A new Steam Deck challenger approaches with the MSI Claw A1M

The MSI Claw A1M is MSI’s first portable gaming console, with a similar design to the Asus ROG Ally and a state-of-the-art processor.

Custom image of the MIS Claw A1M on a green and yellow background with a dragon on the screen

Since the release of the Steam Deck, we’ve seen multiple competitor handhelds, including the Asus ROG Ally, Ayaneo 2, and Lenovo Legion Go, but there’s a new kid on the block with the MSI Claw A1M. The debut portable console from PC gaming brand MSI, the Claw A1M, is the first of its kind to utilize an Intel Core Ultra processor with AI capable of enhancing gaming performance and boosting frame rates.

The MSI Claw A1M looks quite similar to the ROG Ally, with an ergonomic design purpose-built for long gaming sessions and a seven-inch screen while also matching the Ally’s 120Hz refresh rate. MSI’s first portable gaming device also includes the Cooler Boost HyperFlow technology, a thermal design that regulates heat by redirecting airflow inside the Claw A1M to cool internal components. Add to all of that some Hall Effect triggers and joysticks, and you’ve got what looks to be a pretty impressive bit of kit, especially considering it’s MSI’s first foray into the portable gaming market.

While the MSI Claw A1M specs sheet is pretty impressive compared to some of the best portable gaming consoles currently available, it’s not quite as capable as the Steam Deck OLED in terms of battery life. MSI suggests the 53Whr battery life sits at around two hours under “full workload conditions,” which, while slightly better than competitors like the Asus ROG Ally, lags behind the three to 12 hours of the Steam Deck OLED.

In terms of the pricing, the base model MSI Claw A1M is set to retail for $699, with an Intel Core Ultra 5 processor, 512 GB storage, and 16 GB of RAM, with the option of an even more souped-up version at $799m, which includes an Intel Core Ultra 7 Processor, 1 TB of storage, and the same 16 GB of RAM. There still isn’t an official release date for the device, but reports from those on the ground at CES are suggesting a launch in the first quarter of 2024, potentially as early as February.

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With that, you’re up to date on the reveal of the MSI Claw A1M, MSI’s first portable gaming PC. If you’re looking for something a little more retro to play on the go, check out our guides to the best retro handhelds. Or, if you’re more of a mobile gamer, see our picks for the best gaming phones and the best budget gaming phones.