MSI Claw A1M Handheld Starts at $699; Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) Support Confirmed

msi claw a1m gaming handheld
In Short
  • MSI Claw A1M gaming handheld will start at $699 as confirmed by the company.
  • The release date is still unconfirmed but I expect MSI to launch it before Q2-24 ends.
  • The handheld is confirmed to have VRR support. It is powered by Core Ultra processors.

Microstar International (MSI) has already shown off the new Claw A1M gaming handheld at CES 2024, and the company has now revealed the prices. Moreover, support for an integral feature (VRR) that increases smoothness in games has been confirmed. We will talk about the MSI Claw A1M gaming handheld’s specs and price, along with discussing what the confirmed support of VRR means. Then, we will also tell you about the expected availability details of MSI Claw A1M.

The MSI Claw is a new portable gaming handheld and the company’s first product, which will compete against handheld gaming consoles like the Steam Deck, ROG Ally, and Lenovo Legion Go. Until Valve comes out with the Steam Deck 2, this will be one of the best gaming handhelds to buy in 2024 coming with the latest Core Ultra processors.

MSI has already confirmed it will be working on future successors as part of the company’s roadmap for future handhelds! Even Asus confirmed they are working on a second-generation Ally (Source: Techlusive). It is quite exciting to see so many new gaming handhelds on the horizon!

MSI Claw A1M: Specifications & Prices

MSI has confirmed that the Claw starts at $699.99. The base model, known as Claw A1M-052US, features the Intel Core Ultra 5 135H processor. This particular CPU model from Intel features 14 cores & 18 threads, and MSI’s website lists the Claw with Intel Arc graphics. This model has a 512GB NVMe Gen 4 SSD with no DRAM cache.

Next, at $749.99 the MSI Claw A1M-051US features an upgraded Intel Core Ultra 7 155H processor. Notably, this processor also features Intel Arc graphics, but the graphics performance difference between Core Ultra 5 and Core Ultra 7 may not be substantial. This specific model, priced at a $50 premium, gives you a better processor and has the same storage capacity.

The highest-end MSI Claw A1M-050US variant has been priced at $799.99 and features the same processor. Here, the most expensive model features a 1TB NVMe Gen 4 SSD, which is double the storage capacity.

msi claw a1m portable gaming handheld console
Image Courtesy: MSI

Speaking of common features, MSI Claw handheld (Core Ultra 5 or 7) features a 7-inch Full HD (1920×1080) IPS-level display with up to 120 Hz refresh rate. The screen supports touch input and has 99% sRGB coverage with up to 500 nits of brightness.

All models feature 16GB of LPDDR5 4800MHz RAM. For wireless connectivity, MSI Claw has Intel Killer Wi-Fi 7 support with Bluetooth v5.4 and the handheld charges via a 65W power delivery adapter. By the way, the on-board Core Ultra processor also features Intel’s Neural Processing Unit (NPU) for AI processing.

Intel Core Ultra, with new Arc graphics, is expected to be performant enough for the latest games despite being an integrated-style GPU. The battery capacity on MSI’s handheld is 53Whr. The handheld also features the company’s ‘Cooler Boost HyperFlow’ technology for cooling, along with MSI’s AI Engine that reportedly adjusts the user’s system settings on the fly as needed.

msi claw a1m portable gaming handheld console
Image Courtesy: MSI

The controllers on the handheld have Hall-effect triggers & joysticks, which are better than traditional designs and give the user higher precision when playing. In terms of audio, the MSI Claw features dual 2W speakers. The controllers also have MSI RGB Mystic Light support. The Type-C port on the handheld also has Thunderbolt 4 support.

MSI Claw: Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) Support Confirmed

MSI Claw’s 120Hz 7-inch Full HD display will support Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) within the Windows 11 settings. As per a recent post by The Verge, this has been confirmed with the company marketing team.

In my ROG Ally review, I experienced the screen dynamically adjusting the display refresh rate based on gameplay. This is a very integral technology, especially for handhelds, and I am surprised the Steam Deck does not feature it. Lower FPS (at least 48+) on a VRR screen looks better than a non-VRR screen having even 55 FPS, for example.

msi claw a1m portable gaming handheld console
Image Courtesy: MSI

Everything looks much smoother with the inclusion of VRR on displays. The graphics card chipmakers AMD and Nvidia also have their exclusive FreeSync and GSync technologies that do the same thing.

MSI Claw A1M: Release Date

MSI has not yet confirmed when its Claw A1M gaming handheld will be released in the market. Rumors state it could launch before March 2024. I speculate that MSI will launch the Claw before the second quarter of 2024 ends. By this time, many Core Ultra-based laptops will be released into the market, so the timing would make sense.

The portable gaming console has already been showcased at CES 2024. So, we can hold out hope that the launch is imminent. Still, the availability details on MSI Claw are unclear for now. We will update you as soon as we hear something official from the company. Given that the prices of MSI Claw are out, you can surely start planning which model you want to buy!

How do you like the brand-new MSI Claw gaming handheld powered by Intel Core Ultra processors? Let us know in the comments below.

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