MSI Claw vs. Lenovo Legion Go vs. ASUS ROG Ally: Which Handheld Gaming System is better?

Jacob King By Jacob King - February 1st, 2024
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Mobile gaming has significantly transcended in recent years, now encompassing intricate RPGs and high-stakes action games that demand more robust hardware. With the advent of handheld gaming systems that are nearly as powerful as their desktop counterparts, gamers can enjoy full-scale gaming experiences on the go. These latest devices boast high-performance processors, superior graphics, and enhanced controls that come together to deliver an uncompromised portable gaming experience.

ASUS paved the way for mainstream adoption of these handheld powerhouses with the introduction of the ROG Ally. Fitted with top-of-the-line specs and a design tailored for gamers, it set a high benchmark in portable gaming. It was inevitable that this would spark competition; and now, Lenovo and MSI have made their own forays into the market with the Legion Go and MSI Claw (release date TBC). Each system brings its own unique features and capabilities to the table. In this article, we compare the ASUS ROG Ally, Lenovo Legion Go, and MSI Claw.

Design & Display

The ASUS ROG Ally and MSI Claw both feature a 7-inch FHD IPS screen, offering sharp visuals at a 120Hz refresh rate for smooth, tear-free gaming. The Claw takes ergonomics up a notch with larger grips designed for comfort during extended play sessions and includes two additional shoulder buttons for enhanced control, giving gamers the extra inputs required for complex gaming scenarios. 

The Lenovo Legion Go, on the other hand, takes the screen real estate to a new level with an 8.8-inch IPS display that boasts a QHD+ resolution and a higher refresh rate of 144Hz. This not only means a larger canvas for immersing into games but also sharp visuals that pop with detail and fluidity. One of the most distinctive features of the Legion Go is its modular controller setup — much like the Nintendo Switch, the Legion Go's controllers can be detached from the main body, offering a transformative experience that tailors to user preference.

Winner: Lenovo Legion Go

Picture of Lenovo Legion Go Handheld Gaming System
The Lenovo Legion Go leads with an 8.8" QHD+ 144Hz display.
Picture of Lenovo Legion Go Handheld Gaming System
Detach the controllers from the main body for a transformative experience.

The Performance

Comparing the performance of the ASUS ROG Ally, the Lenovo Legion Go, and the MSI Claw reveals a picture of fierce competition and advanced technology tailored for on-the-go gaming. The ROG Ally and Legion Go both harness the AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme processor, which features 8 cores, paired with 16GB of RAM, to ensure smooth multitasking and capable handling of demanding games. Both the ROG Ally and Legion Go offer 512GB of SSD storage, allowing for an extensive library of games and media on the device. The Legion Go and ROG Ally both have a max TDP of 30W, compared to MSI Claw's max of 45W. 

Further, the MSI Claw sets itself apart by integrating the first-of-its-kind Intel Core Ultra 5 135H processor. This powerhouse chip, featuring 16 cores - a combination of four power cores, eight efficiency cores, and an additional two low-power efficiency cores - positions the Claw to tackle intensive workloads masterfully. Despite the lack of benchmark tests to date, anticipation is high that the Claw will not just keep pace with its rivals but potentially outperform them, thanks in part to its innovative architecture. With the integration of Intel's latest processors, the Claw also gains an edge by leveraging Intel XeSS, Intel's AI-driven upscaling technology, to amplify framerates in supported games at a better image quality (compared to AMD’s FSR technology). This is combined with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage.

Winner: It’s anticipated that the MSI Claw will outperform the Legion Go and ROG Ally but we’ll need to do a proper review with benchmark tests to properly compare performance. 

Battery

When it comes to battery life, a crucial aspect for gaming on the go, the three handheld devices showcase variances that could make a clear impact on your choice. The ASUS ROG Ally, despite being equipped with the smallest battery capacity at 40wHr, surprisingly holds its ground with reported battery longevity that rivals the Lenovo Legion Go, which has a slightly larger 49.5wHr battery. This is likely due to the Legion Go’s larger display and specifications drawing more power. Nonetheless, its battery life is reportedly on par with the ROG Ally, which is commendable given its QHD+ resolution and larger 8.8-inch screen. 

Picture of MSI Claw Handheld Gaming System
MSI Claw integrates the first-of-its-kind Intel Core Ultra 7 155H processor.
Picture of MSI Claw Handheld Gaming System
With a larger 53wHr battery, MSI Claw is likely to boast a longer battery life. 

On the other hand, the MSI Claw comes out ahead in the battery capacity race, boasting a 53wHr battery that, combined with its smaller display, hints at the potential for longer play sessions between charges. The efficient nature of its Intel Core Ultra processor may contribute to this stamina, suggesting that the Claw could sustain gamers through longer journeys or extended gaming bouts without reaching for a charger. It is crucial to note that actual battery life will vary based on the workload, game settings, and other operational conditions, making real-world usage the ultimate test for these devices' battery prowess. 

Winner: Based on the specifications, the MSI Claw's combination of a more substantial battery and a display that may consume less power could offer the advantage of longer unplugged gaming sessions relative to the ROG Ally and Legion Go. 

Price

When it comes to affordability, the ASUS ROG Ally takes the lead with a price tag of $1499*, making it notably more wallet-friendly compared to the Lenovo Legion Go's steeper $1899* price point. The MSI Claw's cost remains under wraps, but considering its advanced specs, it's likely to come up a bit closer to Legion Go's premium. The ROG Ally's competitive price, coupled with its capable performance, presents it as an attractive option for those who seek a balance between cost and performance. While the Legion Go and potentially the Claw might edge out with slightly better displays, performance, or battery life, the Ally's value proposition is strong, particularly for budget-conscious gamers who still demand a high-quality gaming experience at a lower price.

Winner: ROG Ally

Picture of MSI Claw Handheld Gaming System
ROG Ally is an attractive option for those looking to balance price and performance. 
Picture of MSI Claw Handheld Gaming System
It features a 7" FHD IPS display with an AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme CPU.

* Price at the time this article was written. Subject to change.

Conclusion

Deciding on the best handheld system ultimately depends on your priorities. If you prefer a larger display and the versatility of a detachable controller system, you will find the Lenovo Legion Go appealing, offering a QHD+ resolution, 144Hz screen, 512GB of SSD storage, and innovative controller features that enhance both gaming and productivity. 

If your focus is on top-tier performance with a nod towards future-facing technology, the MSI Claw might be your best pick. Its unique Intel Core Ultra 7 processor and Intel ARC graphics with AI-driven XeSS upscaling cater to anyone seeking power and looking to explore a broad library that spans PC and Android games. It’s also lighter and may have a longer battery life. 

For those seeking a balance between a quality gaming experience, portability and price, the ASUS ROG Ally is a strong contender. The ROG Ally's design and optimisation make it suitable for gamers who prioritise a lightweight, streamlined device with the familiar Windows ecosystem. One of its main benefits is the lower price point - and you might even find it on sale at times - making it an ideal pick for those who prioritise price. 

Keep in mind, this conclusion is based on specs alone and we’ll have to do a proper review of each of the gaming systems for a true comparison of the devices. What gaming handheld do you have your eye on? Let us know below!

Quick Specifications

ROG ALLY

  • FHD 1920x1080 120Hz Display
  • AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme with Radeon Graphics
  • 16GB RAM + 512GB SSD 
  • AX WiFi 6E + BT 5.2 + Windows 11
  • 1x USB Type-C (Gen 3.2) Combo Port (supports DisplayPort 1.4), 1x microSD Slot, 1x Audio Jack

Learn more about the ROG Ally.

Lenovo Legion Go

  • QHD+ 2560x1600 144Hz Display
  • AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme with Radeon Graphics
  • 16GB RAM + 512GB SSD  
  • AX WiFi 6E + BT 5.2 + Windows 11
  • 2x USB Type-C (Gen 4.0) (supports DisplayPort 1.4 and Thunderbolt 4), 1x microSD Slot, 1x Audio Jack

Learn more about the Lenovo Legion Go.

MSI Claw

  • FHD 1920x1080 120Hz Display
  • Intel Core Ultra 5 135H with Intel Arc Graphics
  • 16GB RAM + 512GB Storage 
  • AX WiFi 7 + BT 5.4 + Windows 11
  • 1x USB Type-C (supports DisplayPort 1.4 and Thunderbolt 4), 1x microSD Slot, 1x Audio Jack

Learn more about the MSI Claw.


Written By

Jacob King

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