MSI’s Steam Deck rival is an Intel-powered handheld called the Claw
Beware my claw
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: MSI Claw PC gaming handheld
⚙️ The MSI Claw is the first PC gaming handheld powered by an Intel processor and XeSS
🎮 Xbox-like control scheme with asymmetrical hall effect thumbsticks and triggers
🔋 Biggest 53WHr battery in a handheld for up to two hours of AAA gaming
The MSI Claw is unique in that it’s the only PC handheld to be powered by an Intel processor and it features an asymmetrical stick layout that Xbox fans are sure to like (and potentially infuriate PlayStation players).
Instead of using an AMD chip — which has come in the Steam Deck, Asus ROG Ally, Lenovo Legion Go, and pretty much every single Ayaneo device — the MSI Claw comes equipped with a brand new Intel Core Ultra 7 processor 155H Meteor Lake-series CPU. That’s one of the same chips powering the high-end laptops and gaming laptops we’re seeing at CES.
MSI claims this laptop processor has enough graphical power to deliver smooth AAA games with demanding technical titles like Control and Resident Evil Village. This CPU also supports Intel XeSS, an AI-based upscaling technology similar to Nvidia DLSS. That’s sure to come in handy as the Claw also features a 7-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) display that runs at 120Hz.
The MSI Claw’s Intel processor also grants this handheld Thunderbolt 4, which should make it more readily compatible with Thunderbolt and USB-C docks. In fact, MSI showed us an early prototype of its ThunderBolt 4 dock which includes two USB-C ports, two HDMIs, and USB-A ports to make it a real PC on the go solution.
To address any heat issues, the whole back of the Claw is vented for the vapor chamber and two cooling fans to intake air.
MSI says it calls its device the Claw because of the way it has carefully designed the contours of its device to fit comfortably in your hand. MSI also claims to have perfectly balanced the device when you hold it from its handles.
On the face of the device, the Claw features an asymmetrical stick layout like you would find on an Xbox controller. Aside from the Lenovo Legion Go, most of the portables we’ve seen have stuck to a PlayStation-style layout with thumbsticks located in the same position on both sides of thvice.
de fromt, the MSI Claw features custable RGB lighting on the thumbsticks and face buttons. MSI has also equipped it with hall thumbsticks effect and triggers, the latter of which is a curious first, but this should make both parts of the controls more long-lasting.
Speaking of longevity, the Claw has a larger 53Whr battery, which MSI tells us allowed it to play 1.5 to two hours of Forza Horizon 5 under “full workload conditions.” The 53Whr battery should be considerably more energy-dense than the 40Whr battery in the Steam Deck and Asus ROG Ally. Those other systems can run for up to three to four hours, so we’re hoping we can pull up to four to five hours of playtime with the MSI Claw.
The MSI Claw will start at $699 for a unit equipped with an Intel Core Ultra 5 processor with 512GB of storage. Meanwhile, the Intel Core Ultra 7 with 512GB will cost $749 and doubling the storage will cost $799.
MSI plans to make the Claw available by the first half of 2024, but we should have our hands on it by March so stay tuned for our full review of the handheld in the coming months.
Kevin Lee is The Shortcut’s Creative Director. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam.