MSI Claw 8 AI+ Handheld Gaming PC: Bigger Screen, More Power, and Improved Battery Life

Just months after its initial launch, MSI is showcasing the next version of its handheld gaming PC, the Claw, at Computex 2024. The new iteration, dubbed the Claw 8 AI+, boasts a complete hardware overhaul and aims to address the shortcomings of its predecessor. Although the design language remains arguably the same, the Claw 8 AI+ now comes with a gray body that helps highlight the controls better, a larger screen, and a much more comfortable ergonomic design.

MSI isn’t revealing the specific Lunar Lake CPU model powering the Claw 8 AI+, but it confirms the presence of this next-generation Intel chip. This is coupled with up to 32GB of speedy LPDDR5x RAM and a 1TB SSD. The storage solution is an M.2 2280 SSD, mirroring the ASUS ROG Ally X, potentially allowing for easier upgrades in the future.

Designer: MSI

Beyond internals, the Claw 8 AI+ sports a redesigned chassis that appears more comfortable to hold compared to the original Claw. The device was kept under a glass display so we couldn’t get a handheld experience. It accommodates a larger 8-inch display, though the resolution remains 1080p with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate. Dual Thunderbolt ports are a welcome addition, offering versatility for connecting external displays or high-speed peripherals.

Battery life was a major pain point for the original Claw. MSI is rectifying this with a substantial leap in capacity for the 8 AI+. The new model boasts an 80-watt-hour battery, matching the ROG Ally X and offering a significant improvement over the original’s disappointing 53-watt-hour unit. This rapid turnaround from MSI highlights their determination to carve a space in the competitive handheld gaming market. They assure continued support for the original Claw with ongoing driver updates, including one released recently.

The success of the Claw 8 AI+ hinges heavily on the capabilities of the Lunar Lake CPU. Intel boasts a “radical low-power architecture” ideal for handheld devices, alongside improved integrated graphics powered by their Battlemage architecture. While details are scarce, the potential for efficient performance and impressive visuals is promising.

However, past experiences with the original Claw, hampered by the Meteor Lake CPU, serve as a cautionary tale. While other manufacturers opted for AMD processors, MSI’s choice limited performance. Here’s hoping the pairing of Lunar Lake and the Claw 8 AI+ proves fruitful.

Pricing details remain under wraps, but a September launch window is expected. While the final design might differ slightly from the prototype showcased at Computex, a potential price drop for the original Claw is also hinted at.