CHRISTMAS is coming and with it, the inevitable question of “What should I buy the gamer in my life?”
Never fear, GOA is here with our 2021 Peripherals Gift Guide – From controllers to mice to USB hubs and more, here’s a selection of peripherals we have reviewed or used over the year, and think might be welcome under a gamer’s tree. Here’s a few suggestions!
TURTLE BEACH RECON WIRED CONTROLLER
Even though the standard Xbox Series X/S controllers are wireless, there’s still a lot of use for a wired model – including the fact they never need battery changes, and they’re a lot harder to misplace.
The Turtle Beach Recon wired controller packs a wide range of useful features into a comfortable, and most importantly, affordable (RRP: AUD$99) package that works on not just the Xbox Series X/S, but also the Xbox One X/S and PCs.
The underside flappy paddle controls, the grips and the profile/audio adjustment are welcome features to the controller design too – so if you’re looking for a controller for the Xbox or PC gamer in your life without blowing the budget, this one has a lot to offer.
Sometimes it seems like you simply don’t have enough hands when you’re gaming, especially on a mobile device or tablet.
The Twelve South Hoverbar Duo may be able to help with that. It comprises a flat base with an arm, which has the device attachment on the end; clamps on the attachment have springs and expand to grip onto the sides of the tablet or phone.
Ideal for holding your phone/tablet while you game (especially if you’re using a Bluetooth controller), it’s not cheap (RRP: AUD$139) but it’s well made with plenty of style and practical appeal – not to mention you can mount it pretty much anywhere.
This multifunction USB hub from Bonelk is very well made, comes with its own stand, a “fits in with everything” style, and 14 different ports to ensure you can connect pretty much anything to your PC or laptop.
It’s not short of connections, featuring two 4K-capable HDMI ports, four USB-A ports (3x USB 3,0; 1x USB 2.0), two USB-C ports, a gigabit ethernet port, an SD card reader and two micro SD card readers. One of the USB-C ports also provides 100w of power, which is useful for charging phones and the like. While there’s a limit to how many devices it can run simultaneously, as a general USB hub for a desktop or laptop I’ve found it most helpful (especially since my desktop doesn’t have a card reader in it).
As useful as the Bonelk 14-in-1 USB hub is, the AUD$199 price tag is pretty steep so you’d need to ask yourself if you need all the features it offers, or whether something more affordable but with fewer ports might be a better option.
This capacitative stylus is designed for use with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (Gen 3,4 and 5), the 11-inch iPad Pro, the iPad Air (10.9-inch), the 10.2-inch iPad, the 9.7-inch iPad, and the iPad Mini 5.
It does nearly everything the Apple Pencil does but it’s a lot cheaper (RRP: AUD$119), and also has the soft silicon tip at the other end, which I found useful for broader swiping through menus/apps etc. When not in use, it magnetically attaches to the iPad, but charges via USB-C rather than the wireless system the Apple product uses.
It’s compatible with Apple Pencil apps as well, and in use I’ve found it more comfortable than its rival too, with less felt resistance on the screen. If you need a capacitative stylus for an iPad, there’s a lot to like here and it would be ideal for the creative type, particularly someone who likes to draw or create visual artwork on their iPad.
STEELSERIES PRIME+ E-SPORTS GAMING MOUSE
There’s a lot of gaming mice on the market, but the SteelSeries Prime+ E-sports gaming mouse really impressed Natty our e-sports writer.
From its comfortable design and accurate laser to responsive buttons and kink-resistant cable, the mouse does a lot of things very well, and is fitted with optical switches – not something you typically find in a gaming mouse.
With a retail price of around AUD$149, it’s in the right price point for a quality mouse without getting into silly territory and would be at home on any gamer’s desktop – especially if they’re serious about their gaming.
MOPHIE 3-IN-1 WIRELESS CHARGING PAD
Looking for a way to charge your phone, earbuds and an Apple Watch at the same time? Mophie have something for that.
While nominally intended for Apple products (iPhone, AirPods, Apple Watch), the Mophie 3-In-1 wireless charging pad works with any Qi-supported devices, including newer Samsung smartphones as well as earbuds like the Skullcandy Indy ANCs and Belkin Soundform Freedoms; as far as I can tell the Apple Watch is the only smartwatch it can charge though.
It’s a very useful setup (albeit with a fairly small charging pad “sweet spot”, and it’s only 7.5w, but the price has come down to around AUD$150 if you shop around online, which is still a bit pricey but a lot better than it used to be.
SATECHI ALUMINIUM VERTICAL LAPTOP STAND
Desktop space is at a premium for most of us at the best of times, and as much as we love gaming, there are times we need to put the laptop away to do something else.
The Satechi Aluminium Vertical Laptop Stand is well placed to help with that, letting you store your laptop (or tablet) vertically and keeping it safely out of the way while still letting airflow circulate underneath to avoid overheating issues.
With an RRP of AUD$74.99 it’s not exactly a Secret Santa gift, but its sturdy build quality, anodised aluminium construction and the fact that it saves precious desk space certainly made it a winner in Dylan “GrumpyGoron” Blereau’s book when he reviewed it.