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What just happened? Another device has joined the increasingly crowded handheld gaming PC marketplace, though this one has something different from its competitors: it's powered by an Intel Core Ultra chip. MSI's Claw has been officially unveiled at CES, where the company says it can play "AAA titles effortlessly."
The Claw will have its work cut out if it wants to challenge the king of PC handhelds, Valve's Steam Deck. It also faces stiff competition from the ROG Ally, Lenovo Legion Go, and others. But MSI is confident that the Claw's unique features will set it apart from the pack.
The highlight of the Windows 11-based Claw is that it sports one of Intel's recently announced Meteor Lake Core Ultra processors, as opposed to being powered by an AMD APU, which is usually the case in PC handhelds. The device can be specced from a Core Ultra 5 with 512GB of NVMe storage to an Intel Core Ultra 7 155H (1TB), offering Arc Graphics with 8 Xe-cores. Models range from $699 to $799.
Another of the Claw's selling points is its use of Intel XeSS upscaling tech in compatible titles – MSI says the Core Ultra 7 155H chip offers a "smooth and immersive gameplay experience." There's also a 53Wh battery that the company claims is the largest in its class, providing two hours of battery life under full load.
Elsewhere, the Claw comes with a 7-inch FullHD IPS display with 100% sRGB coverage, up to 500 nits brightness, and a variable refresh rate of 120Hz. It might not look as nice as the 90Hz OLED Steam Deck, but that refresh rate is higher. There's also 16GB of LPDDR5, Intel Killer WiFi 7, Bluetooth 5.4, a Thunderbolt 4 port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a fingerprint sensor on the power button, and a microSD slot. In addition to Windows titles, users can play Android games on the Claw via its App Player.
The Claw is slightly heavier than the original Steam Deck at 1.34 pounds. It measures 294mm wide, 117mm tall and 21.2mm thick.
MSI has highlighted the Claw's cooling system (below), which uses the company's Cooler Boost Hyperflow tech for redirecting airflow to internal components, keeping things cool during lengthy gaming sessions. There's also ROG Ally-like RGB lighting around the thumbsticks.
MSI has not announced the launch date for the Claw, but more details are expected to be released soon. We'll have to wait and see if it really is a true Steam Deck competitor.