MSI's Claw 8 AI+ is first Lunar Lake handheld gaming console, comes in Fallout-themed version

MSI Claw 8 AI+
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The market for handheld gaming PCs keeps growing, as evidenced by MSI's release earlier this week of its second-gen, Ally X device. However, most of these consoles are powered by AMD's Ryzen Z1 or Z1 extreme APUs, leaving Intel as an also-ran in this emerging category. But MSI broke some new ground when it released its Claw handheld this spring and it came packing an Intel Meteor Lake Core Ultra 7 155H CPU.

Today at Computex 2024, MSI announced the next-gen version of its handheld, the MSI Claw 8 AI+, which will be powered by Intel's upcoming Lunar Lake CPUs and will have an 8-inch screen — which is one inch larger than the original Claw A1M. 

We stopped by MSI's booth where the Claw 8 AI+ was running a demo, but under glass where we couldn't touch it. Still, the 1920 x 1080, 120 Hz screen looked really colorful; MSI claims that it has an  "IPS-level" level panel, which can reproduce 100 percent of the sRGB color gamut at up to 500 nits. The RGB lighting around the joysticks also looked really nice.

The Claw 8 AI+ also will have a powerful cooling system called "Cooler Boost Hyperflow", which has two rans and two heat pipes. It has a larger battery -- an MSI rep said it would be 80 Whr vs 53 Whr on the original -- than its predecessor and MSI claims that it uses advanced Hall effect joysticks and "triggers with exceptional precision." 

A company rep said that the device has not one, but two Thunderbolt 4 ports for connecting to docking stations and power. MSI also promises that there will be a new version of MSI Center M, the UI and launcher that comes on the Claw, by the time this system launches in 2025.

The company also announced that there will be a 7-inch Fallout version of the Claw, called the Claw Fallout 4 Limited Edition. According to the press release, this will feature "a unique design inspired by the Fallout series’ Vaults, Pip-Boys, and robots, offering fans an immersive experience in the game's post-nuclear apocalypse atmosphere."

I had a chance to see and touch the Fallout 4 Claw, which has the same specs as the current-gen Claw A1M. It simply has a Fallout skin so, if you really like the game, this could be for you.

Whether the Claw 8 AI+ will make a positive mark remains to be seen. We did not get a first-gen Claw to review, but our colleague Tony Polanco of sister-site, Tom's Guide, had a lot of issues with the Claw A1M — particularly with the software that came with it at launch. If Intel wants to make a dent in the handheld market where major players such as Asus and Lenovo are choosing AMD's chips, well, MSI needs to stick the landing. 

Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch is Tom's Hardware's editor-in-chief. When he's not playing with the latest gadgets at work or putting on VR helmets at trade shows, you'll find him rooting his phone, taking apart his PC or coding plugins. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram developed many real-world benchmarks, including our laptop battery test.
  • Notton
    This time, I hope MSI does fine tuning of their BIOS before they launch.

    Claw 1.0 was a massive disappointment at launch because Intel and MSI didn't bother optimizing, and fell into a weird spot where the i5-135H was faster than the i7-155H
    Reply
  • Metal Messiah.
    Here you can see some specs, and real pics.

    It has been fully confirmed that this new console will boast an 80 watt-hour battery. The same as ALLY X console. There are also two USB4 ports.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/GPNQi6vaUAAEF4-?format=jpg&name=large
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/GPNFRmpaMAA-NWP?format=jpg&name=large
    Reply
  • cknobman
    MSI did not even fix the problem, LMAO.
    It still uses Intel.
    Hard pass.
    Reply