MSI Claw just got turbocharged with Intel's Lunar Lake chip — and it puts ROG Ally X on notice

MSI Claw 8 AI Plus in a glass booth at Computex 2024.
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Though both I and my colleague Tony Polanco really wanted to like the MSI Claw… then we tested it. At two separate hands-on events across both sides of the pond, we were equally frustrated by its lackluster software that made games annoyingly tough to launch, with the MSI Center simply not performing as it should. Let's hope the company has learned its lessons, because the MSI Claw 8 AI Plus has just been announced at Computex 2024 this week.

Bigger, with a beefier battery and a much more impressive CPU, the Claw 8 AI Plus is already beginning to look like the gaming handheld we should have got from MSI from the start. Intel’s Meteor Lake chip is out, and the new Intel Ultra codenamed “Lunar Lake” is in. We’ve known for a little while that Lunar Lake is set to power over 80 new AI laptops this year, but this is the first time we’re seeing this advanced silicon come to a Windows 11 handheld PC.  

The bump in power that should come from ditching the old Intel Core Ultra 5 in the OG model for Lunar Lake CPUs should help run games more smoothly. And if you hate constantly having to charge your current Claw, there’s good news on the battery front. 

The MSI Claw 8 AI Plus has a 80Wh battery, which is a big upgrade over the 53Wh one found in its predecessor. The Steam Deck has only a 40Wh battery.

The MSI Claw 8 AI Plus has a 80Wh battery, which is a big ol’ upgrade over the 53Wh one found in its predecessor. For context, the Steam Deck, which remains by far the most popular handheld PC from a sales perspective, only has a 40Wh battery. When it comes to being a battery beast, only the recently announced ROG Ally X can match the AI Plus on paper. 

When it comes to the screen, MSI is bringing the chonk. Dropping the 7-inch display of the first Claw, the 8 AI Plus version now has an 8-inch Full HD display with a refresh rate of 120Hz, support for VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) and a touch screen. 

The new Claw looks like it should run cooler than the older model thanks to MSI’s “Cooler Boost HyperFlow”; a system that uses two fans and a duo of pipes and what the firm refer to as “revolutionary intraflow thermal design," which should help drive full performance.

The Hall Effect joysticks on the first Claw return to give you greater precision in the best PC games, while the new MSI Centre M promises it will provide a more tailored inference to give gamers a better handheld experience. This is the one area I hope MSI delivers on, because the software last time out just wasn’t up to the job. 

There’s no word on pricing or release dates yet, but considering how quickly the Claw burst onto the scene before becoming available to buy, I don’t think you’re going to have to wait too long for the MSI Claw 8 AI Plus to appear in stores. 

Fallout Edition announced 

Playing Fallout 4 on the MSI Claw Fallout Edition at Computex 2024.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

In a canny attempt to hop on the coattails of one of the buzziest shows of the year in the form of Prime Video’s surprisingly good “Fallout”, MSI has also announced another Claw at Computex. Sporting serious “Pip-Boy” vibes, The MSI Claw: Fallout Edition is probably gonna be on a lot of Christmas lists for those who adore Bethesda’s irradiated sandbox series, yet that may not be possible from what we're hearing.

Sadly, from what my Tom’s Guide colleagues have been told on the show floor at Computex, it seems the Fallout Claw may not be put on general sale... at least not for very long. This is very much a limited edition model, so if it is put on release, don't expect to be in stores for long.  

Instead, initial word has it that this device will be used more from a marketing perspective and may only be sent to select influencers or made available during contests. Which is a bit of a bummer if true.

@tomsguide

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If it makes you feel any better, the Fallout Claw is just a reskinned version of the original 7-inch model, so it doesn’t get that impressive Lunar Lake chip upgrade. Still, it’s a pretty cool looking gizmo, even though it sounds like I may need to become “Lotto lucky” to ever get my hands on one.

Going back to the MSI Claw 8 AI Plus, as much as I doubt it will replace my beloved Steam Deck OLED, it looks like company has potentially cooked up one hell of a handheld. 

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Dave Meikleham
UK Computing Editor

Dave is a computing editor at Tom’s Guide and covers everything from cutting edge laptops to ultrawide monitors. When he’s not worrying about dead pixels, Dave enjoys regularly rebuilding his PC for absolutely no reason at all. In a previous life, he worked as a video game journalist for 15 years, with bylines across GamesRadar+, PC Gamer and TechRadar. Despite owning a graphics card that costs roughly the same as your average used car, he still enjoys gaming on the go and is regularly glued to his Switch. Away from tech, most of Dave’s time is taken up by walking his husky, buying new TVs at an embarrassing rate and obsessing over his beloved Arsenal.