The success of Valve's Steam Deck console has clearly inspired numerous makers of gaming hardware to try their luck with portable gaming systems. One of such companies is MSI, which introduced its Claw handheld console at CES. The Claw A1M mobile console uses Intel's latest Core Ultra 'Meteor Lake' platform along with Windows 11 operating system and is compatible with the vast majority of PC games.
MSI's Claw game console is equipped with a 7-inch touch-enabled IPS LCD display with a 1920×1080 resolution, a 120 Hz refresh rate, and an up to 500 nits typical brightness (which is akin to luminance of premium laptops), which is similar to what Asus ROG Ally offers. As for audio, the gaming device comes equipped with two 2W speakers.
The Claw A1M console is powered by Intel's latest Core Ultra 155H 'Meteor Lake' system-on-chip with six high-performance cores, eight energy-efficient cores, two low-power cones, and a built-in Arc GPU with eight Xe tiles (1024 stream processors, eight ray tracing units). The processor is paired with 16 GB of dual-channel LPDDR5-6400 memory and an SSD in an M.2-2230 form-factor as well as a PCIe Gen4 x4 interface.
To ensure consistent performance of the unit under high loads, MSI equipped it with a cooling system featuring several heat pipes and two fans. Keeping in mind that the processor has a minimum assured power of 20W and a processor base power of 28W, it indeed needs proper cooling. That cooling system of course adds quite some weight, which is why the console weighs 675 grams.
On the connectivity side of matters, MSI's Claw certainly does not disappoint as it features an Intel Killer BE1750 Wi-Fi 7 + Bluetooth 5.4 adapter, a Thunderbolt 4 connector (which naturally supports a DisplayPort output and charging capability), a microSD card reader, and an audio jack for headsets.
As for ergonomics, MSI's Claw has a typical set of controllers, including two sticks, a D-Pad, bumpers, ABXY buttons, and triggers. In addition, MSI equipped its Claw with macro buttons, to make playing games that require tricky combinations on the controller easier.
MSI says that its Claw can work for up to two hours from its 53 Wh battery, which is something to expect given the processor it uses and capacity of the battery. Perhaps, those who would like to enjoy longer gaming sessions while on the go will need to get an external battery and use the TB4 port to charge the console rapidly.
Two distinctive features of MSI's Claw portable game console is MSI's Center M dedicated interface that provides easy access to games as well as App Player that allows to play Android games on the Windows 11 device. There are of course similar emulators available for all Windows PCs, but at least MSI pre-installs the player by default.
For now, MSI remains tight lipped about pricing and launch date for its Claw portable game console.