It seems the MSI Claw gaming handheld is releasing this week — I'm curious to see if its performance is better than early benchmarks suggest

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

What you need to know

  • The MSI Claw is a new gaming handheld that was revealed earlier this year. 
  • It will be the first Windows gaming handheld to feature the brand-new Intel Core Ultra CPU. 
  • For a while now, the release time for the MSI Claw has vaguely been stated as March or April, but with no firm date. 
  • Thanks to a listing at Newegg, the official release date seems to have been made public. 
  • MSI will also release a few official accessories for its gaming handheld including a dock.

We've had no shortage of the best gaming handhelds to choose from over the course of the last year, but even so, we can expect to see a few more launch this year. The closest gaming handheld release will be the MSI Claw, which apparently launches this week. Since January, we've known that the MSI Claw with its Intel Core Ultra processor would be releasing sometime in either March or April, but now thanks to a Newegg listing, it seems the exact launch date ETA for the MSI Claw version with an Intel Core Ultra 7 and 512GB (which has an MSRP of $749.00) will be this Friday, March 8, 2024 in the United States

I got to play with the MSI Claw at CES 2024.  (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / Windows Central)
More gaming handhelds

Meanwhile, the ETA for the other two versions of the MSI Claw (Core Ultra / 1TB SSD at $799.00 and Core Ultra 5 / 512 SSD at $699.00) are listed with a March 15, 2024 ETA on Newegg. Additionally, from the Newegg UK pre-order page, it seems that the MSI Claw will release a few weeks later in the United Kingdom.

What's more, we know that a few official MSI Claw gaming accessories are on the way. As listed on the MSI Claw webpage, MSI will be releasing a travel case, tempered glass screen protector, docking station with a USB-C cable, lanyard, and keychain for this gaming handheld. The docking station in particular looks very compact and I'm curious to see if it simply connects to the MSI Claw or if it also doubles as a stand.

Official MSI Claw accessories are coming.  (Image credit: MSI)

So the question becomes, with all of the gaming handhelds currently available is MSI Claw going to be a strong contender on the market? After all, since the release of the incredibly popular Steam Deck which really kicked PC gaming handhelds off a couple of years ago, we've since gotten Windows gaming handhelds like ROG Ally and Legion Go. So what exactly does the MSI Claw offer that makes it stand apart? The answer centers around the CPU.

The Intel Core Ultra line of processors (a.k.a Meteor Lake) that the MSI Claw utilizes is the biggest CPU shift in the last 40 years. These chips are said to have markedly improved system efficiency and could theoretically make the MSI Claw the best performing gaming handheld device. Of course a few weeks ago, early benchmark tests between the ROG Ally and MSI Claw didn't look so favorable for the MSI Claw. However, it very well could be that additional updates and patches to the system could allow the gaming handheld to operate better when it officially launches.

I'll be doing our MSI Claw review once the device comes in, so check back to see what this system is capable of. Since I frequently play on my ROG Ally, I'll be able to update our MSI Claw vs ROG Ally comparison with new information as well.

Rebecca Spear
Editor and Reviewer

Self-professed gaming geek, Rebecca Spear, is one of Windows Central's editors and reviewers 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 articles with everything from editorials, reviews, previews, features, previews, 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).