In a ground breaking collaboration announced at CES 2024, MSI and Intel have raised the stakes in the booming PC gaming handheld market with the introduction of the MSI Claw. Breaking away from the trend of AMD-powered competitors, the MSI Claw boasts the distinction of being the world’s first PC gaming handheld featuring an Intel Core Ultra chip.
The star of the show is the MSI Claw’s powerhouse specifications. Fuelled by an Intel Core Ultra 7 155H processor with integrated Intel Arc graphics, this handheld offers a formidable gaming experience. Accompanying the processor is a generous 16GB LPDDR5, NVMe SSD storage, Intel Killer WiFi 7, Bluetooth 5.4, and a cutting-edge 7-inch full HD touch display. The display further elevates the gaming experience with a 120Hz refresh rate, 100% sRGB colour coverage, and an impressive 500 nits brightness.
As the inaugural PC gaming handheld powered by Intel’s latest Core Ultra processor, the MSI Claw emerges as a significant player in a market that has gained immense traction following the success of the Steam Deck. MSI’s gaming legacy adds an extra layer of credibility to the Claw, setting it apart from rivals such as the Lenovo Legion Go and Asus ROG Ally.
What truly sets the MSI Claw apart is its incorporation of Intel XeSS graphics upscaling technology. Unlike competitors relying on software algorithms, the Claw leverages dedicated AI hardware to upscale lower resolution frames. This promises a superior gaming experience with fewer visual artifacts and maintained high frame rates.
Beyond its internal prowess, the MSI Claw boasts the largest battery ever seen in a gaming handheld – a robust 53WHr battery. This significant power source positions the Claw as the ideal choice for gamers on the move, ensuring extended gaming sessions without the constant need for a power outlet. MSI boldly claims a 50% longer battery life compared to other handhelds, providing a promising edge.
Adding to its appeal, the MSI Claw features full key recording functionality for personalized gaming macros. The user-friendly MSI Centre M interface simplifies game access, addressing a common challenge faced by other handheld gaming systems.
Enthusiasts eagerly anticipating the MSI Claw can mark their calendars, as the gaming handheld is set to hit the market between mid-February and the end of March. The anticipated price range for this gaming marvel is expected to fall between $699 and $799, varying based on the chosen configuration.
The introduction of PC gaming handhelds revolutionized the gaming landscape, offering a portable alternative for both new and seasoned PC gamers. While the AMD Z1 and Z1 Extreme chips in competing devices have proven their gaming capabilities, the Intel Core Ultra with integrated Arc graphics introduces an intriguing variable. Sporting 8 Xe cores, the GPU in the Intel Core Ultra 7 155H aligns with the Intel Arc A380, albeit with a lower power draw. While desktop-level performance might not be replicated, the Intel Arc GPU holds distinct advantages, particularly in its dedicated ray tracing cores and ground breaking XeSS upscaling technology.
The Arc GPU’s hardware AI cores outshine AMD’s software-based FSR solution, promising outstanding upscaled frame quality for the MSI Claw. This technological leap positions the Claw as a game-changer, offering a critical advantage in the competitive gaming handheld market.
However, the success of the MSI Claw is tethered to Intel’s adaptation of its processor to the unique form factor of a gaming handheld. As the first Intel Core Ultra processor in this category, the Claw embarks on a high-stakes venture, relying on the seamless integration of Arc graphics and Intel’s processors into a handheld device. Despite the inherent challenges, the MSI Claw undeniably disrupts the gaming hardware market, adding a thrilling chapter to the ongoing saga of portable gaming innovation.