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MSI Claw A1M is one hell of a gaming PC with best-in-class power, cooling, more

MSI Claw A1M powered on and ready to play
Handheld or portable gaming is seeing a huge boon in innovation thanks to ultra-portable PCs from various manufacturers. I won’t bother naming them all here, but the market has grown quite competitive. That’s why MSI and Intel have teamed up to produce and optimize the MSI Claw A1M. The Claw is effectively a portable PC powered by an Intel Core Ultra processor, Intel Arc graphics, and Windows 11 Home. But what’s more exciting is that it’s equipped with many premium upgrades to improve gaming experiences vastly. For example, the ergonomically tailored hand grips feel more comfortable, especially during long sessions, and the 53-watt-hour battery supports longer playing times. High-performance Hall Effect joysticks offer unmatched precision and control with MSI Mystic Light for customizable RGB. Meanwhile, the intelligently designed cooling system called Cooler Boost HyperFlow optimizes airflow to keep it running at full speed without affecting performance.
If that were everything, I’d be happy with it, but there’s so much more. The 120Hz 7-inch display supports VRR or variable refresh rate to keep onscreen action smooth and responsive. Two 2-watt high-resolution speakers provide immersive, crystal-clear audio. It’s WiFi 7-ready, with a Thunderbolt 4 port for high-speed charging, and like alternatives on the market, it can be docked and used like a traditional desktop PC. Above all, MSI, Intel, and Microsoft are committed to providing best-in-class support through regular updates while collecting end-user feedback, with quick reactions when necessary. This means that the Claw A1M is a labor of love, and they’re genuinely looking to work with the community to optimize the experience.
Our First Look at the MSI Claw | Unboxing, Gameplay, and More
As for the rest of the design, let’s take a look.

Designed with elements of Anthropometry: The science of comfort

MSI Claw A1M being used to play racing game
MSI
Anthropometry is defined as the scientific study of the proportions of the human body. It’s used to study the interaction of objects, devices, or machinery on the body, usually to prevent occupational injuries. In the MSI Claw’s case, it’s used to create a more ergonomic and comfortable system overall with a decidedly thoughtful form factor. Thanks to what MSI claims is “thousands [of bits] of sample data collected globally,” it has been able to tailor the Claw to fit the natural contours of the average grip. Not only does that make it better and more comfortable to hold, but it also offers intuitive, precise controls, which, as you know, is essential for reaction times in a game.
It looks fantastic, too, with the joysticks’ offset placement on either side, the rewarding directional pad that offers excellent feedback during use, and the colorful yet satisfying functional buttons everywhere else. Around the edges of the joysticks are RGB halos powered by MSI’s Mystic Light for true customization, but the lighting also extends to the ABXY buttons on the face. Together, they create a neon halo of dancing lights that seem to bob, weave, and breathe to what’s happening onscreen. It’s a marvel to see in action, and despite being mostly for aesthetics, I’m in the camp firmly for such upgrades. Let’s go.
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Software matters and MSI delivers

MSI Claw A1M with MSI Center M menu open
MSI

For those who’ve used PCs like this before, you already know the software plays a huge role in the overall experience related to performance and usability. Specifically, giving you the option to launch all of your games, apps, and other key experiences. The MSI Claw runs Windows 11 Home, which already offers a full desktop-like experience but is also equipped with MSI’s optimized software. An example is the MSI App Player, which allows you virtually full access to your library of games across both Windows titles and Android mobile games. MSI Center M offers a dedicated interface for quick settings, so you can easily change screen brightness, volume, and settings. It also has a real-time hardware monitor you can enable.

And if you want to customize what’s available in the quick menu or add new toggles, you can do that, as well, through a built-in editor. You also have the option to swap between a dedicated gaming mode — with full use of the built-in gamepad — or a desktop mode for desktop operations.

MSI truly has thought of everything here.

MSI Claw features and specifications

MSI Claw A1M assembly render
MSI

Hardware determines most of the performance you’ll see, and MSI has not skimped out on excellent internals. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Intel Core Ultra processor up to Intel Core Ultra 8 155H
  • Intel XeSS XE Super Sampling
  • Intel Arc Graphics with Intel optimizations
  • Massive 53-watt-hour battery
  • 7-inch FHD (1920 by 1080) touchscreen with 120Hz refresh rate
  • Up to 1TB solid-state drive with 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM
  • MSI Cooler Boost HyperFlow optimized performance cooling
  • Two heat pipes to increase cooling with 50% larger air-vent sizes
  • Windows 11 Home and MSI apps with quick settings
  • Support for Xbox Game Pass
  • MicroSD card reader for storage expansion
  • Versatile IO ports with Thunderbolt 4 and fast-charging
  • Ergonomic, thoughtful design optimized for comfort with improved grips
  • Hall Effect joystick sensors with Mystic Light RGB for the sticks and ABXY buttons
  • Best-in-class support from MSI, Intel, and Microsoft that factors in community feedback

MSI Claw A1M: Next-generation handheld gaming

You’ve seen the power, or at least see what’s tucked inside the Claw A1M and the software enhancements. Now, it’s time to give the Claw a try. Go on, you deserve it.

If you want to read a little more about the MSI Claw A1M and the different models available, visit MSI’s main product page. As of now, there are three models, one of which is exclusive to Best Buy Canada (A1M-047CA for $1,100). But they all deliver the same core features. The biggest difference is the built-in storage, with 512GB or 1TB options. Also, the base model for $900 is rocking an Intel Core Ultra 5-135H versus the Ultra 7-155H in the high-end model. Either way, you’re getting one hell of a handheld gaming PC with the MSI Claw A1M.

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