MSI Claw A1M FAQ: Price, release date, specs, and everything you need to know

MSI Claw at CES 2024
MSI Claw is shaping up to be a very impressive Windows gaming handheld. (Image credit: Rebecca Spear | Windows Central)

The MSI Claw A1M, commonly just referred to as the MSI Claw, is the latest Windows gaming handheld to enter the market, and it's doing so with some of the very latest and greatest hardware to date. So much so, that there's a very real chance that the MSI Claw could become the best gaming handheld with very powerful performance when it launches. 

But what exactly are MSI Claw specs, and how does the Claw stand out from its competitors such as the ROG Ally, Legion Go, and Steam Deck? We'll go over all of that and more in our MSI Claw FAQ. Without further ado, let's get started. 

What is MSI Claw?

MSI Claw has ergonomic grips and offset buttons to make it more comfortable to play with.  (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / Windows Central)

MSI Claw is a Windows gaming handheld set to go up against competitors like ROG Ally, Legion Go, and Steam Deck. It has the most powerful internals of any PC gaming handheld up to this point and includes the new Intel Core Ultra processor with an NPU, which should make it a very efficient gaming device. 

MSI Claw release date

MSI Claw is the latest upcoming gaming handheld. (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / Windows Central)

When is the MSI Claw release date?

An exact release date hasn't been revealed yet, but we do know that the MSI Claw is expected to launch in March or April 2024.

MSI Claw price and where to buy

MSI Claw has a similar size and shape to the ROG Ally.  (Image credit: MSI)

How much does MSI Claw cost?

There are three configurations for the MSI Claw. The first one sells for $699.99 and features an Intel Core Ultra 5-135H with 512GB SSD. Meanwhile, a mid-range option sells for $749.99 and offers a more powerful Intel Core Ultra 7-155H with 512GB SSD. Lastly, the premium MSI Claw has a $799.99 price point and comes with an Intel Core Ultra 7-155H with a 1TB SSD.

Where can I buy the MSI Claw?

Once orders open up, the MSI Claw can be purchased from the MSI website. It is currently unclear if other retailers like Amazon and Best Buy will also sell the gaming handheld, but it's possible that they eventually will. 

MSI Claw: Coming soon at MSI

MSI Claw: Coming soon at MSI

This Windows gaming handheld is the first to feature one of the new Intel Core Ultra CPUs with an NPU. It features Hall Effect joysticks and VRR support, which together should make for an excellent gaming experience. There are three configurations to choose from. 

MSI Claw specs

MSI Claw box seen at CES 2024.  (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / Windows Central)

As you can see from the below MSI Claw specs chart, this gaming handheld offers some very powerful hardware, including the new Intel Core Ultra CPUs with built-in NPUs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 MSI Claw
Price$699 | $749 | $799
Release dateMarch or April 2024
ProcessorIntel Core Ultra 5-135H | Intel Core Ultra 7-155H
Storage512GB | 1TB SSD
Memory16GB LPDDR5-6400
OSWindows 11 Home
VRRYes
Display7-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) 120Hz IPS-Level touchscreen
Ports1x USB-C Thunderbolt 4 port with PD charging and 1x microSD card reader
TouchpadsNone
HapticsHD haptics
Dimensions11.6 x 4.6 x 0.83 inches (294 x 117 x 21.2mm)
Weight1.5 lbs (675 grams)
Battery lifeUnknown (53Whr capacity)

What size screen does MSI Claw have?

The MSI Claw has a 7-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS touchscreen that can reach a refresh rate of up to 120Hz. This is basically the same as the ROG Ally screen. 

Does MSI Claw support VRR?

Yes, the MSI Claw is going to be the second gaming handheld (after ROG Ally) that supports VRR (Variable Refresh Rate). This is important as VRR can reduce or eliminate screen tearing to provide a smoother gaming experience, which can make a big difference on gaming handhelds. 

What size SSD does MSI Claw have?

Consumers can choose between getting an MSI Claw with a 512GB SSD or 1TB SSD. As you'd expect, the more impressive the hardware, the more expensive the MSI Claw configuration will be. 

What processor does the MSI Claw have?

Depending on the configuration, the MSI Claw either utilizes an Intel Core Ultra 5-135H or an Intel Core Ultra 7-155H. These are both powerful CPUs that feature built-in NPUs and should help make the MSI Claw very efficient. 

What is important about the MSI Claw having an NPU?

Neural Processing Units (NPUs) are relatively new to the processor space. They are important because they take some of the load off of the CPU and GPU, so they have more capacity to work on other tasks. This, in turn, allows a system to run more efficiently overall. So the MSI Claw, being a gaming handheld with a CPU that features an NPU, should allow the device to offer far more impressive graphics performance than other handhelds out there. 

What games and services can MSI Claw play?

Thanks to running Windows 11, the MSI Claw is basically a tiny gaming laptop with built-in controllers. As such, it can run any streaming program, gaming service, or local game that a gaming laptop can. For instance, you can access Steam, Xbox Game Pass, NVIDIA GeForce Now, Epic Games, and much more on MSI Claw.

MSI Claw anatomy

The MSI Claw features an audio jack, a Thunderbolt 4 port, a microSD Card reader, and a fingerprint power button.  (Image credit: Windows Central)

Does MSI Claw have Hall Effect joysticks?

Yes! Unlike most other gaming handhelds out there, the MSI Claw features Hall Effect joysticks and triggers. This means it shouldn't develop drift issues, which will help with the device's longevity. 

Does MSI Claw have haptic touchpads?

No. Unlike the Steam Deck and Legion Go, the MSI Claw does not feature touchpads of any kind. Players will need to rely on the D-Pad, Hall Effect Joysticks, and touchscreen when navigating through game menus and programs on the MSI Claw. 

Does MSI Claw have a kickstand?

No. There is no built-in kickstand on the MSI Claw gaming handheld. However, it is very likely that accessory casings with kickstands could be created in the future. To add a kickstand to the MSI Claw, you'll want to get one of these accessories. 

Does MSI Claw have more than one USB-C port?

No. The MSI Claw only has one Thunderbolt 4 USB-C port, and it's located on the top of the device near the microSD card and the power button. It would have been nice if there was another USB-C port to allow the use of accessories while the handheld charges back up. As it is, you'll have to rely on a compatible hub or MSI Claw dock if you want to use other gadgets with the gaming handheld while it receives a charge.

MSI Claw vs other gaming handhelds

The MSI Claw is going up against the ROG Ally and Steam Deck when entering the gaming handheld market. (Image credit: Windows Central)

When comparing the MSI Claw against the best gaming handhelds on the market, there are ways in which certain devices excel where others don't. The most direct competitor to the MSI Claw is the ROG Ally, which is the most popular Windows gaming handheld from the previous year. As much as I love the ROG Ally, it has some serious issues that do need fixing, and it uses an older processor, so the MSI Claw should be more powerful. If you want to learn more about how the MSI Claw stacks up against Asus's device, check out my MSI Claw vs ROG Ally comparison

The other huge competitor on the PC gaming handheld scene is Valve's Steam Deck (and Steam Deck OLED). Unlike MSI Claw, Legion Go, and ROG Ally, Valve's handhelds are specifically designed to work with your Steam library. They have a more focused, Linux-based SteamOS interface rather than Windows, which makes it easier to simply access your games on the handheld. However, this also makes the Steam Deck more limited out of the box (unless you want to customize it). If you want more information, check out my MSI Claw vs Steam Deck comparison.

After ROG Ally and Steam Deck, the biggest competitor to MSI Claw is arguably Lenovo Legion Go. As you can see from my Legion Go review, this device offers an impressive 8.8-inch QHD touchscreen that can reach up to 144Hz, which is a lot higher than other handhelds on the market. However, it doesn't support VRR, like MSI Claw does, which is a big downside.

Meanwhile, AYANEO is a gaming handheld company that launches a new device every few months and must be included as a competitor to MSI Claw. As some background info, AYANEO released its first Windows handheld two years before Steam Deck launched. Now, AYANEO tends to produce less powerful devices that offer some sort of unique aspect. For instance, taking a look at my AYANEO Slide review, you can see that this device has a full QWERTY keyboard that can be hidden or revealed from behind a sliding screen. In the end, the MSI Claw will be more powerful than it, but the Slide offers a convenience factor that the MSI Claw doesn't have.

MSI Claw: Coming soon at MSI

MSI Claw: Coming soon at MSI

This Windows gaming handheld is the first to feature one of the new Intel Core Ultra CPUs with an NPU. It features Hall Effect joysticks and VRR support, which together should make for an excellent gaming experience. There are three configurations to choose from. 

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Self-professed gaming geek, Rebecca Spear, is one of Windows Central's gaming editors with a focus on gaming handhelds, PC gaming, and laptops. When she isn't checking out the latest games on Xbox Game Pass, PC, ROG Ally, or Steam Deck; she can be found digital drawing with a Wacom tablet. She's written thousands of game guides, previews, features, and hardware reviews over the last few years. If you need information about anything gaming-related, her articles can help you out. She also loves testing game accessories and any new tech on the market. You can follow her @rrspear on X (formerly Twitter).