In the ever-evolving world of handheld gaming, MSI has thrown its hat into the ring with the announcement of its latest creation: the Claw. This new handheld gaming PC aims to take on established players like the Asus ROG Ally, Lenovo Legion Go, and the popular Steam Deck.
What sets the MSI Claw apart is its heart: an Intel Core Ultra processor, promising superior performance and battery life at a competitive starting price of $699.
How Does MSI’s Claw Compare to Its Rivals?
At CES 2024, I had the chance to get hands-on with the MSI Claw, and while it’s too early to give a final verdict, there’s plenty to talk about. MSI has designed the Claw with comfort in mind; it has larger, more comfortable grips than its Asus counterpart, and it avoids the bulky feel of the Lenovo Legion Go. The Claw mirrors the ROG Ally in shape, port placement, and screen specs, featuring a similar 7-inch 120Hz 1080p IPS display.
What Unique Features Does the MSI Claw Offer?
One of the standout features of the MSI Claw is its 53Wh battery, which is a step up from the ROG Ally’s 40Wh battery. This puts it on par with the Lenovo and the Steam Deck OLED in terms of battery capacity. Moreover, MSI has included Hall effect joysticks, like the Legion Go, and plans to incorporate variable refresh rate technology for smoother gameplay.
Is the Intel Core Ultra in MSI’s Claw a Game-Changer?
The Intel Core Ultra chip inside the MSI Claw is a central talking point. At CES, the engineering samples, which are not the final product, showed some stutter and frame spikes during gameplay.
The chip currently operates at a 24W-27W TDP, higher than expected for a chip touted to be more efficient than AMD’s offerings. However, it’s important to remember these are early versions, and improvements are expected before the official launch.
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What About Gaming Performance on the MSI Claw?
In terms of gaming performance, the MSI Claw at this stage doesn’t yet match the Steam Deck at lower wattages. In a test with “Assassin’s Creed Mirage,” the Claw struggled to maintain smooth gameplay at 720p on the lowest settings in its 15W “Super Battery Saver” mode. However, the device also offers turbo modes, allowing for increased performance at the cost of battery life.
Can You Customize the MSI Claw for Better Gaming Experience? Yes, customization is a key feature of the MSI Claw. Users can adjust fan curves, map keys, and program complex macros. Additionally, the device boasts Wi-Fi 7 capabilities, promising faster internet speeds, although official support from Windows 11 might come later in the year.
What’s the Battery Life Like on the MSI Claw?
MSI claims the Claw can deliver up to two hours of battery life while playing demanding games, four hours with lighter games, and over five hours for video playback. These figures are particularly noteworthy for a Windows handheld, where achieving long battery life has been challenging.
Is MSI’s Claw the Next Big Thing in Handheld Gaming? While it’s too early to conclude, MSI’s Claw is certainly shaping up to be a strong contender in the handheld gaming PC market.
With its comfortable design, promising battery life, and the power of the Intel Core Ultra chip, it has the potential to shake up the current landscape. Gamers looking for a new handheld experience should definitely keep an eye on the MSI Claw as it nears its launch in the first half of 2024.