MSI Claw A1M Handheld Gaming Console Guide

MSI Claw A1M Handheld Gaming Console Guide

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The handheld console (or PC) market was relatively flat up until the launch of the Steam Deck back in February 2022.  The Steam Deck opened gamers' eyes to a new gaming experience, offering robust hardware across an extensive game library while being on the go.  It set a new standard for handheld gaming devices and we've seen several manufacturers try and grab a slice of this market.

Notably, entries from ASUS with the ROG Ally, Lenovo with the Legion Go and Logitech with its G-Cloud device. Now tech manufacturer MSI is due to release an intel-powered device and they've called it the MSI Claw A1M.  We've taken a look at the features and specs for the device and summarised everything you need to know including its price and where you can order right now in the UK.

Table of Contents:

 

MSI Claw Configurations and Price

The MSI Claw A1M launched on the 20th of March 2024, considering it was only announced back in January at CES 2024 this is an impressive turnaround.

The handheld console is available in 2 flavours starting at £699 (similar to the Lenovo Legion Go price at release).

  • The £699 / $699 model has a 512GB SSD and Intel® Core™ Ultra 5 135H Processor
  • The £799 / $799 model has a 1TB SSD and Intel® Core™ Ultra 7 155H Processor.

Other than the SSD size and the differences in Intel® Core processors the two models are the same.

In the UK, retailer Currys has grabbed a 3-month exclusive period for selling the MSI Claw A1M.  Ordering with Currys includes several benefits including free delivery and a range of finance options including a buy now pay later scheme. 

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MSI Claw A1M Handheld Gaming Console - 1 TB SSD
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MSI Claw A1M Handheld Gaming Console - 512 GB SSD
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MSI Claw Design

When it comes to design and aesthetics the MSI Claw certainly has that flair and “gamer look” that you would expect from an MSI product. It has contrasting reds and blacks and includes MSI's signature dragon logo on the rear of the device.

With regards to ergonomics, the MSI Claw has two controller-shaped hand grips on the rear of the console (one on either side).  We find comfort to be a huge factor with handheld consoles,  therefore the handheld controls need to fit well and feel good to grip.

There are two back panel buttons which act as additional triggers and are easily accessible from the neutral grip, something we've seen on several handheld gaming devices.  We have mixed opinions on these, for games that require several button binds the additional back buttons are handy but we also find you can accidentally press them if you aren't careful. 

The console has the usual thumbsticks, D-pad, bumpers and ABXY buttons you’ll most likely be accustomed to. MSI has also added a neat feature allowing you to customise the ABXY and joystick backlights, allowing you to add your preferred RGB colours.

Take a look at the gallery below for a detailed view:

Front Button Layout Overview

Plenty of customisable buttons on the front of the console.

MSI Claw A1M Front Buttons Breakdown

Rear Button Layout Overview

The rear of the console includes 2 x macro buttons customisable via the MSI software.

MSI Claw A1M Rear Button Overview

 

Key Features of the MSI Claw - A1M

As with a number of the latest handheld gaming consoles, there are plenty of features for MSI to shout about. First and foremost this is the first handheld console to take advantage of the Intel Core Ultra 5/7 processor 155H and MSI is confident that this processor is going to set the MSI Claw apart as not just the best handheld gaming device but also for use in content creation and multitasking with the MSI claw being able to perform all of your computing needs.

MSI also boasts revolutionary cooling which is extremely important for a device you're holding and playing for extended periods, nobody wants to play on a handheld that's overheating. Thanks to its design and Cooler Boost HyperFlow technology the MSI Claw redirects the airflow throughout the internals to keep all the components cool for even the longest gaming sessions.

Across the currently available gaming PC handhelds the MSI Claw A1M has the largest battery coming in at 53WHr and MSI states that their device will last 50% longer than the market average. If this is true this is a significant win on one of the hardest challenges of creating a gaming handheld which is battery life.

When it comes to the display the MSI Claw has a 7-inch IPS 1920x1080 with a 120Hz refresh rate with 500 nits typical brightness and 100% sRGB coverage. It's a shame this isn't an OLED panel but IPS still offer gorgeous visuals. The 120Hz refresh rate is brilliant for titles that are well-optimised and can reach higher framerates as it leads to a far smoother gaming experience, the difference between 60FPS and 120FPS is night and day.

A quick overview of the MSI Claw A1M's features:

  • Can be used portable or plugged into a monitor to act as a mini desktop
  • 7-inch IPS display with 120Hz refresh rate
  • New Intel-powered CPUs take advantage of Intel Arc Graphics to provide great fidelity alongside high framerates
  • Intel XeSS upscaling on supported games to enhance performance
  • 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM
  • Fingerprint scanner to easily access the device
  • RGB Lighting on analogue sticks and ABXY buttons that can be customised
  • WiFi 7 support
  • Includes a Thunderbolt 4 port which enables support to connect an external screen or high-speed SSD
  • 512GB of built-in storage or 1TB depending on the model (expandable with a MicroSD Card)
  • 53 Whr battery, allowing 2 hours of gaming at full load.
  • Android games support via the MSI App Player
  • MSI App Player also puts all your games from multiple launchers in one easily accessible area

If you'd like to see the MSI Claw A1M in action, take a look at the trailer below:

 

MSI Claw A1M Technical Specs

CPU Intel® Core™ Ultra 5 135H Processor in 512GB model or Intel® Core™ Ultra 7 155H Processor in 1TB model
Operating System Windows 11 Home
Display 7" Full HD 1920x1080, 120Hz, IPS Touchscreen
Storage 512GB or 1TB NVMe PCIe Gen4
Battery 53 Whr
Graphics Intel Arc Graphics
Memory 16GB LPDDR5
Audio 2x2W Speaker
Connectivity WiFi 7 + Bluetooth 5.4
Audio Jack 1x Mic-in/Headphone-out Combo Jack
Ports 1x Type-C Thunderbolt 4 port. 1x Micro SD Card reader
External Dimensions 294 x 117 x 21.2mm (width x depth x height)
Weight 675g

 

We're looking forward to seeing how the MSI Claw A1M performs, you can find out further information over at the MSI official website.

Let us know your thoughts, will you be grabbing one?

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