I've made it no secret that I'm obsessed with the latest trend of bringing Windows PC to gaming handheld devices, and deep inside my heart, I've waited excitedly for every laptop company to take the plunge. The next to do so is MSI, and at CES 2024, it has unveiled the MSI Claw.
I've previously wrote about how the the Asus ROG Ally is my new favorite gaming “laptop,” but I ended that article saying this excitement isn't exclusive to the Ally, as the concept itself has snatched my heart. And frankly, I cannot wait to get my hands on the MSI Claw and see if it's good enough to become my newest obsession.
We're on the scene in Las Vegas to check out the latest tech at this year's CES 2024 showcase. Be sure to tag along on our CES 2024 journey by following Laptop Mag on TikTok, Twitter/X, Instagram, Flipboard, and Facebook for the most up to date hands-on impressions and news coming from the convention floor.
MSI Claw could be my new favorite gaming handheld
Unlike the Steam Deck, Asus ROG Ally, and Lenovo Legion Go, the MSI Claw is an Intel powered Windows gaming handheld, boasting an Intel Core Ultra processor. It has a 7-inch 1920 x 1080 touch display at a 120Hz refresh rate, alongside 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM.
The Asus ROG Ally benefits from its great implementation with Armoury Crate, and MSI has done the same by given the device an exclusive interface optimized for handheld use through MSI Center M. It features a quick launch bar, alongside platform implementation with Steam, EA, Epic Games, Xbox, Battle.net, Ubisoft Connect and more.
We won't know how well it works until we get our hands on it, but I cannot wait to see how the company has implemented the software. It'll also have an App Player to launch Android mobile games, alongside a macro key function, allowing the user to record their own key binds.
MSI has strived for an ergonomic design that fits the palm comfortably, and has taken thousands of data samples from across the globe to ensure it fits the grip. While that sounds excellent on paper, it's just another thing I can't wait to test.
The button placements are strikingly similar to the Asus ROG Ally, with the joysticks, D-Pad and face buttons positioned like a traditional Xbox controller. Even its menu buttons, which include two at the top left and at the top right of the screen, are similar to the Ally. Quick Settings allows the user to access a slew of convenient options without interrupting gameplay, while a swap between Desktop and Gamepad control modes also exists.
Of course, it has a two bumpers and two triggers, alongside two Macro Keys at the back that allow for alternate commands. It includes an audio jack, micro SD card reader, and Thunderbolt 4 cable, volume button and fingerprint power button all at the top.
It also supports Intel XeSS technology, which is available only for some games, but can significantly boost frames per second in demanding titles like Forza Horizon 5, Dying Light 2, Returnal, Hogwarts Legacy, Death Stranding and more.
Thankfully, the MSI Claw will be launching with a Perfect Pair exclusive dock that easily connects with the Claw and allows it to be connected to a TV like a Nintendo Switch.
With both the Steam Deck and Asus ROG Ally boasting a 40Whr battery, we're hoping the MSI Claw can outdo both in battery life with its 53Whr battery. The Lenovo Legion Go featured 49.2Whr battery and still didn't do wonderfully on these metrics, but maybe MSI can be the first.
The MSI Claw looks promising, and time will tell if it manages to outdo its competitors in ergonomics, battery life, performance, and software when we finally get our hands on it.
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Self-described art critic and unabashedly pretentious, Momo finds joy in impassioned ramblings about her closeness to video games. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Media Studies from Brooklyn College and five years of experience in entertainment journalism. Momo is a stalwart defender of the importance found in subjectivity and spends most days overwhelmed with excitement for the past, present and future of gaming. When she isn't writing or playing Dark Souls, she can be found eating chicken fettuccine alfredo and watching anime.