At MyGaming we’re familiar with the strain that is thinking of a present for someone and making sure it’s one they’ll actually use – so much so that we’re going to throw out some ideas for your wishlists, and make doubly sure that they’re awesome enough to see use from the people you’re giving it to.
Throughout the festive season right up until the week before 25 December, we’ll be giving you these lists for everything gaming-related; peripherals, hardware, games, monitors, and accessories that make life as a gamer easier or more enjoyable.
So lets begin by looking at arguably the easiest category – peripherals! We’re going to be recommending a mouse, a gaming keyboard, a mousepad, a headset and a speaker set for the discerning gamer who doesn’t have nice things yet. Go on, add these to your wish list, or buy one for someone who you know needs to know what good hardware feels like.
Gaming headset – Steelseries Siberia V2 for all platforms
For a decent set of headphones, its rather difficult to find something that performs well all-round. However, having reviewed a Siberia V2 headset before and spending an extended amount of time with it, it’s definitely one of the few that I can recommend off the bat. They’re comfortable, the headset doesn’t make your ears sweaty or itchy, the foam cushions don’t sit on your ears and the micrphone is retractable and flexible.
The headset in V2 form comes with two 3.5mm audio jacks for plugging into laptops and mobile phones to listen to music. In the package is also a 5m long USB extension cord with a USB amplifier built into the in-line volume controls. It works on the PC, Xbox 360, PS3, Apple Macs and the 50mm drivers offer some premium stereo sound that few headsets can match.
Honorable mention: Corsair Vengeance 1500 – its the PC-bound headset that runs like a trooper and offers virtual 7:1 surround sound. Its comfortable, sturdy and very well built.
Gaming keyboard – Cooler Master Trigger
Cooler Master has made several strides in their bid to be taken seriously as a peripherals manufacturer and their range of mechanical keyboards leaves no stone unturned in the pursuit of perfection. The Trigger family is a set of keyboards that are fully mechanical with a wide range of switches, including the rare Greens that offer more feedback and stiffness than Black switches are capable of, but with the same click commonly found in Brown and Blue switches.
The Triggers are also fully backlit and offer a detachable wrist-wrest that is rubberised for comfort. The keyboard also accepts a 5v power adapter to offer a few extra brightness levels and is almost fully programmable using the included software. If you need something sturdy that will last you years, a Trigger is highly recommended.
Honorable mention: Logitech G110 – If mechanical keyboards aren’t your thing, the venerable Logitech G110 is one of the best rubber-domed keyboards around. Offering fully backlit keys, macro recording capablility, a bundled wrist rest and one of the best software suites in the business.
Gaming mouse – Steelseries Sensei
It’s no surprise that one of the most recommended mice is also one used by several pro gamers around the world. The Sensei has a metal surface to keep your hand cool and is one of the few mice that caters to left and right-handed gamers. There are thumb buttons on either side of the mouse and as a lefty myself, it is one of the most comfortable mice I’ve ever used (I own the cheaper RAW version).
Steelseries has customisable 16.8 million colour LEDs under the logo and the scroll wheel to allow gamers to personalise their mouse. There’s also an LCD display built into the bottom of the mouse that shows a wide range of settings and status messages – in fact, because the Sensei’s driver in the Steelseries engine is completely optional, the mouse is able to be configured entirely on its own using the LCD.
Honorable mention: Corsair Vengeance M65 – Customisable weights, rubberised surface, a dedicated “sniper mode” button and one of the best sensors in the business underpin the no-nonsense Vengeance M65. If you’re strapped for cash and need a good mouse, it’s the way to go for serious gamers.
Gaming mousepad – Razer Goliathus Extended
One of Razer’s most-loved and best-selling products doesn’t require the use of Synapse at all – their excellent range of Goliathus mouse and desk mats. The Extended versions come highly recommended. They offer enough space for your mouse and keyboard to reside on the same mat, giving your wrists a bit of a cushioning as well as reducing the chance of any keyboard slippage on surfaces like wood and glass.
The Goliathus mats come with fabric compounds that have different threads for different purposes. The Goliathus Control makes your mouse move more slowly, making it less likely that you’ll overshoot your target on a slippery surface. The Goliathus Speed does what it says on the box – there’s less friction to overcome to move your mouse quickly, a useful feature for twitch shooters.
Honorable mention: Steelseries QCK Plus – Still one of the best mouse pads available, the QCK Plus is bigger than most mouse pads and offers a fairly friction-free surface for most mouse feet types. It helps that it’s dirt cheap, too.
Gaming speaker set – Logitech Z-506
Its not the best speaker system in the world, but it’s definitely unbeatable at its price point. Logitech’s Z-506 is the successor to the much-loved X-530 5:1 speaker set and pumps up the power a bit to 75W for all the speakers combined. The set retains the bass controls on the subwoofer and the volume controls on the front left speaker, but it also has RCA audio plugs for your consoles.
The Z-506 also remains just as flexible. You can run it in 2:1, 4:1, and 5:1 channel modes without issue and the sound quality is good even with onboard audio solutions. If you’re looking for a good gaming audio setup on the cheap for multiple devices, look no further than the Z-506.
Honorable mention: Creative Inspire T3150 – Don’t have enough space for a full 5:1 set? Need to play music from your phone or tablet without the hassle of cables? The Creative T3150 2:1 set will do all you need at a decent price.