MSI’s new game handheld runs Windows, but has Intel inside.
Valve’s Steam Deck has already klcked off a whole wave of PC gaming handhelds with its success, including models from Asus and Lenovo last year. The MSI Claw, announced at the CES 2024 show in Las Vegas, could be one of the most powerful PC game handhelds yet. Its processor, however, is Intel’s.
The Claw looks very much like the Steam Deck or the Asus ROG Ally handheld, but has specs that look a cut above: an Intel Core Ultra 7 processor with Intel Arc graphics (the latest Meteor Lake chip technology), 16GB of RAM, a 7-inch, 1,920×1,080 120Hz IPS display, Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.4. There’s also a Thunderbolt 4 USB-C port, a Micro SD card slot and a power button with fingerprint reader. Like Lenovo’s Legion Go and the Asus Rog Ally, this handheld runs Windows 11. There’s a 53Whr battery onboard, with battery life at full performance mode estimated to be around 2 hours, but this beefy handheld weighs 675 grams (nearly 1.5 pounds).
I haven’t played anything on the MSI Claw yet, but what it symbolizes may be even more important than what it does. Intel is joining the party on new handheld-ready gaming chips, which suggests that hardware manufacturers should be even more able to create Steam Deck-like handhelds running Windows.
I still love the Steam Deck, especially the new OLED model. Microsoft likely needs to help optimize game handhelds to work even better as manufacturers make more Windows-running Steam Deck-alikes. But at this point, I’d expect this to just be the beginning of where PC handheld gaming is going. The MSI Claw looks familiar, but in a very good way.