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MSI Claw to beat the Steam Deck in one crucial area

The A1M will launch with a VRR (variable refresh rate) display, something that still isn't natively possible on Valve's popular handheld.

MSI Claw flexing over the Steam Deck OLED

Following confirmation of the MSI Claw prices and launch model specs, we now know it will beat the Steam Deck in one crucial area. All Steam Deck models can currently connect to an external VRR (variable refresh rate) display, but the native display does not feature it. Thanks to confirmation from MSI, we know that all Claw A1M models will feature VRR.

The Steam Deck OLED may be the best handheld gaming PC, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Only the ROG Ally currently has a VRR display amongst the big three handhelds, as the Legion Go doesn’t include it. The MSI Claw, though, is set to launch with the feature, although that date is still unknown.

VRR is a feature of monitors, TVs, and other displays that allows the screen’s refresh rate to match the frame rate of the content that is currently displayed. This dramatically improves the viewing experience and reduces the possibility of screen tearing and stutter, both of which can be distracting gaming issues.

It’s been a sticking point for Steam Deck owners that they need to connect to an external display to gain access to VRR, especially now that the ROG Ally has shown it’s more than possible to fit natively into a handheld.

The MSI Claw will have a VRR display that operates between 48 and 120Hz. You can, however, also choose to simply lock the display refresh rate, as you can with all handhelds. This is a common tactic deployed to reduce the power draw of a handheld and ultimately extend its battery life between charges.

With VRR not being possible to add in after the fact, Valve has effectively missed the boat on the current Steam Deck models. Both the MSI Claw and ROG Ally might not be able to boast an HDR OLED display, but to some, VRR and a generally smoother experience is likely a more important feature.

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We took a closer look at the A1M in our MSI Claw preview from CES, check out our thoughts and first impressions of the latest handheld the enter the portable battle royale.