Gaming headsets, mice, keyboards, bags — gamers love their gadgets and peripherals. Anything to help them get the upper-hand is on the table. With a great gaming headset, you can hear more than the competition. With a great mouse, you can micro-manage and turn faster. I've reviewed a lot of peripherals this year, and here's what I recommend for gifts…
MOGA Pro Power / MOGA Ace Power
Mobile gaming on smartphones is more popular than ever. Between emulators and some truly great games like Dead Trigger, touchscreen controls just aren't getting it done. MOGA makes the best mobile controllers in the market — I myself use the MOGA Pro Controller. MOGA's newest controllers for iOS and Android are the MOGA Ace Power and the MOGA Pro Power, respectively.
These controllers not only resemble the layout of an Xbox 360 controller, but they're as functional and comfortable as one, as well. MOGA thinks of great design, comfort and features, and the newest feature on these controls is the ability to play longer on your phone with built-in batter charging. With a built-in 1800 mAH internal battery (Ace Power) and 2200 mAH (Pro Power), your phone charges while you play. Now playing a game won't destroy your battery life. So if the person you're buying for plays a lot of games on their iPhone or Android, the MOGA Ace Power and Pro Power controllers are the perfect gift.
V-Moda Crossfade M-100
If the person you're buying for is really into headsets — be it for mobile or PC, gaming, movies or music — the V-Moda Crossfade M-100 is one of the best on the market. It has a hefty price tag of $300, so you'll be dropping some dime, but you get what you pay for. And what you're getting here is utility, quality and some amazing sound quality. It's perfect for travel and on-the-go use, as it comes with a very nice and protective case, and the headset folds up nicely to fit in it. The quality in the build is very apparent, and it hands the lowest bass to really high highs exceptionally well. You can read my full review of it HERE. If you're willing to spare no expense, the V-Moda Crossfade M-100 is the way to go.
Skullcandy PLYR 1 headset
The Skullcandy PLYR 1 headset is a good choice for the all-around gamer (PC, PS3, Xbox 360, mobile) and comes in at the pricerange under $200 at $179.99. There's not a ton of bells and whistles, but what you're getting is stylish, functional, comfortable and wireless with really good sound. The ability to flip the mic up to mute is the best feature in my opinion. Skullcandy and Astro have done a wonderful job creating a great headset for the under $200 pricerange, making it a more-manageable gift for gamers.
Turtle Beach XP Seven/Z Seven Gaming Headset
The Seven line of Turtle Beach headsets are some of the best that they offer — hell, they're some of the best on the market. You're getting the comfort and quality that you've come to expect out of Turtle Beach, and more. The design make these very attractive, and they're very, very comfortable. While the Z Seven is only compatible with Mac, PC and mobile at $249.95, the XP Seven works with the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Mac, mobile and the next-gen consoles Xbox One and PlayStation 4 for only $30 more.
What makes the XP and Z Seven worth the price is not only the headset, but the Audio Control Unit. The ACU sports an auxiliary input for a phone/mp3 player, speaker output, chat and sound presets, voice morphing and so much more. You can customize surround sound, volume control, adjust speaker angles and switch between presets on-the-fly and with ease. It makes the XP Seven and Z Seven a perfect gift for the serious gamer and those into eSports.
And if you've already got a headset you like but would prefer to buy just the Audio Control Unit, you can buy it separately for $109.95.
Turtle Beach Call of Duty: Ghosts Ear Force Phantom
The Turtle Beach Call of Duty: Ghosts Ear Force Phantom is good for a wide range of gamers — those seeking a Turtle Beach headset; those that want wireless headsets; those that love Call of Duty-branded peripherals; and those that game on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and mobile. But wait, there's more! The Phantom works with the new, next-gen consoles Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Currently, I use the Ear Force Phantom with my PS4. The fact that it's wireless makes it great for console gaming. And when I'm playing late at night and don't want to wake up my wife and kids with the TV being too loud, I have all system audio and chat come in through the headset. These sound so good and sport such great surround sound that I think I do better in Call of Duty: Ghosts because of it. It's definitely pricey at $299.95, but for the serious console gamer, you'll blow them away with this headset.
Roccat Kone XTD
This is the mouse I currently use at my home PC. At work, I use the Kone Pure Color, while my brother uses the Kone Pure Optical. Any of those choices are great for a gaming mouse, but the Roccat Kone XTD takes the cake. It's listed for $89.99 but you can find it on Amazon for $79.50.
I've raved about the Kone XTD in my review, but this is a great mouse if you're looking for one for a gift. I'll reiterate, it has an eye-catching design that is both comfortable and beautiful, and it features tons of customization. From the soft-touch black matte finish to the two LED lighting strips on the top of the mouse, you can't help but fall in love. It's not all looks, though; this mouse can perform! No matter what type of game you're playing, you can adjust just about everything on this mouse, from DPI setting to tilt speed. Armed with a Pro-Aim Laser Sensor R3 with up to 8200dpi, look no further if you're in the market for a great gaming mouse.
Roccat Ryos MK Pro
It just so happens that this is the keyboard I use at home, too. The Ryos MK Pro is a mechanical keyboard, so you'll be paying more, but it still comes in at $151.40. Not only does it sport a really killer look to it, but it's really responsive and has features that PC gamers will love.
My favorite feature is the per key illumination, which let's you choose which keys are lighted and which aren't. For instance, when I play League of Legends, I have the Q, W, E, R, D and F illumination, with all of the other letter keys blacked out. Playing an MMORPG? I have the number keys and W, A, S, D lighted. It also features two 32-bit ARM Cortex processors with 2 MB of flash memory, an integrated media hub with audio in/out and two USB 2.0 ports, and Roccat's Easy-Shift feature, which assigns a secondary function to any key. If your gift recipient is looking for a mechanical keyboard, here ya go. Now that I've tried the Ryos MK Pro, I'll never not use a mechanical keyboard again.
If the person you're buying for's desk is a mess with wires and cables, this is a perfect gift to clean it up and organize it a bit. The Roccat Apuri features cable management, organizes your desktop and serves as a USB hub with four more USB ports. I also use this at home and it keeps my desk uncluttered… until I fill it with nonsensical items. Clean up a gamer's desk this holiday season for $34.99 — you'll be doing them a favor.
Kindle Fire HDX
The Kindle Fire HDX features a quad-core processor and 7" HDX display with a resolution of 1920×1200 and 323 PPI (pixels per inch). The screen is bright and vibrant, and the tablet is fast, sporting a 2.2 GHZ quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. In my opinion, it's one of the best tablets on the market, and the price of $229 only helps. Sure you could go with the new iPad Air or the smaller iPad Mini, but the Kindle Fire HDX is cheaper and very competitive in the market.
The Nvidia Shield is expensive; there's not way around that. At $299.99, to use it simply for portable Android gaming is fine, but there's cheaper, alternative options. Where the Shield shines, though, is through its design and functionality. It is console-level quality in the palm of your hand and packs a punch thanks to the Tegra 4's processing power.
The best part about it is the HDMI out, so you can connect to your TV, and the ability to stream from your PC to the Shield (and even HDMI out to your TV at that point). The games stream at 1,280×720 pixels; they just require you to have a GeForce GTX 650. No one is going to complain about getting this as a gift, especially that PC gamer that has to have all the newest and coolest tech.
GAEMS Vanguard Personal Gaming Environment
This bad boy houses your PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360, its cables and controller — but that's not all. The Vanguard allows you to game anywhere you want with its integrated 19" LED display of 1080i, stereo speakers and place to house the power supply. I don't have one personally, but one of my good friends does, and now I want one. It's great for gamers that want to bring their console with them wherever they go, and it is TSA friendly so you could play in the airport or even on the plane if they have outlets.
The best news is that the co-founder of GAEMS has confirmed that he PlayStation 4 fits in it right out of the box. For the much larger Xbox One, customers will need an adapter kit that has new EVA foam stage and straps.
This is the best gift for a gamer that LANs a lot or brings their PC everywhere with them. I've used it at multiple LAN parties and everyone was envious and asked what it was. The Roccat Tusko is more than just a bag; it transports and protects flatscreen monitors from 15-19" and 20-24", as well as holding all your cable, a mouse and a keyboard. Carry it with a handle or use the strap to sling it over your shoulder and any gamer will be arriving to the LAN party in style. The Roccat Tusko goes for $44.99.
Be sure to check out all of the other awesome gifts, games and consoles in GameZone's 2013 Holiday Gift Guide for Gamers (Click on the image below).