It’s that time of year. The holidays are upon us and chances are you’ve got an esports fan or gamer or Fortnite player in your life. While we are business people here, we happen to be hardcore gamers too, and we own and have used the best gear. Don’t believe some of the lists out there telling you to buy gamer glasses or the cheap plastic “gamer” accessories with flashing RGB lights, written by journalists who wouldn’t know any better (or can’t rocket jump).
To make the season extra special for that person (or for yourself!), we’ve compiled the top 10 ultimate gifts for the esports and gaming fan, and here they are:
HyperX Cloud Flight Wireless Headset
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. These are not audiophile headphones. You won’t be throwing out your $20k hifi setup. However, for everday gaming, there are few better options than the HyperX Cloud Flight Wireless headset. First, the sound quality is good, and the soundstage for gaming is excxellent. Second, it’s wireless for your convenience, and both the battery life (30 hours!) and range are best-in-class. Third, there is no bloated software to install – they are plug and play. And finally, they are versatile. You can use them with your phone with the provided 3.5mm cable, and even remove the microphone when you want to be a bit more discrete.
Buy the HyperX Cloud Flight Wireless headset on Amazon: HyperX Cloud Flight Wireless Gaming Headset
Logitech G Pro Wireless
The Logitech G Pro Wireless Mouse is nothing short of miraculous. Wireless mice are typically heavier than wired mice, and introduce latency that is unacceptable for gaming at the highest level. Somehow Logitech has solved both of these issues with their latest G Pro Wireless Mouse. There is virtually no latency (equivalent to a wired mouse), and the weight is 80g – on par with the lightest of wired mice. It’s the holy grail for serious gamers, and why it’s being used by many pros already.
At $150 USD, it’s not cheap, but having the best never is. It’s worth mentioning that the G Pro Wireless also works with Logitech’s Powerplay mousepad to charge the mouse wirelessly while you’re using it. We don’t recommend this setup though unless you’re a high DPI gamer as the mousepad is just too small for serious use.
Buy the Logitech G Pro Wireless Mouse on Amazon: Logitech G Pro Wireless Gaming Mouse with Esports Grade Performance
Logitech G Pro Keyboard
We aren’t shills for Logitech, they’re just producing some great products these days. The Logitech G Pro Keyboard is a tenkeyless RGB keyboard with Logitech’s own Romer-G tactile mechanical switches. These Logitech switches are as good, durable, and high performing as any Cherry switch out there. You get the great tactile feedback of a Cherry MX brown or Cherry MX red switch, but they are slightly quieter which makes them great for streaming, and have a slightly shorter, faster actuation point. The keyboard’s build quality is also excellent and should last through years of marathon gaming sessions. Plus you get a removable cable (we wish it was USB-C instead of micro-USB) for when you’re transporting your keyboard to LAN parties or tournaments. Finally, many casual gamers underestimate the benefit of a tenkeyless keyboard. Unless you’re playing a game that requires a numpad (for binds, etc), the tenkeyless design will keep your hands closer together, thus making aiming easier and more comfortable. It’s often why you see pro gamers angling their full size keyboards almost vertically, to get their hands closer together.
At $130 USD, again this isn’t a cheap product, but one you likely won’t have to replace for many years to come.
Buy the Logitech G Pro Keyboard on Amazon: Logitech G Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
HyperX Fury S Pro Mouse Pad – XLarge
Low DPI gaming is the current trend (that means low mouse sensitivity) in esports. It makes precise aiming easier, but requires larger hand/arm movements. As a consequence, you need lots of space to move around without running off your mouse pad. The answer is an extra large mouse pad, and this one from HyperX is one of the best. It’s got a high performance cloth surface that is optimized for precision, as well as stitched edges for better durability and comfort. A good mouse pad is an easy accessory to ignore, but can provide one of the biggest boosts to a gamer’s performance.
Buy the HyperX Fury S Pro Mouse Pad – XLarge on Amazon: HyperX FURY S – Pro Gaming Mouse Pad, X-Large
Elgato Stream Deck
Elgato has been producing some great products for streamers for years now. While their capture cards are good (we prefer to stream using a dual PC and NDI setup), the Stream Deck is the must-buy in their product lineup. It makes the control, management and automation of a stream dead simple, by attaching actions to customizable buttons on the Stream Deck. Each button has a small screen that can display custom text or images. Changing scenes, playing sound effects, muting sources, and all kinds of other stream tasks are easier to do with the Stream Deck, especially when you’re trying to focus on entertaining. As an added bonus, the Stream Deck can be used as a productivity tool when you’re not gaming/streaming, as the buttons can be mapped to just about anything. It’s like having a programmable mini keyboard, and is a tool that gamers, streamers, content creators and just about everyone can use.
Buy the Elgato Stream Deck on Amazon: Elgato Stream Deck – Live Content Creation Controller with 15 Customizable LCD Keys
Sennheiser HD 700
Sennheiser makes some of the best headphones on the planet. The HD 700 is no exception. You get the legendary Sennheiser sound signature, and great soundstage for that positional audio advantage in games. Plus all your music will sound amazing. What you don’t get is a microphone, ability to go wireless or any kind of software. For that reason, and because these are an open-back headphone (sound will leak into the room), they are best used for gaming only in the comfort of your home, and with a proper stationary mic (if you need to communicate) and headphone amp setup. With the HD 700, you get 80% of the capability of Sennheiser’s flagship HD 800 at 1/3 to 1/4 of the price. If you are especially price-conscious, the Sennheiser HD 660, HD 650, HD 600, and HD 599 are all great options as well, but in our opinion, nothing beats the HD 700 in terms of bang for your buck.
Buy the Sennheiser HD 700 Headphone on Amazon: Sennheiser HD 700 Headphone
Dell 27″ 1440p 144hz G-SYNC Monitor
We can’t count how many times we’ve seen a gamer spend thousands of dollars building a brand new PC, and then use their 10 year old monitor with it. All of the performance is wasted if it can’t make its way to your eyes. Dell/Alienware has a long reputation for building some of the best, most reliable, monitors in the business, and this model is our top pick.
The 1440p resolution here is a good middle-ground between 1080p (which doesn’t look great by 2018 standards), and 4k (which is too difficult to push high frames-per-second). The 144hz refresh rate lets you see and take advantage of all the frames that your PC is pushing. Add in G-SYNC support and you get the best of all worlds in terms of image quality and refresh rate, resulting in silky smooth visuals. This is quite possibly the biggest advantage you can buy yourself in gaming/esports. The monitor is really optimized for gaming. Given the underlying panel technology, we wouldn’t use it for professional content creation or anything that requires 100% color accuracy.
Buy the Dell Gaming 27″ Monitor on Amazon: Dell Gaming S2716DGR 27.0″ Screen LED-Lit Monitor with G-SYNC
Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti
A good graphics card is the most important component of any gaming PC. When you’re competing at the highest levels, the ability to push very high FPS (frames per second) is critical and a distinct advantage. Therefore, for the serious gamer or aspiring esports pro, that means having the most powerful, beefiest GPU available, and that crown has belonged for many years to Nvidia. Their latest and greatest is the RTX 2080Ti (the RTX stands for ray-tracing). Ignore the fancy marketing talk from Nvidia on their new rendering technology, RTX. RTX is mostly irrelevant to competitive gamers today. However, the card is still the most powerful available and will allow for the smoothest gameplay experience.
The 2080 Ti is definitely not the best bang-for-the-buck option when it comes to graphics cards. You pay a very high premium to have the best. But for an aspiring gaming professional, these are the tools of the trade. It will likely be the most expensive component in a gaming PC, but the best place to splurge if you’re going all out.
Buy the Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti on Amazon: EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti XC ULTRA GAMING
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
Sometimes you’re not at home and you just need to game. Traveling for work or vacation or sitting in a coffee shop shouldn’t mean missing valuable practice time. In those moments, a good “thin & light” (because no one wants to carry around a brick) gaming laptop is indispensable. While there are many great options from the likes of Asus, Razer or MSI (notably the Asus Zephyrus S, Razer Blade 15 and the MSI GS65), we recommend the Gigabyte Aero 15X v8 as our overall pick. It has a very solid build, killer specs (6 core 8th gen CPU, Nvidia GTX 1070 Max-Q), and best-in-class port selection, but most importantly, it has the best battery life of any gaming laptop on the market. If you’re not actually gaming on it, you can get 8-9 hours out of its massive 94 WHr battery. Plus, it is the easiest laptop in its class to upgrade. Finally, while you can buy the Gigabyte with a 4k screen, we much prefer the 1080p model with the 144hz refresh rate. It’s a far better choice for serious gamers.
Again, it’s not the cheapest choice, but there are many deals to be found as laptop manufacturers start to transition to Nvidia’s new GPUs (not yet announced), and are likely clearing stock.
Buy the Gigabyte Aero 15X v8 on Amazon: GIGABYTE Aero 15X v8-BK4 15″ Ultra Slim Gaming Laptop 144Hz IPS Anti-Glare FHD Display, i7-8750H, GeForce GTX 1070, 16G RAM, 512GB PCIE SSD, Metal Chassis, RGB Keys
Finalmouse Air58 Ninja
Our feelings about Finalmouse range from admiration to cringe. And while we don’t always approve of all their marketing tactics, you can’t deny the product genius. They flew in the face of an industry that was moving towards heavier and heavier gaming mice, filled with RGB lights, features no one used, and bloated software that had to be installed to make anything work. The introduction of the Finalmouse Ultralight line was a revelation for the industry, and has been our go-to mouse since then. They focused on reducing the weight as much as possible, stripping out all the useless features and produced a mouse that was pure performance. After gaming with a Finalmouse, it’s hard to go back to anything else.
Their latest iteration, the Air58 Ninja, is the epitome of this design direction, weighing in at only 58 grams. The low weight allows for hours and hours of low DPI gaming without any fatigue and with higher accuracy, because the effort required for the smallest or largest of movements is reduced. While the company was plagued with some quality control issues in years past, most of this seems to have been resolved with their latest models, and we game with their mice every single day. The biggest problem? Good luck getting one. Finalmouse uses the “Supreme” style drop-model and each one usually sells out in hours, so eBay might be your only option.
Buy the Finalmouse Air58 Ninja from Finalmouse: Shop Finalmouse
Ok we know this is more than 10 items now. But we can’t resist bringing you 1 more fun gift option:
No we don’t mean the illegal kind. We mean the world’s most consumed legal drug – caffeine. If you’re going to train and play for hours and days on end, you need to keep your mind and your reflexes sharp. Nothing better than caffeine to help with that. We recommend 2 sources: GFuel and Madrinas Coffee. Click the images below to get your fix: