If you’re reading this site, then there’s a very, very good chance that video games will be on the brain this holiday season — as it should! There’s an incredible number of high-quality games on store shelves and in digital marketplaces this fall/winter. It really is a glorious time to be a gamer.
That said, software is only half of the video game equation. Hardware is very important, too. We’ve got our paws on lots of gear this year, but only a handful qualified as the best of the best.
We’ve linked up our must-have items below. Click the links to check out our affiliates that will hook you up if you wish to make those purchases or any others. Happy holiday shopping!
AOC IPS i2367Fh 23-Inch Screen LED Monitor
We spend hours staring at monitors while working, gaming, or watching Netflix programs, so why not make sure that you have a quality display? A good monitor can easily break the bank, but AOC has a budget-friendly solution that’s well-built, and gives games, TV shows, and movies extra visual pop. This is due to the monitor’s deep contrast, visually appealing color levels, and amazing viewing angles. The 1920 x 1080 display, which also includes two HDMI ports and a VGA port, is an absolute steal.
Lenovo IdeaCentre All In One Horizon 27 Table PC
Although the IdeaCentre is an all-in-one table PC, you shouldn’t mistake it for a slouch like table PCs before it. It’s a thoroughly well thought out piece of hardware. It’s equipped with a 3rd generation Intel Core i7 mobile CPU, Nvidia GeForce GT620M, 8GB of DDR3 SDRAM, and a 1 Terabyte hard drive. It also packs a decent punch in terms of processing power, which was a bit unexpected.
Lenovo IdeaCentre Erazer X700
Lenovo looked to make a splash in the consumer enthusiast PC market with the IdeaCentre Erazer X700 and, fortunately, did so with aplomb. Boating an Intel Core i7 3820 Quad-Core 3.6GHz CPU, 12 GB 1600-MHz DDR3 RAM, and Intel X79 chipset, the X700 is no slouch. The Lenovo IdeaCentre Erazer X700 is an excellent PC that, although a bit pricey, is a rig that gets the job done.
Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 3 Gaming Keyboard
PC gamers recognize the mouse and keyboard as their extensions into the digital world, and as a result, a good keyboard is essential. But in a world full of marketing junk it can prove difficult to determine the wheat from the chaff. Thankfully, Mad Catz, the popular fightstick manufacturer, has crafted a keyboard that displays the same love and attention to detail as its controlers: the entry-level gaming keyboard S.T.R.I.K.E. 3.
SteelSeries Flux In-Ear Pro Headset for Gaming and Music
The SteelSeries Flux In-Ear Pro is a high-quality earbud set for the audio-loving gamer. Music, sound effects, and explosions are vibrant and chunky — what one desires from premium ear-gear. Some may scoff at the price, but should you plunk down some plastic for a pair, you won’t regret the action.
Turtle Beach Call of Duty: Ghosts Ear Force Phantom Limited Edition Gaming Headset
Turtle Beach is now one of the most established headset manufacturers in the world. Gaming celebs brandish the brand at tournaments, conventions and during casual sessions. So it should come to no surprise that the gaming headset giant has landed a deal with Activision to create a Call of Duty: Ghosts branded headset for the new first-person shooter. But don’t mistake this for a marketing ploy; the Turtle Beach Ghost Ear Force Phantom comes packed with the Turtle Beach quality we’ve come to expect and, more importantly, a major improvement in sound quality.
The X-Arcade stick is a true gamer’s joystick that can withstand pretty much any abuse you toss its way. After several days of using it, X-Arcade Solo will become a necessary part of your video game lifestyle — possibly outlasting many of the consoles to come. The X-Arcade Solo’s usability and quality is well worth every dollar.
SteelSeries H Wireless Headset
When we turned a discerning ear to the Astro A50 Wireless Headset in Summer 2012, we hailed the cans as “gaming headset excellence.” That statement still holds firm, but SteelSeries has crafted the best gaming headset we’ve ever tested with its H Wireless Headset. Priced at $299, the SteelSeries H Wireless Headset doesn’t come cheap, but should you plunk down the cash for this beast you’ll experience not only beautiful 7.1 virtual surround sound, but a wealth of extras that make it one of the best buys in the gaming headset space.
What was your favorite gear of the year? Shout it out in the comment section below!