Oh no, it’s that time of the year again! That time where festivities run high and wallets run empty. It’s a cruel twist, I tell you. But let’s get real – we’ll all be spending money, so why not make sure you’re spending it wisely? To help you along, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite gaming gear and gadgets – whether you buy something as a gift for yourself or someone you care about, consider this your go-to, get-it shopping list this holiday season.
Take your online gaming skills to the real world and kick things up a notch. Airsoft is an awesome sport where paint balls are replaced with small BB pellets. Best of all, you get to pick your favourite weapon. Almost any weapon you’ve handled in-game is available as a real-world Airsoft weapon. Some Airsoft guns are battery powered while other’s use a gas cartridge, scopes and GoPro mounts are optional. A personal favourite of mine is the M4 assault rifle replica available from Airsoft HQ. It features a metal chassis with various optional accessories that are available for it.
If there is one piece of advice I can give you on drones, don’t buy a cheapie. They don’t offer the features you really want, especially hover control and a decent camera. DJI partnered with a company called Ryze to develop the Tello, a small but really well-built drone that can handle a few hard landings. You can also program it to perform predetermined manoeuvres. This little drone is a lot of fun and its video capabilities aren’t bad either at 720p. If you are thinking of getting a basic drone, this is your only choice.
SQUARE SQ6 Taylor Swift Edition
Price: Camera R2,499 | SQUARE Film Taylor Swift Edition R210 [10 shots]
Available from Orms
I recently acquired a FUJIFILM instax camera and, as a photographer, I absolutely love instant prints to capture moments. Call it retro, but there’s a lot to be said for a physical print that captures the moment. The photos are also a lot of fun to share with friends, as each shot will always be unique. The SQ6 also features a few shooting modes which include double exposure as well as automatic exposure control. The instant film is available in black and white borders and the box includes three flash filters to add a new dimension to your pics.
If you are looking for a unique gift that won’t break the bank, look no further. Blockhead caps are custom designed snapback caps compatible with Lego blocks. The logo part of the cap features a smaller building block that make for more detailed design, while the brim sports full Lego compatibility. Blockhead caps come in various colours with pre-made logos you can build, including logos and characters from your favourite franchises like Star Wars, Deadpool, and even some anime designs. You can also buy additional blocks or new and replacement panels to create your own designs.
Price: From R199
Available from various retailers
When it comes to collectibles and really awesome desk swag, Funk Pops is where it’s at. I’ve collected a small family of Pops myself and I’m always on the lookout for a new and unique character for my collection. Produced by the same company that made Bobbleheads, these collectibles are great for your gaming or even your office desk. No matter your interest, from Game of Thrones to Rick and Morty, there’s most likely a Pop character available for you – and if you want something more exclusive, go on the hunt for one of the many limited edition Funko Pops around.
If there’s a Twitch or YouTube streamer in your life, the Elgato Stream Deck is the perfect gift. Featuring 15 customisable LCD keys, the Stream Deck brings shortcuts to your stream, allowing you to focus on creating content. You can create profiles and trigger up to 210 actions based on your games or streaming environment. You can also control visuals or audio, thank donors or viewers, and launch various overlays for mid-stream visuals. This type of tech used to be reserved for broadcasters but now streamers can benefit from it too. This one is on my wishlist to Santa.
When it comes to unique-looking gaming keyboards, Ducky is tops. It’s not just RGB and Cherry MX keys with these peripherals – there’s a deep heritage of gaming keyboard development with this brand. In fact, they’ve been doing Cherry MX mechanical keyboards longer than most brands around today. You can choose your Cherry MX colour variant and design based on the various models and you can even get one without a keypad. Some feature full RGB while others offer a single colour accent. Ducky keyboards also have high-frequency polling to ensure your keystrokes turn into action as fast as possible.
Make a fashion statement with these bright yellow, wireless gaming headphones from Corsair. This set is Discord-certified and features Dolby 7.1 audio, with large earcups for added comfort and an integrated microphone for in-game chat. These headphones will certainly keep your ears to the ground in any game you play. The Void Pro sports wireless audio over 2.4Ghz and its 16-hour battery life means you’ll need sleep before it does. And if you have other Corsair peripherals, you can synchronise the RGB LEDs with iCue to match your system. Snazzy.
Price: From R1,399 | HP Sprocket Paper R199 [20 shots]
Available from HPShop
Bring your social media pics to life and print your favourite smartphone pics wherever you go. The HP Sprocket is a handy little printer that prints 5 x 7.6 cm prints or stickers. Better yet, its battery powered, and you can edit and tweak your photos before you print them. These are fun mementos to share with friends and make great keepsakes for yourself. Each print takes only 40 seconds while the printer itself will easily fit in your pocket. The Sprocket connects to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth and supports both Android and iOS.
If you’ve been really good this year, spoil yourself with a mid-range gaming notebook this Xmas. The MSI GE73 Raider 8RF features all the specs you need to play your favourite games on the go, with an Intel Core i7-8750H processor, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a gorgeous GeForce GTX 1070 with 8GB of graphics memory. This notebook also features a 17-inch LCD panel that runs at 120Hz to bring out the smoothest visuals in your games. To round it all off, there’s RGB – loads of RGB – to decorate your gameplay.
Your case fan is a lot more than a cooling mechanism – it’s also about aesthetics, and having a few of these RGB coolers in series will add an entirely new look to your gaming rig. One is good, three is even better, 100 is the minimum to impress at your next LAN. Each one of these 120mm fans features 16 independent RGB LEDs across two lights loops to create mesmerising light effects, and you can connect multiple fans to the Corsair Lighting Node Pro to create an array of light effects and patterns. These fans also run quietly at under 25db and make for a fantastic stocking filler for the PC gamer in your life.
Whether you’re looking for a controller to play PC games, or even those on your Android phone, MSI has the perhipheral for you. The Force GC30 offers wireless functionality via USB dongle, but you can connect it to your machine with the supplied USB cable too. To connect to your Android phone, you’ll need to use the supplied OTG adapter. To ensure feedback in-game, there’s dual vibration motors inside this controller and you’ll get a replaceable D-pad cover to adjust the controller to your game style.
I first reviewed the Wonderboom portable Bluetooth speaker from Logitech when it launched last year and I’ve yet to find another speaker that delivers as much punch as this little one. The sound that this portable speaker produces hits all the right notes – lyrics and treble tones sound crisp, while there’s plenty of bass to keep even Rick Ross happy. In terms of battery life, you’ll get around 10 hours, and I also love the fact that this speaker is waterproof and can even float. POOL PARTY!
Here’s another great stocking filler and it’s only a few hundred bucks. The Astrum SW200 is a sleek smartwatch that features a built-in sensor and call alert functionality. It also checks the weather and reads your heart rate, and if you sit around, zoning out for too long, the SW300 will tell you to get up and do something instead. It will even remind you to drink water regularly. This smartwatch supports both Android and iOS devices with a dedicated app and connects via Bluetooth. The battery lasts around a day on moderate use and features a 1.3-inch TFT display.
The GeForce GTX 1070 is a very capable mid-range graphics card for gamers who don’t want to fork over every last penny of their hard-earned cash – and at under R6,000 the EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 SC GAMING 8GB ACX 3.0 Black Edition is a great solution to save some cash without sacrificing that much needed upgrade. Should you wish to squeeze out even more juice, you can get a second card for an SLI configuration. In terms of real-world performance, this EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card will let you run most of today’s top games at medium to high resolution – depending on the rest of your PC configuration.
TEAM XCALIBUR RGB DDR4-4000 16GB Kit Special Edition RAM
One of the best ways to boost your gaming rig’s performance is to increase the RAM if you have less than 16GB in your machine. If you are a content creator and like to edit video, adding another 16GB if you already have a set, will also show you improved performance where large files are involved. This 16GB DDR4 set from Team XCalibur is the Special Edition version of this model and includes a unique pattern design over the RGB lighting. If overclocking is your thing, you’ll also be able to push these sticks a little further than their stock ratings.
Logitech G560 LIGHTSYNC 2.1 Bluetooth gaming speakers
One of the few PC speaker brands that has stood the test of time – in fact, I’m still sporting a pair of vintage Z680s. The more up-to-date G560, however, introduces a few new elements that make this a really interesting speaker setup. The two speakers each feature built-in RGB backlighting which, thanks to LightSync, will light up in response to your in-game activity, and you can also customise the lights to responsd to colours on-screen. In terms of connectivity, you can connect the G560 to your PC via USB (recommended) or via 3.5mm audio jack and even Bluetooth.
If you’ve got your eyes set on streaming, or know someone who has, then a really good webcam will be an essential part of the required kit. The Logitech BRIO 4K is a favourite among popular Twitch streamers, thanks to its high-resolution 4K streaming capabilities. You can even record 1080p at 30fps, and adjust the field of view to suit your stream style. If you use or plan on using XSplit you’ll be glad to know that it’s integrated out of the box. For added security, the BRIO will also act as your Windows login face detector. Neat!
I’ve got a soft spot for HD projectors. The technology has come a really long way and the quality of projectors like the Epson EH-TW610 is astounding. Designed for home entertainment use, it’s capable of projecting an image up to an impressive 300 inches, with a 16:9 ratio at a 1920 x 1080 resolution. You can also connect it to your console, or even project straight from your smartphone using the Epson app and this projector’s built-in Wi-Fi capabilities.
Gaming sessions can go on for hours and it’s important that you make use of a proper chair with adequate back and lumbar support. The Cougar Armor One gaming chair is a new arrival from a brand already known for producing good quality budget peripherals. Featuring a bucket seat design with breathable PVC leather, the Armor One wraps your body, keeping you comfortable while you game. For a mid-session nap, the chair’s back support can even fold down flat. The arm rests are adjustable based on your preference and there are two support pillows included.
The two key factors when it comes to gaming headsets are sound quality and comfort. Cougar has again introduced a well-priced solution to the market with the (oddly-named) Phontum. Featuring a large head wrap and even bigger cans, the Phontum is comfortable to wear for hours on end, no matter the platform you game on. A nice addition to the kit is a set of additional padded ear pads that can be swapped out to your liking – one set is thicker and offers more padding which is great for gaming, while the other is slightly thinner, intended for use away from your PC.
Trekking around the country side this festive season will require a camera, sunscreen, battery bank for your smartphone, a filled water bottle, and backpack to keep your gear safe. There are various sizes and styles available in the range, but the Weekend Backpack Duffel offers plenty of room for more than just the basics. It can fit a 15-inch notebook and easily transforms into a duffel bag for added storage space, with numerous pockets and compartments to keep your things safe.
You don’t have to sell a kidney to get a really good entry-level gaming notebook, and the Dell G3 15-inch range is a great example. Starting at R14,499, you’ll get an Intel Core i7-8750H CPU with 8GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card with 8GB of memory. For storage, there’s a 128GB of SSD storage, as well as a 1TB HDD for storing larger data sets. The screen resolution on this IPS display is 1920 x 1080 at 60Hz refresh rate and is more than sufficient for entry-level gamers. Game performance is also good with most games running well on medium game resolutions.
When it comes to hitting the MTB trails, I don’t leave home without my Spotify playlist. The Sony WI-C300 is designed to handle active and sweaty situations, and even under the most strenuous activities these will stay in place. This is partly thanks to the neck loop design that makes it easy to hang around your neck when not using, which offers added support when in use. The WI-C300 connect via Bluetooth and has a battery life of around 8 hours. It can be used as a Bluetooth headset and is compatible with your phone’s voice assistant.
Cooler Master CK350 keyboard
Available from selected retailers
Hot off the production lines is the CK350 gaming mechanical keyboard from Cooler Master. Depending on the model you opt for, you can get either Red, Blue, or Brown Cherry switches. The keyboard body design features a brushed aluminium design and, as is to be expected, it features some pretty nice RGB backlighting. As a recent convert to mechanical keyboards, its good to see one that’s more affordable than most of its competitors out there. This one offers no frills, just a solid gaming experience based on your keystroke and gaming preferences.