn’t scare you off
Don’t buy the Razer Edge 5G if:
- Your phone is more than capable of handling local and cloud games and you don’t need a dedicated cloud gaming machine
- You don’t live in the US
- You don’t need the 5G support