Though the interchangeable bunny- and bear-ear kitty Krakens kind of win my heart.
Razer's periodic fanfest, Razercon, is always good for a mix of product announcements, big and small. On the big front, the company finally revealed its long-teased gaming handheld, the Razer Edge; smaller notable bits include a limited-edition environmentally-focused watch, a collapsible blue screen for streamers, bear and bunny buddies for the kitty-eared Kraken and more.
Razer first teased its new handheld gaming console almost a year ago, and like most Razer concepts, the final shipping product as revealed at Razercon is almost nothing like the company's original vision -- and definitely nothing like the company's initial foray into portable gaming, the first Razer Edge in 2013.
The 2021 concept began as a Qualcomm-driven all-in-one device for cloud gaming and has evolved into a bundle of a Kishi V2 Pro controller (a step-up version of Razer's Kishi V2 snap-on phone controller) with a 6.8-inch Razer Edge Android tablet, essentially the Razer Phone if it had continued to mature rather than stagnate in 2018. Though Razer hasn't confirmed it will sell either piece separately post-launch, it's more than likely. At the moment they're treating the controller as a bundle with the tablet rather than the other way around.
There are two versions: the Razer Edge 5G and Razer Edge. The 5G model is available exclusively from Verizon; you can reserve Wi-Fi units at Razer.com. The Wi-Fi bundle will cost $400, which is a bit more than its direct competitor the $350 Logitech G Cloud. Both models are slated to ship in January 2023.
Both devices basically do the same things -- allow you to install and play Android games locally, stream them locally via Steam Link, as well as play cloud-based games via services like Xbox Cloud Gaming and GeForce Now. But based on the specs and my experience with the Kishi and a brief hands-on with the Logitech, Razer's device will definitely be far more premium. The G Cloud seems overpriced, especially relative to the Razer.
The Kishi V2 Pro controller adds two features lacking in the standard model. It has a 3.5mm pass-through connector so you can use a wired headset instead of Bluetooth, and adds Razer's HyperSense haptic feedback. Like the V2, it has a stiff, extendable back that lets it mount on both sides of the device, connecting via USB-C.
The tablet has a 6.8-inch, 144Hz OLED display intended for 1080p play (2,400x1,080 resolution), and as previously announced runs on a designed-for-gaming Qualcomm Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 with Android 12, 8GB LPDDR5 memory, 128GB storage, stereo speakers and a 5,000mAh battery. Both the 5G and Wi-Fi-only models incorporate Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2; the Verizon model adds Sub 6 and mmWave 5G. Altogether, the tablet and controller weigh 14.1 ounces (401 grams).
In addition to its Wi-Fi 6E and 5G support, the Razer also stands out for its streamer-friendly (well, more-than-usual streamer-friendly) design -- there's a webcam in the center of the tablet's long edge and it's got two mics. Unlike a phone, it doesn't have any rear-facing cameras, and instead has several vents for cooling; heat can become a big issue when running high frame rates on these small devices.
Razer continues its pursuit of Elgato's streaming hardware fans with a 94-inch tall portable, retractable blue screen (not of death), prosaically named the Razer Blue Screen. It's shipping today for $160.
The company also expands its Hammerhead True Wireless earbuds line with licensed Xbox and PlayStation editions. They're more than just rebranded and color-coordinated versions of those, however; they incorporate Razer's 2.4GHz HyperSpeed (via a dongle) in addition to Bluetooth connectivity. They also sound like a mix of features between the True Wireless and the True Wireless Pro, by incorporating the hybrid active noise cancelling of the latter. The Hammerhead HyperSpeed earbuds cost $150 and you can preorder them now for the end of October when they're expected to ship.
Kraken Kitty headset fans will be thrilled to bits with the new Kraken Kitty V2 Pro, versions of the Kraken Pro V2 but not just with cats' ears: Now they'll come with interchangeable kitty, bear and bunny ears. And for those of us who like the idea of the ears but not the pink, they'll be coming in black as well. Preorders start now at $200.
If you've always longed for wallpapers that integrate with Razer Chroma lighting, the company's new Axon app with monthly wallpaper drops is for you. (To be honest, watching them sync with the lighting is kind of cool.) Axon is free for the first 10,000 people who sign up and then 1,000 Razer Silver rewards points for everyone else.
The company also announced a 500-run limited edition watch (not a smart one) designed in conjunction with Italian watchmaker Panerai and part of a partnership with Conservation International in support of research into manta ray conservation. It's created with and packaged in recycled materials (not completely). It goes into preorder now and is expected to ship by the end of the year.
And finally, if you've been waiting for a DeathStalker V2 Pro keyboard (which I'm typing on right now!) in something other than black, your wait is over: it's now available in white. The Basilisk V3 Pro is, too. And the Barracuda, though it's not white -- it's mercury. Which is white.