Handheld gaming is having a moment. The Nintendo Switch is dominating the market, but the Valve Steam Deck has definitely won some hearts and minds. There's also been a boom in cloud-based handhelds, like the Logitech G Cloud and the rumored Razer Edge 5G.
Well, the Razer Edge 5G is rumored no more. Razer and Verizon announced the launch (opens in new tab) of this cloud-based handheld today at CES 2023 and while we haven’t yet had a chance to go hands-on with the device, our first impression is somewhat mixed — but not negative.
Importantly, the Razer Edge 5G is not a phone, despite being exclusive to Verizon Wireless. It is a 5G cloud-gaming handheld console that runs on Android. Presumably, this could mean it just cannot make or take phone calls, but there may be some app limitations that we are unaware of as well. It seems odd to limit the device in this manner, given that at first glance the Razer Edge 5G just appears to be an updated Razer phone attached to a Razer Kishi V2 controller — which, admittedly, it basically is.
However, by focusing on making this a gaming device rather than a phone, Razer has managed to cram some impressive hardware under the Edge 5G’s 6.8-inch display. The Edge 5G runs on a brand-new Qualcomm Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 SoC processor optimized for gaming devices. It also comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, which should be enough given this will be a cloud gaming device. The 5,000 mAh battery is a welcome sign, though there’s no information about fast charging speeds.
The 6.8-inch display itself is also fairly impressive. It’s a 2400 x 1080 AMOLED display with a 144Hz refresh rate. While the resolution is on par with top-tier phones, the 144Hz refresh rate is something gamers won’t find on their smartphone.
The issue is the pricing. The Razer Edge is $359.99 with Verizon’s Device Payment financing or $599.99 retail price starting on January 26. You can get it for just $179.99 if you pair it with a new 5G smartphone and use Device Payment financing but, either way, you’ll likely need to pay for an additional 5G data line to use the device.
At that point, it may not be worth getting a device in addition to a high-end smartphone like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, which from my personal experience runs cloud gaming apps like Xbox Cloud Gaming relatively well on 5G and Wi-Fi. Or, if you want the ultimate handheld for gaming, the Steam Deck starts at $399 and is essentially a handheld PC rather than a cloud-gaming device.
Ultimately, hands-on testing of the Razer Edge 5G may prove that it is more impressive than it initially seems, but for now, it appears to suffer from being a bit too pricey for its limitations. In the meantime, make sure to follow along with all our latest CES 2023 coverage, including these nine gadgets from day two that you have to check out.