MSI Claw finally has a release date and it's sooner than you think

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

MSI is the latest company to have thrown its hat into the burgeoning PC handheld gaming market, revealing the MSI Claw at CES in January – and now we’ve finally got an official release date for the handheld.

According to a listing from Newegg, the Claw will be released on March 8, 2024 in the US in three variants, with the $749 model coming out that day and the $699 and $799 models launching a week later on March 15. It’ll either be equipped with the Core Ultra 7 155H or the Core Ultra 5 135H processors. Some versions also have 512GB or 1TB storage options.

Shoppers in the UK will get two models, a 512GB version with the Core Ultra 5 chip and a 1TB version with the Core Ultra 7, priced at £699 and £799 respectively. Pre-orders are already available at major retailers including Currys. Full Australian pricing has yet to be released at the time of writing, but there will apparently be four models starting at AU$1,399.

The MSI Claw is the first of the portable PC handhelds to use the Intel Core Ultra series. The Core Ultra 7 155H features 16 CPU cores and the Intel Arc graphics features 8 Xe-Cores. The Core Ultra 5 135H comes with 14 CPU cores and 7 Xe-Cores.

The MSI Claw could be in trouble 

It’s rather bizarre that the release date and preorders for the MSI Claw have been revealed so close to launch. It’s such a waste of precious promotional time during which the preorder period could have been used to better advertise the handheld in the first place.

On top of that, while the specs for the MSI Claw are extremely impressive, that all comes at a steep price which could affect its future sales. Because of what components it’s packing, the cheapest model available is still an incredibly pricey $699, which is higher than the pricing for its competition.

Another issue is that its build is quite similar to both the Steam Deck and Levono Legion Go, which makes it harder to sell any sort of unique quality. Especially since it’s more expensive than other options, which hardly would convince anyone to invest when it’s perceived to be more or less the same system.

This means that the Claw is coming in at a distinct disadvantage in terms of awareness, aesthetics, and cost, which could seriously hurt its long-term success. It would be a shame too, as it’s clearly the most ambitious of the PC gaming handhelds thus far. Hopefully, it can find its footing in the market and prove my doubts wrong, but we can only wait and see.

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Allisa James
Computing Staff Writer

Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.