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June 14, 2024

MSI Unveils “Claw” Gaming Handheld to Rival Steam Deck

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Jan 9, 2024

MSI surprised the gaming world this week by unveiling a new handheld gaming PC called the MSI Claw at CES 2024. The Claw is designed to compete directly with Valve’s popular Steam Deck, offering high-end specs and features in a portable form factor.

High-End Hardware for AAA Gaming on the Go

The Claw stands out from other handheld PCs due to its flagship-level internals featuring Intel’s latest Core i9-13955HX processor with 16 cores and 24 threads. This marks the first gaming handheld to utilize Intel’s new “Meteor Lake” architecture. Combined with Intel Arc discrete graphics, up to 32GB of RAM, and a speedy NVMe SSD, the Claw is a portable powerhouse designed for smooth AAA gaming.

Early Geekbench results leaked prior to CES give us a glimpse of the performance potential:

Single-Core Multi-Core
1901 14986

While benchmarks don’t translate directly to real-world gaming prowess, these scores demonstrate the Claw should have no issues tackling the latest games at reasonable frame rates.

Premium Design and Display

The Claw sports a clean, symmetrical design with an attractive RGB light bar flanking each side. It measures 112x293x49mm and weighs just 1.1kg including its 8,100 mAh battery. A large 6-inch 2160×1080 OLED screen with up to a 120Hz refresh rate provides vivid visuals perfect for gaming or media consumption.

Hands-on impressions praise the Claw’s premium look and feel. The Verge said it “feels like a far more refined and polished piece of hardware” compared to the Steam Deck. Reviewers found the device comfortable to hold despite its size. It remains pocketable but naturally larger than a smartphone.

Steam Deck Software and Expandable Storage

Like the Steam Deck, MSI’s Claw runs SteamOS to provide access to Steam’s massive game library out of the box. It also supports Windows for those who prefer access to Xbox Game Pass and other launchers.

Local storage starts at 256GB but can be expanded via the Claw’s microSD card slot and M.2 2230 slot, both positioned behind the kickstand. This flexibility allows adding up to 2TB of additional fast SSD storage for large game libraries.

Unanswered Questions on Pricing and Availability

While we now know most Claw specs and features, MSI has yet to announce pricing or firm release plans. Rumors speculate it may cost around $999 based on its high-end hardware. How it’s priced against the $399/$529 Steam Deck models will significantly impact its competitiveness.

MSI plans to launch the Claw globally later this year. We may hear final details on pricing, configs, and regional availability dates in the coming months as production ramps up.

More Steam Deck Challengers Incoming

The Claw marks a bold foray into handheld PCs for a company best known for components and laptops. Its debut signals a wider industry recognition that Valve tapped into an underserved market hungry for AAA gaming portability.

MSI isn’t the only one gearing up to challenge the Steam Deck’s dominance. ASUS showed off an early concept for a handheld called Project ROG Ally at CES 2023. AYA’s next-gen Neo Slide aims for a late 2023 launch with refined design and AMD Ryzen 7000 U-series processors.

With multiple big players now chasing the same portable hardcore gaming vision Valve realized with the Steam Deck, competition is heating up. Gamers can expect rapid innovation in the blossoming premium handheld PC space over the next few years.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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