MSI Claw gets official pricing – and some gamers aren’t happy with the cost of this Steam Deck rival

An MSI Claw at CES 2024
(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

MSI’s Claw, another in a line of Windows-powered Steam Deck rivals, has just been priced up in the US, and for those keen on the look of the device, it’s not great news.

MSI has revealed the official price tags for the Claw on its store (as VideoCardz noticed), and the gaming portable lands at a higher price point than one of its big Windows-toting rivals, the Asus Rog Ally. Indeed, the cheapest MSI Claw matches the most expensive version of the Ally (for MSRP, that is).

The top-end MSI Claw with an Intel Core Ultra 7-155H CPU and 1TB of storage pitches in at $799.99 (about £635 / AU$1,215) in the US, with the model that drops the SSD to a 512GB capacity arriving at $749.99 (about £595 / AU$1,140).

The lowest-end Claw keeps that same amount of storage, but downgrades the processor to a Core Ultra 5-135H, and is priced at $699.99 (about £550 / AU$1,060). We should note that those top and base models are priced as MSI had previously suggested they would be, but this is official confirmation. Note that other regional pricing provided above is an estimate.

That compares to the Asus Rog Ally having an MSRP of $699.99 and $599.99 for the higher and lower-end models. Lenovo’s Legion Go has two spins with a recommended price of $699.99 and $749.99, so that’s slightly dearer than Asus, but not as much as the most expensive Claw from MSI here.

Analysis: A Claw-full of dollars

The catch here is that we’ve just been looking at recommended pricing, but in fact the base model of the Asus Rog Ally has been discounted to $399.99 in the US since December 2023 (first at Best Buy, though now this price cut is being offered from the Asus store itself).

Granted, that lower-end model – where the CPU downgrade (the vanilla version of the Z1) makes a big difference – never made sense priced so close to the Z1 Extreme version of the Asus handheld. However, the low-end Ally’s current price makes the cost of MSI’s Claw seem even more like it’s pushing the boundaries of acceptability.

It could be argued that you’re getting some pretty nifty hardware for the money with the Claw, and that’s a fair enough point. This is the first handheld to go with a Meteor Lake CPU and reaps benefits there – gaming felt nicely smooth in our brief test of the MSI Claw – and the 7-inch Full HD display is really lovely and offers a 120Hz refresh rate (plus VRR support, as confirmed by The Verge, again a definite boon).

However, there are certainly those out there who would’ve preferred to see some cutbacks on that spec in exchange for a slightly lower price point, and certainly $799.99 at the top end is going to be a somewhat difficult pill to swallow for a gaming handheld. In the end, you’ll pay your money and make your proverbial choice…

From what we’ve heard, the MSI Claw should be out soon, and we can get a proper evaluation of the device carried out. MSI has indicated it could debut in February or March, most likely, and seeing the official MSRPs pop up now on MSI’s store suggests to us that the portable is not far off hitting the shelves now.

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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).