Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Christmas presents

Pickr 2019 Holiday Gift Guide: Gamers

Thinking of buying something for someone who fancies a game or two? Consider the following choices in your search for a good present.

A bit of entertainment goes a long way, and a game is a good example of that. Whether a game brings five hours or fifty hours of entertainment, they’re a great way to chill out and enjoy.

Buying for a gamer isn’t always easy, but if you know where they want to play, you can get a good idea of what to buy.

In front of the TV

The first set of gamers you might be thinking about are the ones that sit in front of the TV. They’re the ones we typically think about, and so this list is for them. Xbox, PlayStation, and a little bit more, you have option when it comes to making a couch potato into a couch gamer.

Microsoft Xbox One X Gear 5 edition

Microsoft Xbox One X Gear 5 edition

Price: $649

Games look best when you have the power to drive them, and if the person you’re buying for just bought a 4K TV or is thinking of grabbing one soon, you might want to turn to the Xbox One X, Microsoft’s high-end console could be a great option.

Offering more power than the standard Xbox One S, the One X delivers 4K gaming and a 4K Blu-ray player, making it one of the obvious choices for high-res gaming today.

The Gear 5 edition comes with more than just the new Gears 5 games, too, with the other four Gears of War games, and a special edition paint job for the 1TB Xbox One X and the controller it comes with.

Read our Xbox One X review…

Microsoft Xbox Elite Controller Series 2

Xbox Elite Wireless Controller 2

Price: $250

If that special someone already has an Xbox in their life and plays a lot of games, you might want to consider something a little different.

Controllers typically cost a good hundred bucks or so, and you don’t usually need a new one unless you’re adding a second player or your old one is dying. Or maybe you want to upgrade.

The Xbox Elite Controller is built for competitive gamers, with thumb sticks that can tweak the tension, different paddles and directional pads, and customisable macros. It’s basically the custom rig for gamers who spend quite a bit of time on their Xbox One.

Sony PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB with Fortnite

Price: $550

Another 4K option, Sony’s 4K capable console is the PlayStation 4 Pro, and can make the PlayStation 4 library perform better for a 4K TV.

A little less expensive, this one isn’t a limited edition console, but if you want one, you can find the game Death Stranding in a special edition, among others.

Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro is the high-end version of the standard PlayStation 4, much like how the Xbox One X is the more capable performer for the Xbox One X. If the person you’re buying for has a 4K TV, they should see the benefits, but if not, you might want to consider a standard PlayStation 4, which could save a bit of money in the process.

Playstation VR Mega Pack 2

Price: $470

Regardless of what PlayStation 4 they get, Sony’s VR headset will work, providing a virtual reality with motion-based controllers, delivering a video game experience unlike any other console.

It’s like being in the game, and in some places it is. There aren’t as many VR games out there, but if you’re looking for a different experience, the PlayStation VR offers it.

Nintendo Super Nintendo Classic Mini

Super NES Mini

Price: $120

For something a little different, you might want to consider the Super Nintendo Classic Mini, a pint-sized take on a video game console from the 90s.

There are a good 20 games installed, including some classics like Super Mario World, Super Mario Kart, Super Metroid, and Super Castlevania IV, as well as some games without “super” in the title, such as Donkey Kong Country, Street Fighter II Turbo, and Final Fantasy III.

Plus it comes with two controllers, so you can join in with the person you buy it for.

Gaming to go

Not everyone wants to game in front of the couch. Some people want to game on the go, be it on the bus, a train, or even flying to their next destination.

For those, there are totally different choices, such as these below.

Nintendo Switch

Price: $469

The first console to check out if portable gaming is the gift you’re considering, the Switch offers not just portable gaming, but support for playing in front of the TV, as well.

It’s distinct from the Nintendo Switch Lite, which saves a bit of money by removing that TV playback, but the Switch is definitely a console to consider if your gamer wants flexibility, or you want to give them that easily.

Apple iPhone 11 with Apple Arcade

Apple iPhone 11


If a portable gaming console seems a little too low-end, you might want to consider a phone, and maybe a little extra.

The iPhone 11 delivers much of the technology in the bigger iPhone 11 Pro Max, but with a different casing, screen, and one less camera. That means it’ll run the same games as the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, and makes it perfectly compatible with Apple’s gaming subscription service, Apple Arcade.

Apple Arcade offers roughly 100 games for a monthly subscription, but there’s no way to gift it yet. At $7.99 per month, the most we can suggest is to grab a $50 or $100 iTunes gift voucher and add a note suggesting using it for Apple Arcade.

Read our review of Apple Arcade…

Asus ROG Phone II

Asus ROG Phone II

Price: $1699

You can also find a few phones specifically focused on gaming, and the recent introduction of the Asus ROG Phone II is one of them, joining Razer’s Phone.

The Asus approach is a little different, and not only comes with a cooling case, but a game pad that encases the phone to lest you play games on the go. There’s also a ridiculously big 6000mAh battery inside and a fast screen, plus a staggering 512GB storage and 12GB RAM. Asus has ramped up the specs for gamers on this one, outpacing quite a few computer spec sets in the process.

Read more about this…

The power of the PC

Finally there’s PC gaming, and short of buying a new computer, there are options available. While you can spend up on a big new laptop, you might want to consider peripherals first, such as a keyboard, headphones, or even a swanky new screen.

Logitech G613

Logitech G613

Price: $200

If you’re buying for a PC gamer, one of the best decisions to check out is a gaming keyboard. Arriving with mechanical switches, these not only sound like proper keyboards, but feel like one, with every key landing on its target and delivering the performance gamers need.

The G613 offers that, and does it without cables. You won’t find flashy red lights like other keyboards, with this one merely about taking those mechanical keys to a wireless world.

HyperX Cloud Orbit S

HyperX Cloud Orbit S

Price: $539

A different type of headphones, HyperX’s Cloud Orbit range uses technology from audiophile-grade headphone maker, Audeze. There are 100mm Audeze planar magnetic drivers in place, helping drive the sound, and the Orbit S comes with another feature: tracking.

Similar to how VR works, the HyperX Cloud Orbit S tracks head position and make the sound a little more accurate, delivering a 3D sound experience based on how a gamer’s head moves about in space.

There’s also a mic attached with a pop filter, volume controls, and options to plug the headphones into more than just a PC, with some of those console options, too.

Samsung CRG9 QLED gaming monitor

Samsung's CRG9

Price: $2599

One way to improve a PC gaming experience is to up the ante in the display, offering more viewing area and better visuals.

This year, Samsung brought its quantum dot LED technology to gaming monitors, arriving in a 49 inch ultra-wide screen that runs as 120Hz, too, making it handy for gamers.

Basically, this is a bright, vibrant, and big screen, and offers a view that helps to take games into a more encompassing experience, short of donning a virtual reality headset.

Read more about this…

Alienware Area 51m

Alienware Area 51m launched at CES 2019

Price: from $3999

But if you have a decent amount to spend, you might want to look to Alienware’s big daddy gaming laptop, the Area 51m.

A little different, it’s a beast of a machine sporting a 17.3 inch screen, either 16 or 32GB RAM, a minimum of 256GB solid-state storage, and a design that lets you upgrade the laptop in a similar way to a desktop. You can change the processor using desktop-based Intel chips, and even the Nvidia graphics chip can be upgraded using kits made by Dell.

Plus there’s ports galore, fast networking, and support for virtual reality, too. It’s the laptop you buy if you’re really looking for a portable desktop.

Read more about this…

Read next