MSI Claw with Out of Stock label attached and MSI blue and white wallpaper in backdrop

(Image credit: MSI)

Handheld fans are finally getting their hands on the MSI Claw, but if you didn’t pre-order the portable PC, you’ll now potentially have to wait. While swinging by retailers for a daily check, I noticed that the Intel Ultra Core 7 model is fresh out of stock. That’s somewhat surprising considering we’re hearing mixed opinions so far from early adopters, not to mention similar devices already exist.

Ultimately, I’ll have to test the latest Steam Deck rival before knowing how it stacks up against the best gaming handhelds. However, plenty of players seem to be looking to buy the MSI Claw, or at least that’s what appears to be happening at Newegg. Technically, the portable PC was released on March 8, with third-party orders set to ship from March 15. Now, the retailer has placed the top-spec model on backorder, accompanied by an ETA of March 22. 

Screenshot of Newegg MSI Claw backorder page

(Image credit: Newegg)

The sort of good news is that the MSI Claw stock isn’t a complete wipe-out, as the Ultra Core 5 version is still available at Newegg for $699. Just keep in mind that the cheapest model will feature less oomph, and for the money, I’ve yet to be convinced it’s worth buying over something like an Asus ROG Ally. That said, I’m willing to be proven wrong on that front, and if Intel’s graphics card history is anything to go by, its GPU support ages like a fine wine.

Naturally, Newegg isn’t the only one with MSI Claw stock incoming, as Best Buy says it’ll start shipping pre-orders from April 7. If you happen to be in the UK, you’ll have to head to Currys to grab the handheld, as it’s exclusive to the retailer for now.

Is the MSI Claw worth buying? 

MSI Claw handheld on a dark blue background

(Image credit: Future)

I’ll hopefully be able to share my thoughts on the MSI Claw soon, but we’re already starting to see early benchmarks emerge. For example, a review shared by French publication Phoneandroid features some insightful benchmarks, with the likes of Cyberpunk 2077 clocking in at 32fps at 1080p. For context, I managed to squeeze over 40fps out of the Asus ROG Ally while running the RPG at the same resolution, and the Lenovo Legion GO managed 38fps under the same conditions. 

An overview by YouTuber Retro Game Corps also provides some hands-on insights, with the enthusiast branding the device “exciting and disappointing.” In terms of buttons, the D-pad and bumpers feel mushy, while the face buttons seemingly hold up pretty well. Sadly, the same can’t be said for general performance, with the creator suggesting that it uses more power to produce anywhere near the same results as its competitors in games like Destiny 2, Control, and Elden Ring.

Again, I’ll share my own MSI Claw review when I can, so watch this space for a definitive verdict. As for whether I think the handheld is worth buying right now, I’d personally wait for more people to get their hands on it before splashing out cash. And besides, as I explained above, demand seems to be high enough that you’ll need to wait until at least next week to even get hold of one.

Looking for a full blown rig? Check out the best gaming PC and best gaming laptop for a selection of high spec machines. Alternatively, take a peek at the best Steam Deck dock for ways to turn Valve‘s handheld into a desktop machine.

Weekly digests, tales from the communities you love, and more

I’ve been messing around with PCs, video game consoles, and tech since before I could speak. Don’t get me wrong, I kickstarted my relationship with technology by jamming a Hot Wheels double-decker bus into my parent’s VCR, but we all have to start somewhere. I even somehow managed to become a walking, talking buyer’s guide at my teenage supermarket job, which helped me accept my career fate. So, rather than try to realise my musician dreams, or see out my University degree, I started running my own retro pop culture site and writing about video games and tech for the likes of TechRadar, The Daily Star, and the BBC before eventually ending up with a job covering graphics card shenanigans at PCGamesN. Now, I’m your friendly neighbourhood Hardware Editor at GamesRadar, and it’s my job to make sure you can kick butt in all your favourite games using the best gaming hardware, whether you’re a sucker for handhelds like the Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch or a hardcore gaming PC enthusiast.

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