2017 Holiday Gift Guide: PC Gaming
Like every year, this holiday season will probably end with the biggest gamer in your life getting a bunch of stuff from relatives who just buy whatever was advertised during the previous weekend's hockey game. Which means they'll get six copies of Star Wars Battlefront II and maybe one of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.
But if you want to be cooler than that, consider the following gift ideas for the PC gamer in your life.
Indicated prices were accurate as of publication, but will likely change as various holiday discounts come and go.
If you're so serious about gaming that your friends think you should turn pro, you need to make sure they can hear you when you yell, "Not now, Jeremy! Keep your head in the game!" Coming from Roccat, the Khan Pro headset ($99.99) is a lightweight (230g) but durable headset that's made for the pros, and it doesn't require that you win a million smackers before you can buy one.
Available in black, white, and dark gray, the Khan Pro line is not only comfortable and sturdy — great for long matches or late nights — but they have stainless steel sliders, leatherette memory foam ear pads, as well as hi-res audio that doesn't have the overwhelming bass of so many gaming headphones.
Logitech keyboards, headsets, and a webcam
It never fails: whenever we start looking for things to get our PC gaming pals, we always find tons from Logitech. And 2017 is no exception. First up, the G Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard ($94.99) and G413 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard ($99.99), both of which boast Romer-G mechanical switches, which register key presses 25% faster than usual mechanical switches. Both also have customizable lighting, while the G Pro also has a detachable cable, so you don't have to worry that your cord might break when you take your keyboard to a tourney. For more on the G Pro keyboard, check out our full review.
Logitech also have two new headsets: the G233 Prodigy Gaming Headset ($70.99) and the G433 7.1 Gaming Headset ($99.99), both of which are comfortable, clear, work with PCs as well as consoles, and have removable mics for when you want to just rock out. In addition, the G433 comes in Royal Blue, Fire Red, and Triple Black. We have a review of the G433 if you want to learn more about it.
Lastly, for your streamers, the C922 Pro Stream Webcam ($106.98) boasts full HD 1080p at 30 frames-per-second or 720p at 60 FPS, automatic low light correction, two omnidirectional mics to capture stereo sound, and a 7-inch-tall, adjustable tabletop swivel tripod.
With iPhones ditching the earphone jack, you'll probably need a wireless headset soon than later. But rather than buy one you can only use with your phone, why not get one that works for gaming as well. The Crossfade 2 Wireless headphones from V-Moda ($349.99) have passive noise isolation, last 14 hours on a charge, and can simultaneously pair with two devices at once. They even come in your choice of colors: black matte, white matte, and rose gold.
And while it does have a built-in mic for when you have to use your iPhone as a phone, when it comes to gaming, you can pair with V-Moda's BoomPro Mic ($30.00), which has background noise reduction so your commands will come through loud and clear.
When we talk about precision equipment for PC gaming, we spend so much time discussing keyboards and mice that we sometimes forget about the monitors. If you need something powerful but also compact and potentially portable, the AG271QG from AOC ($674.99) is a 27-inch backlit HD monitor that supports multiple resolutions up to and including 2560x1440 at 144HZ.
If you need more immersion, though, AOC's AG35UCG monitor ($952.06) is a curved 35-inch display that goes up to 3440x1440 resolution and will really make you feel like you're being attacked from all sides.
While many of the PC accessories we've suggested so far are great if you have a desktop PC, that sort of setup isn't for everyone. But if you're going to be playing games in VR, you'll still need something powerful. It is for those gamers that we suggest the GS63VR or GE73VR gaming laptops from MSI.
The GS63VR ($1799.00 to $2399.00) have 15.6-inch HD 1920x1080 screens and, depending on the model, your choice of a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or 1070 GPU. If you need more screen for when you're not playing in virtual reality, the GE73VR ($1899.00 to $2399) has a 17.3 1920x1080 HD screen, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or 1070 graphics cards.
Like Logitech, SteelSeries always has plenty of PC accessories for gamers to choose from. This year, they've got the Apex M750 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard ($144.99), which has a durable aerospace aluminum core, lights than can respond to such in-game conditions as "low ammo" or "low health," and can integrate with the Discord app. For more, read our review on the Apex M750.
SteelSeries also offer the Sensei 310 and Rival 310 Gaming Mice ($59.99 each), both of which have a 12,000 CPI, 350 OPS optical sensor, and the company's TrueMove3 1-to-1 tracking from 100 to 3500 CPI. The main difference between the two mice is that Sensei 310 is ambidextrous while the Rival 310 is designed for righties.
There are few things more annoying than when you're sneaking up behind a bad guy in a game, only to have your stealth kill fail because the cord from your mouse knocks over your cold brew, frying your PC. Thankfully, that's not a problem if you pair Logitech's G703 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse ($87.99) or G903 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse ($122.05) with their Powerplay Wireless Charging System ($99.99). Besides being lightweight, customizable, and especially accurate, both mice are also wireless, and use the Powerplay as both a mouse pad and a constant charger that even works when you're moving your mouse around in a frantic attempt not to be shot from behind.
If you're not looking for something so elaborate, though, Logitech's G603 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse ($69.99) has an optical sensor with sensitivity up to 12,000 DPI, and uses two AA batteries. It can last 500 hours on the "HI" mode that has 1 ms reporting or 18 months on "LO," which reports at 8 ms.
What are you hoping to get to enhance your PC gaming this holiday season? Let us know in the comments below.