Do you have a pre-teen or early teenage child? Having trouble thinking about what to get them for Christmas to complete or add to their PC setup? It’s that time of year again when we’re just a few weeks away from Santa putting presents under the tree. If you are still deciding what to gift your loved ones, you will not have much time before the time for your items to be delivered runs out. So you better think about what to buy little monster for their gaming setup.
My son is 13 turning 26 and plays a mix of games from Minecraft and Roblox to a lot of zombie games. He also enjoys hanging out with his friends on their own little Discord server while they play multiplayer games together and stream each other’s gameplay. After watching many YouTube videos, my son has been well indoctrinated into the RGB everything personality when it comes to decorating his room. Studio 54 has never had a light show like this, even during the disco days.
Headsets: Go for quality, wireless is a plus
So what are some affordable options for kids playing PC games? I’ve found that my son goes through peripherals pretty quickly thanks to a mix of abuse and the fact that some devices just don’t meet the needs of an active and excited teenager.
Headsets are always the first to go. When he was younger I initially let him have my legacy, but as he got older he became more interested in the products he wanted to use. The cheaper, flimsy headsets only lasted a few months, so I started upgrading to more stable brand names and quickly became a fan of the quality and price of headsets like the HyperX Cloud II, which you could often find discounted – especially around holidays like Black Friday.
It’s definitely worth spending a few bucks more to get a more durable product that will likely last a while. One thing he’s been wishing for lately, however, is a wireless headset, particularly for use with his VR headset, as there are enough cable issues with use as it is. So this year, I settled on a HyperX Cloud Alpha wireless headset and I hope it will live up to its expectations.
Wireless gaming headsets are a particularly good idea for children, as they can get excited and accidentally yank the cords of wired ones. On the other hand, you need to make sure the headsets stay charged and have decent battery life. It almost goes without saying that you want a headset with 2.4GHz wireless technology, not just Bluetooth, as Bluetooth quality isn’t that great. If you want to find a top-notch headset, check out our list of the best gaming headsets. There are also a couple of good headset deals currently available:
RGB mouse pads: A really cheap gift
A simple and inexpensive gift I’ve gotten for my boy over the past few years is a new mouse pad. Sometimes it’s just a simple color, and other times it can be decorated with what’s trending at the moment. A mouse pad is usually a little stocking filler as they don’t usually cost much, but of course you can go crazy and spend a small country’s GDP on one with flashing lights and wireless charging if you’re so inclined.
Coincidentally, Tom’s Hardware keeps a list of the best RGB mouse pads and we test them to make sure they really shine. There are some solid sales on pads now too:
Keyboards: compact and colourful
When it comes to keyboards and mice, it all comes down to preference, and prices for them range from pretty low to obscene. Think of factors like size, space, mechanics or membrane, RGB and price. For my son it must be RGB; For him it is more important than the functionality of the product, but I will make sure that it can do both and that it is also good value for money.
He has a small desk in his room and never uses the number pad on his current Keeb, so I decided to get him a smaller TKL (Ten-Key-Less) board that still has the functionality of the F-key, but creates a little more space on the desk. I settled on a Logitech G Pro TKL, which I found on sale for around $50. This keyboard is equipped with mechanical switches and all the RGB he could wish for.
We maintain an up-to-date list of the best gaming keyboards. There are also a couple of compelling keyboards on sale at the moment:
Mouse: Save by staying wired
Also for a mouse, I found a $30 Logitech G Pro Wired that fits the keyboard comfortably and is a good price. He doesn’t worry about a wireless keyboard and mouse, and going wired for those two peripherals usually saves you big bucks and eliminates the pain of your mouse or keyboard running out of juice at the worst possible time.
We have a list of the best gaming mice based on our extensive testing and research. However, there are also some great deals on gaming mice right now:
Monitor: A dramatic upgrade, but not cheap
The last thing I bought my son for Christmas was a new monitor as he was using a very old used monitor that I had passed on many years ago, just like the PC he uses – made from all my old parts and pieces. The first thing to consider when thinking about getting a monitor is the use case, and then think about what hardware you have to power it. A monitor is one of those pieces of kit that can last through multiple PC builds, so it pays to make the right choice.
My son uses his computer for school work and games and has an older Nvidia 6GB GTX 1060 powering the graphics. Space on his desk is also important, so I wouldn’t want anything bigger than a 27-inch screen. As a small gamer and enjoying FPS games, something with a decent refresh rate of 144Hz and above would be nice, but with the GPU he has, he can’t play games with a resolution higher than 1080p. So I am considering a monitor that is limited to 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution.
Choosing a 1080p monitor also gives you plenty of options and keeps the price down, as high-speed 1080p displays can be had for less than $200. If you’re willing to shell out closer to $250 or $300, you can get a 2K (2560 x 1440) screen, which makes text and images sharper. Either way, if you upgrade your graphics card in the future, you may want to consider a different monitor with a higher resolution, and perhaps convert the one you bought today into a second monitor.
Based on our testing, we have a very detailed list of the best gaming monitors you can buy. However, these screens are currently selling well:
- Dell S2721HGF (27 inch, curved 144 Hz, 1080p): now $179 at Dell (opens in new tab) (was $259)
- Dell G2722HS (27-inch, 165Hz, 1080p): now $149 at Dell (opens in new tab) (was $279)
- Alienware AW2521HFL (25-inch, 240Hz 1080p): now $199 at Best Buy (opens in new tab) (was $249)
The most important thing when buying computer parts, peripherals, or monitors is to think about the purpose you want them to serve, the amount you’re willing to spend, and if it’s for the holidays, whether your child really wants them.
Be sensible and shop around for good deals and prices, and don’t make any rushed purchases. Hopefully you’ve already done your shopping, but if not, check out our lists of the best PC hardware and technology deals right now and the best monitor deals.