Game Front’s 2013 Holiday Gift Guide

Table of Contents


Gaming Peripherals
This section authored by Ron Whitaker

One of the great standby gifts for any gamer: peripherals and accessories. Sure, we’ve all got a gaming PC, but you can never have enough cool toys to add on to it. New keyboards, mice, and other gadgets will always make the eyes of your favorite gamer light up when open up that present. Here are some of our favorites:


Gaming Keyboards

Logitech G710+ Mechanical

Price: $161.96
Buy it from: Amazon


The G710+ is one sweet piece of equipment. It’s a little heavier than the non-mechanical keyboards you may be used to, but you’ll adjust to it quickly. It’s got separate backlights for the WASD cluster and the rest of the keyboard, a game-mode button to kill off the Windows key, and a ton of media controls built-in. As is the case with all of Logitech’s G-series gaming peripherals, it also incorporates a few programmable macro keys (6 keys, with 3 different options per key for a total of 18). Logitech’s Gaming Software makes it easy to program all the function keys, and it covers any other G-series peripherals you may own as well.

In addition to its obvious gaming usefulness, it’s also a great keyboard for typing. The MX Cherry Brown switches are louder than membrane keys, but Logitech’s effort at dampening the noise is obvious, and successful. The G710+ is a great keyboard for any application, period.


ROCCAT Ryos MK Pro Mechanical

Price: $169.99
Buy it from: Amazon (Releases Nov. 18, 2013)


The Ryos MK pro looks like just another mechanical gaming keyboard. After all, it checks all the boxes you’d expect. Back lit keys (available in your choice of four different Cherry MX switches), programmable macro keys, headset connectors and a spare USB port. Sounds like the standard, right? Well, in this case, there’s a little more under the hood.

You see, inside the Ryos MK Pro are 2 32-bit ARM Cortex processors. These power one of the coolest additional functions you’ll ever see: per-key lighting. Using the downloadable driver software, you can configure up to five game profiles, each one with its own macros and lighting settings. Want to just light up the keys you have macros bound to? You can do that. Heck, you can even make keys dim when you hit them, or have them turn off altogether.

The included SDK means that you can truly go crazy programming this keyboard, so much so that it might become a game in its own right. Plus, it features ROCCAT Talk functionality, which allows your ROCCAT peripherals to communicate with each other.

While the Ryos MK Pro is a pretty solid mechanical keyboard on its own, the extra features make it a pretty neat piece of hardware for any gamer to own.


Logitech G19s Gaming Keyboard

Price: $141.99
Buy it from: Amazon

The G19s is the Cadillac of membrane keyboards. While it may not have the precision switches of its mechanical cousin, the G710+, it make up for it with all of the bells and whistles Logitech has incorporated into the keyboard. First off, it features 12 of Logitech’s “G-Keys,” which allow you to store 3 sets of macros on each key. That’s a lot of customizing power. Furthermore, you can set the backlight to any color you choose through Logitech’s G-Series software. It also has a couple of convenient USB 2.0 ports on the back, just in case you need to plug in a thumb drive, headset, or maybe even a mouse.

But what really sets the G19s apart is the color LCD screen that’s perched atop the keyboard. Like the G15 of years past, this allows the display of a plethora of information. Want to see your CPU and RAM usage? No problem. Want to display the time, or start up a stopwatch to keep up with that pizza you put in the oven? You can do that too. There are plenty of additional apps out there for it that allow you do everything from tracking in-game stats to monitoring your Ventrilo server.

If you’re looking for a keyboard with a wide range of features and plenty of macro capability, the G19s is right up your alley.


Gaming Mice

ROCCAT Kone XTD

Price: $79.50
Buy it from: Amazon


The ROCCAT Kone XTD is one of the rarest finds in the gaming world: A mouse that’s big enough for my large hands. Besides its size, the Kone XTD offers up a plethora of great features.
There’s the 8200 DPI laser sensor, the customizable lighting, and eight programmable buttons. The XTD also includes four five-gram weights, which allows you to make the mouse feel exactly as heavy (or light) as you want it to.

Quite possibly the coolest feature in any ROCCAT product right now is Easy Shift. This allows you to program two functions to each mouse button, and with the press of a single button you can shift the whole mouse to the second set of functions. With support for ROCCAT Talk built in, you can even use a button on a compatible ROCCAT keyboard (like the Ryos MK Pro above) to shift your key binds.
Most importantly, the Kone XTD just feels good under your hand. After you weight it to your liking, the mouse glides smoothly across just about any surface, and the design fits comfortably into your hand for long gaming sessions.


Razer Deathadder

Price: $52.99
Buy it from: Amazon


The Razer Deathadder is the epitome of straightforward design. The latest evolution of the venerable gaming mouse includes a 6400 DPI laser sensor, 1000Hz Ultrapolling, and 1ms response time. All of this is stuffed into a package that will immediately feel familiar under your hand. The rubberized side grips that have been added to the newest model allow you to maintain firm control of the mouse at all times. Two side buttons allow you to program your most-needed functions right under your thumb.

Combine all of this with Razer’s well-known quality, and the fact that it’s also available for you lefties out there, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a workhouse gaming mouse. It may not have the bells and whistles of some of the other mice on this list, but if you’re looking for a quality gaming mouse at a reasonable price, you can’t go wrong with the Deathadder.


Logitech G602 Wireless

Price: $64.99
Buy it from: Amazon


One of the biggest problems with using a wireless mouse for gaming is that it always seems like it’s time to charge your mouse right when your gaming session is getting good. The newest wireless offering Logitech, the G602, attempts to address this in two ways. First, it operates on simple AA batteries instead of a proprietary rechargeable, which allows easier (and cheaper) replacement. Second, it offers up to 250 hours of non-stop gaming use off one set of batteries. Finally, it also features a switch to change the mouse from performance mode to endurance mode to save even more juice when you’re not gaming.

In addition to its power-saving features, the G602 also offers up 11 programmable buttons and an adjustable DPI that can be adjusted from 250 to 2500 on-the-fly. Since it retains the classic shape that Logitech users are familiar with, the adjustment from previous Logitech products is minimal.
While it might not offer the super-high DPI numbers of some other gaming mice, the G602 is a worthy alternative for the gamer looking for the convenience of a wireless mouse.


Headset

Plantronics RIG

Price: $129.99
Buy it from: Amazon


Have you ever gotten annoyed when you’re right in the middle of a great online multiplayer match and your phone rings? You’ve got to peel off your headset, grab your phone, answer it, and inevitably you get yourself killed in the midst of all of that. The new Plantronics RIG aims to make this annoying episode a thing of the past.

Simply plug in the RIG’s included mixer to your PC, and connect the headset and your phone to it. Now when you get a call mid-game, you can just punch the paddle button and take the call, right on your PC headset. You can even use the mixer to adjust how the game sounds and call audio is mixed. When you’re not a call, the mixer allows you to combine voice chat and game sound at whatever level you like. As a bonus, you can swap out the boom mic for an inline mic, which allows you to use the RIG headset with your phone when you’re not at home.

The RIG combines answering with the phone with playing games, and anything that eliminates something that annoying gets a thumbs up from us. Plus, it works with your PlayStation 3 and your Xbox 360 as well.


Accessories

ROCCAT Apuri

Price: $37.15
Buy it from: Amazon


Gaming setups vary, but they all contain the same basics. One thing many of them are missing out on is a mouse bungee. If you’ve never used a mouse bungee, it eliminates the drag of your mouse cord passing over the edge of your desk or around your keyboard, and allows you to move the mouse freely without the cord binding up. The handiest one around right now is ROCCAT’s Apuri.

Not only does it incorporate a flexible cable mount bungee, it also includes a four port powered USB hub, allowing you to connect plenty of devices without climbing around behind your PC. While it’s a bit of a luxury item for most PC gamers, once you’ve tried it, you won’t want to go back.

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1 Comment on Game Front’s 2013 Holiday Gift Guide

AxΣtwin

On November 16, 2013 at 10:44 am

I just want to say, your PC components section is the whole reason why people think PC’s are several hundreds of dollars more expensive than they need to be.