Lenovo and Asus better watch their backs as MSI has officially confirmed the pricing for its upcoming handheld gaming PC, the MSI Claw. This Intel-powered handheld PC will start out at a cool $700, though the more powerful chip will set you back more.
There are three Claw models headed our way in the near future:
Claw A1M-050US | 1TB SSD | Core Ultra 7 155H | $800
Claw A1M-051US | 512GB SSD | Core Ultra 7 155H | $750
Claw A1M-052US | 512GB SSD | Core Ultra 5 135H | $700
The cheapest model at $700 comes with the Core Ultra 5 135H, an Intel Meteor Lake processor with four P-cores, eight E-cores, and two low-power E-cores. With fewer P-cores than you might see on a gaming laptop today, and notably fewer than handhelds built around AMD's competing Ryzen 7 7840U or Z1 Extreme, this might appear a less desirable pick than the two other options powered by Ultra 7 processors with six P-cores.
Though to be fair to the Ultra 5 chip, it does come with the full compliment of 8 Xe-cores within its GPU component—the same amount found in the higher-end chips. That means it's not at a massive loss for graphical performance, providing the CPU can keep up. We've been testing the 135H within a compact gaming handheld/mini laptop from OneXPlayer, and despite early reservations regarding the core count it has performed well in most games. With the same likely to be true of the MSI Claw, I would suspect the 135H is not altogether a bad pick for a 1080p handheld PC.
Though it's true that MSI is competing with a fantastic chip out of AMD in the handheld market. The Z1 Extreme and Ryzen 7 7840U are effectively one and the same, and both come with eight full-fat CPU cores for roughly the same money as MSI is asking for here.
I've used the MSI Claw briefly over at MSI's CES booth and it was a decent machine in hand, but one I felt lacked the finish of the Lenovo Legion Go, which I was using for review at the time. I also walked away feeling little impression was made on me overall.
With similar price tags the MSI has a tough battle ahead of it to sway gamers away from the somewhat overkill Legion Go. Most of all due to what that $700 gets you: either the budget 512GB MSI Claw or (thanks to an ongoing sale) the top-end model of the Go with a 1TB drive and the Z1 Extreme chip.
The Claw does have some benefits worth talking about, at least. The Hall effect thumbsticks are a plus and means you don't have to mod them onto your device yourself. Wi-Fi 7 support could come in handy one day too, though you'll need a Wi-Fi 7 compatible network first. The MSI also offers a 53Whr battery, which is higher than both Asus or Lenovo offer in their mainstream handhelds today.