MSI’s New Steam Deck Challenger Launches This Year With Impressive Hardware And A Terrible Name

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A new challenger has entered the competitive handheld PC gaming space, as MSI is throwing its hat into the ring. Or to be more specific, its Claw. The MSI Claw was unveiled at CES 2024 this week, and on paper, it could be a solid contender to the Steam Deck and Asus ROG Ally.

The big selling point of the MSI Claw is that it uses Intel’s new Core Ultra series processor and it packs an impressive 53Wh battery inside of its frame–larger than the ROG Ally’s 40Wh battery or the 50Wh version found inside of the Steam Deck OLED. For the display, there’s a seven-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS touchscreen with a 120Hz refresh rate, Intel Arc graphics, 16GB LPDDR5 RAM and an NVMe M2 SSD.

MSI Claw specs

MSI Claw

  • Processor — Up to Intel Core Ultra 7 processor 155H
  • Operating System — Windows 11
  • Chipset — Integrated SoC
  • Memory — LPDDR5 onboard, 16GB, dual channel
  • Display — Seven-inch FHD (1920 x 1080), 120 Hz Refresh Rate, Touch Screen,
  • Refresh Rate — 120Hz
  • Graphics — Intel Arc Graphics
  • Storage Slot — 1 x NVMe M.2 2230 SSD by PCIe Gen 4 x4
  • Sensor — Six-Axis IMU Vibration Motor
  • Communication — Intel Killer Wi-Fi 7 BE1750, Bluetooth v5.4
  • Audio — Two × 2W Speakers / 1× Audio combo jack / Hi-Res Audio ready
  • I/O Ports — Thunderbolt 4, MicroSD card reader, audio combo jack, and power button with fingerprint sensor
  • Battery — Six-cell Li-Polymer, 53Whr / 65W USB Type-C PD 3.0
  • Dimensions — 294 (W) x 117(D) x 21.2(H) mm
  • Weight — 675 g
  • Color — Black

MSI says that the device has a two-hour battery life under a full workload and that users can expect smooth gameplay at 1080p resolution and medium settings. Like the ROG Ally, the MSI Claw uses a Windows 11 operating system, so you’ll be able to load games from multiple storefronts like Steam, the Xbox PC app, the Epic Games Store, and more. Interestingly, MSI says that its APP Player will also allow for Android games to work on the handheld, expanding its options.

Cosmetically, it’s similar to the design of the ROG Ally with its placement of analog sticks, face buttons, and its general shape, but MSI added that it has designed the device to be ergonomically more comfortable for long gaming sessions. Like its competitors, the MSI Claw won’t be cheap as it has a starting price of $699 and it’s aiming to release in the first half of 2024.

On the more traditional PC gaming side, CES 2024 saw the reveal of Nvidia’s new RTX 40-series GPUs and some powerful new Razer Blade gaming laptops for 2024.