Posted on November 25, 2014, Ron Whitaker GameFront’s Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Gaming Peripherals
You’ve got your PC all set up, and you’re ready to game. How do you make the experience better? Grab some awesome peripherals.
The great thing about gaming peripherals is that they’ll work with just about any PC, and you can always use something better. Gamers love their peripherals, and there’s no better way to get on their good side than to give them a shiny new mouse or keyboard.
This list shows off some of the coolest new peripherals that will likely make any PC gamer’s Christmas morning a little brighter.
If you’ve got a friend who’s ready to start streaming their gaming exploits on Twitch and you want to get them a webcam, you can’t go wrong with the Logitech C920. Not only does it record and stream video at 1080p, it also takes 15MP still photos, so they can always get the perfect profile pic for their social media. It’s got you covered for audio as well, as its dual microphones will record in stereo. The C920 also works with Skype and other programs for HD video calling.
It’s a little pricier than most entry level webcams, but the C920 delivers with great video quality.
Great audio is just as important as video, and if you’re podcasting or making videos, you want the best audio you can get. That means buying a high-quality microphone. Instead of spending big bucks, you can get great quality sound in a USB microphone by picking up the Samson C01U. It’s simple to set up — just plug in the included USB cord, and you’re ready to record. Sounds reproduction is stellar, and Samson even packs in a small desktop stand to get you going. There’s also a mic clip in the box, so if you already have a microphone stand, you can easily attach this to it. Samson also bundles in the LE version of Cakewalk Sonar, allowing you to immediately start recording.
The C01U is a great microphone that will take anyone’s audio recording to the next level.
With the latest gen consoles coming packed with an array of recording and live streaming options, it looks like the days of video capture devices for video games might be numbered. But if you are looking to customize your final product or step up your streaming to the next level, you’re still going to need one. Why add to your cord-entwined clutter with an external device when the Hauppauge Colossus can fit right into your rig itself. Capable of recording video camera and game play at resolutions up to 1080i in real time, the future internet star on your holiday gift list will be featured in the fully detailed glory of 1920 × 1080 pixels, even when the game isn’t.
Logitech’s newest G-Series mouse, the G402 Hyperion Fury, is designed with the FPS junkie on your list in mind. It sports a 4,000 DPI optical sensor that is ridiculously accurate. In our review, I said it was one of the most accurate mice I have ever used. Combine that with Logitech’s new Fusion Engine that eliminates mouse skipping, and you’ve got one seriously awesome piece of hardware. It’s lightweight, and offers eight customizable buttons.
If you’ve got a FPS gamer on your list who plays on PC, they’ll be thrilled with the G402.
Just when you think you’ve seen everything you can put on a gaming mouse, ROCCAT comes along and makes you think again. The big addition to this mouse is the “X-Celerator” – a two-way analog stick that you can map to just about anything you want, include helicopter pitch controls, rotating tank turrets or whatever you like. As usual, ROCCAT also includes their Easy-Shift technology. This allows you to designate a mouse button as the “Shift” key. When that button is pressed, it changes all the other buttons on the mouse to a second set of functions. This feature means you can have up to 31 actions programmed onto the Tyon’s 16 buttons. As you can see in the image, the Tyon is bristling with buttons, including those flanking the left- and right-click buttons.
The Tyon is also a great choice for gamers with large hands, as it’s a bigger mouse. Comfortable styling and lots of input options make the Tyon a great option for just about any PC gamer.
There are lots of great audio options for PC gamers at home, but what if you’re traveling and gaming on your laptop or your phone? Astro’s got those gamers covered with the A38 Bluetooth Headset. Easily paired with your laptop, tablet, or smartphone using Bluetooth or near-field communications (NFC), the A38 delivers high-quality sound in a lightweight package. It also includes a built-in microphone with active noise-canceling. All of these features are packed into a slim package that isn’t too heavy to wear for extended sessions.
Battery life is great, with the A38 offering up 15 hours of talk time, 20 hours of audio, and 30 hours in airplane mode. Best of all, you can charge the headset back to full capacity in only 5 hours. You can customize your A38 by adding your favorite set of speaker tags, which attach to the outside of the earcups magnetically.
It’s pricey, but the A38 is the best mobile gaming headset we’ve tested, and it will make any mobile gamer on your list jump for joy.
Logitech’s G430 headset is just about everything you’d want in a PC gaming headset: lightweight, with great sound and a solid microphone. The G430 includes software-drive surround-sound emulation that gets pretty close to sounding like the real thing. It offers up great dynamic response for lows, mids, and highs. In addition, it’s also got a microphone that is more than just an afterthought. It’s got noise-canceling to help filter out pesky background noise and reproduce your voice as clearly as possible. The headband and earcups are covered with a soft cloth that is removable for cleaning, and adjustable headband can fit almost anyone’s head. Finally, the G430 offers both 3.5mm jacks and USB connection options, meaning you can use this headset with pretty much any computer.
If you’re looking for a quality headset for someone on your list, but don’t want to break the bank, the G430 is definitely worth your time.
Kingston partnered up with QPAD to produce the HyperX Cloud headset, and the result is a solid gaming headset that delivers great sound in a comfortable package. The HyperX Cloud includes two sets of earcups, one designed to block out background noise, and one designed to let it in. It’s a nice option, especially if you need to be able to hear what’s going on around you while you game. It’s largely constructed of aluminum, making the headset extremely lightweight. The light weight and the leatherette headband combine to make a headset that is very comfortable to wear for extended periods. Toss in the convenient split-length cable, and you’ve got a headset that any gamer would like to see in their stocking.
When I bought my Logitech K750 solar keyboard I was not actually looking for a wireless board, I was looking for the most silent keyboard I could get. When recording videos on my old keyboard,. the tapping sound was driving viewers (and me) crazy.
My PC is set up on my television in my living room. For months, I had been battling the cords and not really noticing how annoying it was because I had never used a wireless set-up. Going wireless instantly made the way I play games more comfortable. I now use one of those laptop trays that has plenty of room for both my keyboard and my mouse, so I can lean back and enjoy my bean bag chair without being chained to the PC tower. It charges with ambient light and has never run out of power despite me never putting it out in the sun. It works much like a solar-powered calculator. I also use an HDMI splitter to feed my PC to my bedroom for streaming and gaming purposes, and it easily stays connected offering a flexibility my wired keyboard simply never could. I recommend this keyboard to anyone that has been wanting to get more into PC gaming but hates the idea of being confined to their desk.
Your first glance at the K70 RGB will show you that’s not your everyday gaming keyboard. First, there’s the anodized brushed aluminum body. Second, you’ll see that the mechanical key switches aren’t embedded in the keyboard. Instead they’re flush with the body, making this the easiest keyboard to clean I’ve ever used. Available with your choice of Cherry MX Red, Blue, or Brown mechanical key switches, the K70 can be customized to the exact typing feel you’re looking for. You can also customize the lighting on the keyboard, as the K70 offers mutlicolor per-key lighting to allow you make it look exactly like you want.
The K70 also has a robust macro system that allows you to bind a macro to every one of its 104 keys. All the macros and lighting settings are stored in the K70′s onboard memory, so switching computers won’t mean you lose your keyboard setup. It’s a bit pricey, but you definitely get what you pay for with the K70. Any PC gamer would love to take it for a spin.
Rounding out our peripherals section is the Logitech G910 Orion Spark mechanical gaming keyboard. It features new Romer-G mechanical switches that actuate 25% faster and are 40% more durable than previous Logitech keyboards. Gamers can customize their lighting using Logitech’s Gaming Software that gives access to per-key illumination in 16.8 million colors, and a variety of effects. Logitech’s G-keys are included as well, giving you 9 keys with three different group settings, for a total of 27 spots to bind macros.
Despite all the fancy technology that’s included in the G910, my favorite feature is the new key design. The edge of each keycap features and angled design, with a lower, flat spot in the center. This helps reduce mistyping, and makes edge strokes more likely to be accurate. I’ve noticed a major improvement in my typing accuracy since switching to the G910.
You’ll also find all the extra keys you expect, including multimedia controls, a volume roller, and a button to disable the Windows key. Finally, the G910 incorporates a rest for your smartphone. By grabbing the Arx Control app from iTuUnes or the Android store, you can monitor your GPU, CPU and other system settings, as well as controlling the DPI on your mouse or checking your macro settings, all without leaving the game you’re in. It’s a nice addition to an already powerful keyboard. If you want to make your PC gamer’s Christmas, hide this under your tree.