MSI unveils Intel-powered Windows gaming handheld Claw

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 9, 2024
Games, Hardware

MSI unveiled its first gaming handheld at CES 2024 today. The Intel Core Ultra-powered Claw A1M is the world's first gaming handheld with Intel's processor according to MSI.

Up until last year, PC handheld gaming was dominated by Valve's Steam Deck. While there are numerous other handhelds available, most of them produced by companies in China or Taiwan, it was Valve's Steam Deck that pushed PC handheld gaming to the mainstream.

Then came Asus with its Rog Ally device, which promised better performance and hardware at a higher price and Lenovo with its Legion Go.

Now it is MSI with its Claw A1M that steps into the ring. It is powered by an Intel Core Ultra processor, whereas Asus' , Lenovo's and Valve's handhelds are powered by AMD Zen processors.

MSI Claw A1M

According to MSI, the handheld will launch in different configurations and a price range between $699 and $799. More expensive than Valve's Steam Deck but about the same price as Asus' Rog Ally and Lenovo's Legion Go handheld devices.

Here are the hardware specs of the MSI Claw A1M as reported by MSI:

  • Processor: (up to) Intel Core Ultra 7 processor 155H.
  • Memory:  16GB LPDDR
  • Display 7" full HD 1920x1080, 120 Hz refresh rate, touch screen, 500 nits, 100% sRGB.
  • Graphics: Intel Arc Graphics
  • Storage: NVMe M.2 2230 SSD
  • Intel Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.4
  • Ports: Thunderbolt 4 port, 1 microSD card reader, 1 audio combo jack.
  • Battery: 53Whr, 65W USB Type-C
  • Windows 11 Home
  • Weight: 675g

The Claw A1M resembles Asus' Rog Ally on first glance. Especially the button layout looks similar when you compare the two devices. There are other similarities. Both devices feature a 7-inch touch screen with 1920x1080 resolution and 120Hz, but the similarities end there.

The Legion Go on the other hand was compared to the Nintendo Switch when it first launched because of its design.

MSI's first gaming handheld comes in black and MSI picked Intel to power its device. Gamers have the choice between two Intel Ultra processors on launch, the Intel Core Ultra 5 135H and the Intel Core Ultra 7 155H.

MSI revealed that the device is powered by Intel's Arc graphics technology, but did not reveal specifics at this point. It will be interesting to see how this fares performance-wise against the AMD-powered devices.

The Claw A1M weights 675g, which means that it is 67g heavier than the Rog Ally. Its dimensions, 294 x 21.2 mm and 117 mm depth make it a bit larger than Asus's offering, which has 280 x 21.2 mm and 111 mm depth.

The handheld is powered by custom software, MSI Center M, that acts as a launcher app. It provides access to games and connected game stores, such as Valve's Steam or Epic's Store.

The launcher is designed to make things more comfortable for gamers. While it is too early to tell how well it works.

There are no tests or reviews of the device out there at this point. These will come in the coming months. It will be interesting to see how the gaming handheld fares against the AMD-powered offerings. Benchmarks will show how well it does when it comes to games, how good the buttons and controls are, and how well the launcher works.

Closing Words

Competition is always good for consumers. Valve's Steam Deck 2 won't be released this year and it is uncertain if it is going to be released in 2025. Gamers who want a Windows gaming handheld have now three devices from major PC manufacturers that they can choose between. All are sold at about the same price range.

If you look beyond these companies, you find lots of Windows-powered gaming handhelds. There is GPD, which creates high-end Windows gaming handhelds like the GPD Win 4. It is almost twice the price of the aforementioned handhelds, if you buy the top configuration, but even the cheapest configuration is priced at about $1000 currently.

Another manufacturer of PC gaming handhelds is Aya Neo. Its Air 1S AMD 7840U starts at $899 and goes up to $1129 for the 2 TB version with 32GB of RAM.

Now You: would you buy a PC gaming handheld?

MSI unveils Intel-powered Windows gaming handheld Claw
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MSI unveils Intel-powered Windows gaming handheld Claw
MSI unveiled its first gaming handheld at CES 2024 today. The Intel Core Ultra-powered Claw A1M is the world's first gaming handheld with Intel's processor according to MSI.
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  1. Tachy said on January 9, 2024 at 3:13 pm

    I’ve no interest in handhelds but, I’ve been using MSI hardware for several years and have been quite pleased with it.

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