Unless you know a gamer really well, it’s tough to shop for them. You may not know what titles they picked up over the past year or their tastes. That’s why it’s a safer bet to buy them gear.
A new controller is handy, or a pair of headphones can make the gaming experience better no matter what genre they favor. With that said, here’s a list of gaming items that cater to different types players.
For the retro gamer: One of the bigger trends is reviving classic consoles but in a smaller form factor. Nintendo did it with the NES and Super Nintendo, while PlayStation brought back the original PlayStation. This holiday season, Sega introduces the Sega Genesis Mini.
Packed with 40 classic titles and two new ones, the system is a stand-alone device like the aforementioned retro consoles. That means players won’t be able to add new games to it, but the collection of titles is excellent with old standbys such as Sonic the Hedgehog as well as lesser-known releases such as Light Crusader. The diverse offerings show why the Genesis was a worthy rival to the SNES.
In terms of value and quality, it’s one of the best retro consoles out there. It has the right amount of extras with the ability to save any game with four slots and a second controller packed in. The Genesis Mini has plenty of content to make any gamer happy. ($49.99)
For the aspiring streamer: Anyone who wants to make a name on Twitch needs a headset and the best combination of sound quality and comfort goes to the HyperX Cloud Alpha S. The device is light and has a design that sits on top of a player’s head without squeezing it like a vice. These are headsets that can gamers can wear for hours.
Backing up the comfortable design are the dual chamber drivers in each ear cup and sliders that let players adjust the bass on fly. That gives the Cloud Alpha S impressive audio though the custom 7.1 could be better. It’s a great package for those who game on PC or console. ($129.99)
Gamers who want a wireless headset with great sound: Wireless gaming headsets are good idea, but in practice, they are hard to execute. The biggest problems come with the added weight because of the batteries and extra features. Thankfully, the Sennheiser GSP 370 does one thing and it does it well.
The headset offers fantastic sound with its booming bass and crisp mids and highs. This is a headset meant to give players cinematic sound for single-player experiences. Meanwhile, the 100 hours of battery life mean the GSP 370 can go days without being charged. The quality comes at a price of $199.95, but it’s worth it for gamers who demand great sound.
PlayStation 4 player looking for a competitive edge: Microsoft’s Xbox Elite controller was a hit because it filled a niche. Gamers were looking for a high quality and features than the stock devices didn’t have. Microsoft seized on this opportunity to create a top-end device. Instead of designing its own, Sony has taken a different tack by letting other companies create their own take on an “elite” controllers.
Astro enters that market with its Astro C40TR Controller, a hefty and solidly built piece of tech. It features two paddles near the controller handle bars (a must for online games because it lets players keep their thumbs on the sticks) and adjustable triggers, but the biggest selling point is the customizability and modular design.
Using an included screwdriver, players can remove the faceplate and replace bad thumb sticks or rearrange the layout on the controller. It’s a next-level design choice that will make the C40 last longer than competitors. Being able to switch out stick instead of a whole controller is a cheaper alternative for players who abuse their devices. This touch and a slew of customization options via a PC app make this one of the best elite-style controllers for the PlayStation 4. ($199.99)
PC Gamer who demands the best: The Logitech G502 is a gaming mouse beloved by the PC community. It’s ergonomic design and feature set make it ideal for anything from first-person shooters to MOBAs. The only issue was that it came in a wired version and that isn’t the most convenient for gamers.
This year, Logitech released a wireless version of the venerable mouse. Thanks to its Lightspeed technology, the G502 has minimal input lag. Meanwhile, it also support the Powerplay wireless charging technology and that means players may never have to plug it in to charge. They just throw it on the wireless charging mousepad and they’ll have all the juice they need. All of this adds up to one of the best gaming mice on PC. ($149.99)
The Nintendo Switch owner: One of the more annoying design flaws of this portable console is the headphone jack at the top. The headset cord often gets in the way of the screen and the situation is all sorts of awkward. Thankfully, Genki came up with a solution for this with its Bluetooth Audio adapter.
The device connects to the USB C port at the bottom of the Nintendo Switch and lets players use any Bluetooth-compatible device to connect as headset. If players use their AirPods for everything, they can opt for that. If they prefer the bass of a Beats headset, it can work with those, too. The Genki pushes out the audio with low latency so it sounds good and is in sync with screen.
Players can even dock it and attach the device with an included USB dongle so they can use their headphones on the big screen. It makes playing on the Switch even better. ($49.99)