MSI has officially unveiled its own handheld gaming PC called the “Claw” at CES 2024. The device features powerful Intel Core processors and aims to compete directly with Valve’s popular Steam Deck.
High-End Specs Packed Into Sleek Form Factor
The MSI Claw packs impressive hardware into a compact design resembling the Steam Deck and ROG Ally. Leaked specs indicate it is equipped with:
- Intel Core i7-155H processor (part of new Core Ultra mobile lineup)
- Up to 16 CPU cores / 24 threads
- Up to 32GB LPDDR5 RAM
- 7-inch 120Hz OLED display
- Discrete Arc graphics
- 60Wh battery
This high-end hardware provides substantially more performance than the Steam Deck. The Claw is capable of running the latest AAA games at decent frame rates, enabling a full-fledged PC gaming experience.
|Valve Steam Deck
|Intel Core i7-155H
|AMD Zen 2 4-core/8-thread
|Intel Arc discrete
|AMD RDNA 2 integrated
|Up to 32GB LPDDR5
Early benchmarks show the Claw outperforming competitors significantly:
MSI Claw features powerful Intel 12th Gen Core Ultra processor and discrete Arc graphics
Designed for AAA PC Gaming On the Go
MSI emphasizes the Claw is designed primarily for high-end mobile PC gaming. The Windows-based device provides access to a huge library of games on platforms like Steam.
It represents a new product category between handheld consoles like the Nintendo Switch, and bulky gaming laptops. With its compact form factor and mid-range gaming performance, the Claw hits a sweet spot between portability and power.
Analysts view the Claw as the first legitimate competitor to the Steam Deck. MSI is an established brand in PC components and laptops. By utilizing Intel’s latest silicon, the company can differentiate itself from Valve’s AMD-powered device.
The 120Hz OLED display provides fluid visuals when playing fast-paced shooters and racers. This high refresh rate is rare among handhelds and exceeds the Steam Deck’s 60Hz LCD panel.
Taking on Steam Deck in Expanding Market
As a large Taiwan-based manufacturer, MSI likely has the production capacity to meet demand better than Valve. The Steam Deck saw order backlogs stretching for months after launch.
The handheld PC gaming market is still in its infancy but rapidly expanding. After years of rumors and prototypes, 2023 finally saw the first mainstream options launching with Steam Deck and ROG Flow Z13.
Research firm Mordor Intelligence forecasts this market segment will achieve 10.5% CAGR globally through 2027. There is room for multiple competing devices as the total addressable market grows.
Outlook and Conclusions
The Claw represents MSI’s first foray into dedicated handheld PCs. It brings together the company’s expertise in notebooks and motherboards with Intel’s cutting-edge mobile processors.
By undercutting Steam Deck on both performance and price, MSI could swiftly gain share in this category. However, software compatibility and game support will be ongoing considerations given Windows’ higher complexity versus SteamOS.
The bar has been set high out of the gate. If the Claw delivers on expectations, it will provide the best blend of portability, performance and software ecosystem among handheld gaming PCs.
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Overall the MSI Claw ushers in a new generation of genuinely powerful handheld PCs. Its lightweight yet uncompromising design sets the stage for AAA gaming without borders. Both hardcore players and casual gamers will keep an eye out for real-world benchmarks and user impressions as the Claw nears launch.
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