MSI Claw handheld PC with Intel Meteor Lake now available -- $699 device targets Steam Deck, ROG Ally

Official MSI Claw render
(Image credit: MSI)

The MSI Claw gaming handheld has finally launched in a limited form, primarily as an exclusive to MSI's store. To be specific, the higher-end Core Ultra 7 models aren't available from MSI or other vendors and are labeled as a March 15th pre-order when viewed on Newegg. This means that if you want to buy an MSI Claw today, you'll be going with the Core Ultra 5 model.

The handheld uses a 7-inch 1080p, 120 Hz, IPS display akin to that of ROG Ally but with no apparent support for Variable Refresh Rate. The triggers and (RGB) joysticks are both confirmed to be hall-effect, which should improve their long-term reliability, and the built-in back handles look pretty ergonomic.

Official MSI Claw render

(Image credit: MSI)

Regarding overall form factor and expansion, the MSI Claw doesn't seem radically different from any of the other AMD-powered PC handhelds we've looked at lately, particularly ones also using 7-inch, 120 Hz displays. Internally, things get more interesting since this competition for the Steam Deck's handheld PC throne adopts full Intel internals rather than relying on the same AMD APU designs that power current-generation consoles.

Below, we have listed the three core versions of the MSI Claw. Note that all models have 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM running at 6400 MT/s.

  • MSI Claw A1M-052US — Entry-level $699 model. Comes with Core Ultra 5-135H with 8 onboard Intel Arc Graphics Xe cores, and 512GB NVMe storage. 
  • MSI Claw A1M-051US — Mid-range $749 model. Comes with Core Ultra 7-155H with 8 onboard Intel Arc Graphics Xe cores, and 512GB NVMe storage.
  • MSI Claw A1M-050US — High-end $799 model. Comes with Core Ultra 7-155H with 8 onboard Intel Arc Graphics Xe cores, and 1TB NVMe storage.

Unfortunately, we don't have any benchmarks to properly compare the Core Ultra 5 to the Core Ultra 7 in total performance. However, considering the shared number of Arc graphics cores across the Core Ultra 5 and Core Ultra 7, it seems most likely that the performance difference introduced across these differing handhelds will be more CPU-bound than iGPU-bound.

This new architecture can deliver surprisingly competitive results based on prior testing of the Core Ultra 7 155H and its graphics against AMD's best. However, early previews of the MSI Claw show Intel's latest to somewhat underperform in low-TDP handhelds compared to AMD, which likely only worsens with direct performance comparisons. We recommend waiting for some proper benchmarking of the release-MSI Claw before considering it over established options like Deck OLED or ROG Ally,.

Freelance News Writer
  • _Shatta_AD_
    I think the author meant Steam Deck… but yes it’s a $699 ‘thick’ juicy piece of steak served piping hot, esp. when overcooked, …clocked
    Reply
  • Eximo
    See now I want someone to use AI to make a 'Steak Deck'. Sausage joysticks.
    Reply
  • Notton
    The i5 Core 5 Ultra 5 135H (sarcasm) has the full 8 Xe configuration, so it shouldn't be a slouch with graphics.
    You only lose out on 2P cores and like 50Mhz compared to the i7 155H

    Which makes it a lot more enticing than Ryzen Z1 with only 4CU or the 8CU in steam deck.
    (Z1 extreme has 12CU)
    Reply
  • usertests
    Any of these are going to not look much better than the Steam Deck while on battery. Great while plugged in, I'm sure.
    Reply
  • punkncat
    I am quite interested in this Steak Deck. Do we get a choice of cut, or is it a surprise?
    Reply
  • DSzymborski
    Eximo said:
    See now I want someone to use AI to make a 'Steak Deck'. Sausage joysticks.

    Would you accept a Steak Box?

    Reply
  • dalek1234
    "Can MSI and Intel Claw their way to the top of an AMD-dominated handheld PC market?"

    No, it cannot. To start, it would need to come with a miniature nuclear power plant.
    Reply