We may be entering a full handheld gaming console renaissance right now. After years of Nintendo basically ruling the kingdom by itself, a number of challenger to the throne have emerged over the last several months.
The latest company coming for the crown is Razer and while we are going to have to wait until an Oct. 15 event for a full reveal, we've got some intriguing details already as the handheld console will use Qualcomm's new Snapdragon G3X Gen 1 Gaming Platform and most notably it will be the first to offer built-in 5G.
What makes the Razer Edge 5G different?
While the Nintendo Switch and the Steam Deck will spring to mind, the most obvious comparison is going to be to the recently announced Logitech G Cloud gaming handheld. Both are running Android, feature Qualcomm chips, and are predominantly focused on cloud gaming.
However, there are a few key differences. Not to belabor the point, but the built-in 5G will be the most significant for many users. This is a mobile cloud gaming handheld console that you can actually take and use anywhere. While you can achieve that with one of the best phones and one of the best mobile game controllers, there are advantages to having dedicated hardware. The devil will be in the details here with the cost and any data limits potentially hampering the desirability of having 5G built in.
BREAKING: @Verizon, @Razer and @Qualcomm are teaming up on the world's first 5G mobile gaming handheld—Razer Edge 5G! It will allow you to play your favorite games regardless of whether you are gaming in the cloud, on an app or streaming from your console. https://t.co/TYPw5xFyeF pic.twitter.com/F9Vg3CfABlSeptember 28, 2022
The other major difference is the Qualcomm chip inside these two handhelds. Logitech is using a Snapdragon 720, a mid-range chip that would struggle to play any top-tier Android games on the device. Razer went straight to the top with the Snapdragon G3X Gen 1, a purpose-built handheld gaming chip that Qualcomm announced at its Snapdragon Summit last year. This means that even without Wi-Fi or 5G you should be able to have an outstanding gaming experience on the Razer Edge 5G.
The Razer Edge 5G has my interest piqued, which is more than I can say for the Logitech G Cloud. It's not going to offer the robust PC gaming experience that you can get out of the Steam Deck or the unique IP available on the Nintendo Switch, but I do think there's space in the market for a largely cloud focused handheld gaming console.
Gaming phones make a lot of compromises for the form factor and the simple truth is that if Razer can bring this device in at $350 or less, you could pair it with one of the best budget phones like the Pixel 6a and for under $800 have a much better gaming handheld and phone experience than any gaming phone on the market can offer.
We don't have too long to wait, the Razer Edge 5G will get its full reveal at RazerCon on Oct. 15.