Just get a Kishi V2 for your phone

The future of game streaming is uncertain, even with companies like Microsoft and Nvidia putting their weight behind it.

While game streaming handhelds are a relatively new category and certainly a luxury, they still make sense. There are advantages to using dedicated handheld hardware instead of your phone and a Backbone One, and if you own an Xbox, you’re more than likely already subscribed to a large library of streamable games.

Last year’s Logitech G Cloud Gaming handheld was designed to take advantage of this, packing some pre-installed web apps onto an Android-based Switch clone and allowing you to play console, PC and Android games on the go. It was overpriced, a little underpowered, and lacked a way to stream games if you weren’t around Wi-Fi, but it was a good first pass.

The $399.99 Razer Edge and $599.99 Edge 5G are even more expensive than the G Cloud, and an attempt to fill in the gaps that Logitech’s device missed. It comes with a more powerful Snapdragon chip, optional 5G, and a design that’s theoretically more future-proof should Razer decide to release a sequel. The problem is that all of these additions introduce a host of new quirks to Razer’s offering, some of which could turn off the game streaming curiosity the company is trying to attract.

A little too modular

After briefly trying out the device at CES 2023, my second, longer introduction to the Razer Edge 5G – the Inverse version was sent for review – was a disappointment. Not because the device seemed less powerful outside the safe confines of a Las Vegas hotel room, but because it was loud as hell.

When I first turned on the Razer Edge 5G, I was greeted by the loud whirring of the tablet’s fan. And it’s really loud. That’s not the gentle hum of a Nintendo Switch pushing its limits when playing Pokémon Scarlet, that’s Launch Steam Deck-loud. After setting up the device and going to the home screen, things would cool down and the fan would only turn on occasionally, but when it did it was noticeable.

To be fair, the Razer Edge is probably difficult to cool. Without the Razer Kishi V2 Pro controller, the Edge is basically a very slim Android tablet with a slightly curved back and some cutouts that act as fan intake and exhaust. On the front of the device is a 5-megapixel selfie camera and a touchscreen with oddly rounded corners that don’t match the device’s sharp corners. On the sides are volume and power buttons, a SIM card slot, and a single USB-C port for connecting the controller.

The Razer Edge 5G consists of two components: a 5G-equipped tablet and an updated version of Razer’s Kish V2 controller.

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Photography by Xin Xin

It’s a strikingly compact little package that, in my experience, runs a powerful piece of silicon. When the Razer Edge was announced, it was the first device to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon G3x Gen 1, a dedicated mobile gaming platform the company developed for Android-powered handhelds and game-streaming devices. It definitely runs hotter than the Snapdragon 720G that powers the Logitech G cloud handheld, but it’s better able to run graphically intensive Android games like Genshin Impact or console ports like XCOM 2, and it supports 5G. Below you can get a better idea of ​​the internals of the Razer Edge and Edge 5G:

Specifications of the Razer Edge

Chip: Qualcomm Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 Display: 6.8-inch, 2400 x 1080, 144 Hz AMOLED Memory & Storage: 6 GB LPDDR5 RAM + 128 GB SSD or 8 GB LPDDR5 RAM + 128 GB SSD (on Razer Edge 5G) Camera: 5 Megapixel Battery: 5,000 mAh Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, 5G/LTE (on Razer Edge 5G)

Potential cooling issues aside, the Edge’s modular design has some real advantages – should Razer decide to capitalize on them. Since the controller is fully detachable, a future “Kishi V3” controller could easily be swapped out without purchasing a whole new Razer Edge. In theory, if Razer releases an Edge with a newer Snapdragon chip, it could sell the device without a controller if you just want to upgrade to a newer tablet.

I’d probably want to try a new controller, because while the Kishi V2 Pro is a dramatic improvement over the original Kishi, it’s a bit too small for my taste (or comfort). It’s got all the click buttons you’d expect and some I didn’t have, including a dedicated Razer Nexus button for bringing up Razer’s app launcher, and M1 and M2 buttons next to the triggers that can be reassigned to any button press you want. The main issues with the Kishi V2 Pro are its size and the significant amount of battery power it drains from the Edge tablet when not in use.

The Razer Edge survived a day of standby time when not connected to the Kishi, but that was noticeably shorter with the controller connected – I finished the day at 15 percent but only played on the Edge for about an hour. If you play games regularly throughout the day, this might not be a problem. With a mix of streaming and Android games, you’re sure to get some daily value. But do it all over 5G, and you’ll need a battery pack handy.

Overall, the Razer Edge’s setup isn’t without its trade-offs, the first being that the Edge feels far less premium than Logitech’s device or any other dedicated handheld. The two-piece design means you can use the device as an oddly shaped Android tablet when you don’t need a controller for gaming, but I’m not sure that’s worth the downside of having to carry two things instead of one to get around Battery saving for everyone.

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The current state of game streaming

The Razer Edge’s fan is quite loud.

Photography by Xin Xin

The irony of releasing a streaming handheld in 2023 is that the category as a whole continues to shrink, especially if you’re only interested in playing games. Stadia officially announced its shutdown plans days after announcing the Logitech G Cloud last year, and I remain convinced we could see another service like Amazon’s Luna shutting down before the end of 2023.

Yes, the Razer Edge can still stream from its own hardware via Steam Link or access a virtual PC using Moonlight or GeForce Now. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is also available via a web app. But increasingly, access to the Google Play Store games library seems just as important as being able to stream well.

For the Edge, Razer tried to make both as simple as possible. The Razer Nexus app gathers your Edge’s gaming apps and services into an easily searchable, Netflix-style library. There are scrollable carousels of apps sorted by genre, hand-curated by Razer to include those that take advantage of controller support. This is a big help as you still can’t search the Play Store for games with controller support. You can also use the Nexus app to set up virtual controller support for apps that offer onscreen controls but do not recognize the Kishi V2.

It all sounds great on paper. In practice, it’s very rough around the edges. The Nexus app is barebones, basically a collection of rectangular app images on a black background. There is a sub-menu for accessing settings, the virtual controller and updating your Kishi V2, but that’s about it. The number of apps that Razer has confirmed offer controller support is very small, probably smaller than reality. It’s a complex issue, the Backbone app doesn’t list everything on iOS, and Valve hasn’t identified every game that can theoretically be “Deck Verified”. But if it can’t feel more inclusive and the beta version of the virtual controller feature doesn’t work in every app – which it did in my testing – then I think the Nexus app should focus on something else.

The Razer Edge plays Android games well.

Luckily, in my experience, the Razer Edge plays Android games well. The fan turned on during longer sessions with more demanding games like Genshin Impact and Diablo Immortal, but I rarely noticed performance issues otherwise. An exception and I’m not sure if this is the Razer Edge’s fault or more of a developmental issue, but cutscenes in Final Fantasy IX stuttered regularly. Just choppy.

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Surprisingly, I had a smoother experience just streaming games via GeForce NOW and Xbox Cloud Streaming. There was the occasional artifact, but nothing that slowed down my gameplay or prevented me from understanding what was happening on screen. My home internet has proven reliable for the most part and I’ve had a strong Verizon 5G signal, but your mileage may vary. While I didn’t get consistent 4K streams, faster games like Fortnite and Atomic Heart were super playable.

The bigger issue I had, however, was the Razer Edge’s 20:9 aspect ratio, which consistently left games I streamed and even some Android titles with dramatic black bars down the sides. I’m not sure why Razer decided to make the Razer Edge so narrow, but it does make it an odd fit for games designed for 16:9 TVs, something you might think a console designed for streaming games, maybe should plan .

Should you buy it?

The Razer Edge 5G feels a lot more beat up than I’d imagine.

Photography by Xin Xin

The Razer Edge is an odd duck. It’s a relatively powerful device in a package that feels more thrown together than I think it should be. It’s hard to believe the tray half is so boring; Razer not long ago created the excellent Razer Phone and Phone 2. The detachable Kishi V2 controller is one potential place where buying a Razer Edge or Edge 5G could guarantee longer life than a competitor like the Logitech G Cloud, but I personally wouldn’t bet on that. It’s not that you can’t buy a Kishi V2 for your phone and play Android games or stream PC/console games like you can with the bundled Razer Edge.

5G support is what makes the Razer Edge stand out, but unless you already have a Verizon account, it’s unwise to say that you should only sign up for your handheld. At nearly $600 each with Verizon’s discounts, buying a Razer Edge 5G for the option to sign up for the service in the future also seems pretty wild. The base Razer Edge might be more versatile than Logitech’s handheld, but I think if you’re just interested in game streaming, the $350 Logitech G Cloud offers more bang for your buck. Or just buy a controller for your phone.

There’s bound to be someone who appreciates the Razer Edge’s design and its added capabilities, but much like its screen, the Edge’s capability is narrower than it really needs to be to recommend it as a go-to handheld.