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The Steam Deck’s latest rival, the MSI Claw, is finally available

The Intel Core Ultra-powered gaming handheld was a surprise announcement at CES 2024 and is now ready to buy in the US, in three configurations.

The MSI Claw release date is upon us, with the Intel-powered Steam Deck rival finally available to buy in the US. The latest gaming handheld that’s looking to directly take on the likes of the Asus ROG Ally starts at $699 with prices rising to $799 for the top-spec version.

Our initial hands on MSI Claw review had us impressed with the screen, build, and general feel of the best gaming handheld contender, but we’re still a long way from fully knowing how well it performs with a wide variety of games, and how long its battery lasts. Our review sample is on the way, though, so will be back with full thoughts very soon.

The MSI Claw specs include a 7-inch screen with a 1080p resolution, which matches the Asus ROG Ally and significantly out-resolutions the Steam Deck OLED but isn’t as high as on the 8-inch Lenovo Legion Go. It also sports 16GB of RAM, a choice of 512GB or 1TB of storage both of which are similar to rival handhelds.

Where the MSI Claw really stands out, then, is in its use of an Intel CPU, rather than an AMD chip, like used on all the above other options. Inside the MSI Claw is either an Intel Core Ultra 5 135H or Intel Core Ultra 7 155H, depending on which configuration you go for. The former has 14 cores (like its desktop CPUs, these chips have lots of low-power E-Cores) while the latter has 16 cores.

Initial MSI Claw benchmark leaks have shown the Intel chip to not be overly impressive compared to the AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme chips used in other handhelds, with performance being similar but power usage being higher. However, again, we’ll have to test them ourselves to see for certain.

For now, you can order the entry-level $699 model of the MSI Claw, which has the Intel Core Ultra 5 135H chip and 512GB of storage, direct from the MSI US website. Meanwhile, the $749 variant that has the Intel Core Ultra 7 155H CPU but still keeps 512GB of storage is available for pre-order in various shops, as is the $799 version that ups storage to 1TB.

Are you tempted by the MSI Claw or will you be sticking with the tried and tested excellence of the Steam Deck and its ever increasing list of the best Steam Deck games? As for other parts of the world, the MSI Claw release date has been staggered, so you can expect the device to start arriving over the next few weeks.