- 10 Sep 2017 8:06 AM
Since noticing that fans are willing to splash out for almost anything with the magic words "for gamers" written on it, manufacturers have been expanding their selection at an amazing pace. There are gamer mouses, gamer headsets, gamer chairs, gamer energy drinks, and even gamer shorts with absorbent patches on the side for the kids to wipe their sweaty palms in.
We can choose from dozens of brands and a spectacular range of prices: gamer mouses are available from 5 to 50 thousand HUF. More expensive doesn't necessarily mean better: you would be foolish to think that forking out hundreds of thousands on a full set of pro gadgets will make your offspring dominate the game at once. On the contrary: the wrong choice of high-end gamer device may actually make the situation a lot worse.
The first question to ask yourself is: conventional or mechanical keyboard? Mechanical devices are obviously a lot more durable and slightly more responsive but, at the same time, usually louder. You should also keep in mind the kind of games your kid likes to play because some genres may require some extra functions. A CS:GO player will never need the 10-15 macro-ready extra keys which will most likely make an MMO player's life a million times easier.
For a kid who plays at night (never school nights, of course) and also wants to type (e.g. to communicate with teammates) you should choose a backlit keyboard; for someone who spends half a day on the virtual battlefield, an ergonomic wrist rest may bring much-needed relief. If you're willing to maximize comfort and functionality at the expense of any extra keys, you can go for a separate 20-25 key gamer keyboard with nothing but the buttons that your young padawan will need for rocking the game.
Gamer keyboards do NOT start from 60000 HUF. If you're fine with the membrane models, you can find great solutions in the range of 8 or 10 thousand: many of those are durable, ergonomic, and fitted with extra features like backlighting and pro keys. But of course, the sky is the limit: if you can afford it, your youngster will surely be grateful for a robust mechanical gaming keyboard.
There are two key points where mouses designed for gaming outshine everyday devices: they must have high-quality sensors to enable extreme precision and they must be highly customizable to ensure that you make the most of their capabilities.
The best sensors are featured in Logitech and Razer models. Remember, higher DPI values don't necessarily mean a better sensor and it actually makes zero sense to buy a 16000 DPI mouse for your kid who will play at 400-800 DPI anyway (of course, you will need a huge mouse pad for that where young Timmy can push the mouse around as this is the best way to aim at one specific point on the screen). What's important is that the mouse should keep refreshing the pointer's position on (almost) any surface, meaning it should never skip or lag.
Design also plays a key role here: if your child is left-handed, make sure to get him/her a left-handed or a symmetrical mouse to avoid serious difficulties. Gamers with small hands can’t stretch their fingers all over the mouse, while huge teenage palms will make a smaller device virtually disappear. Grip types also matter: some mouses cater for a “palm grip” (laying your entire palm and fingers over the mouse), while others are designed for a “claw grip” (bending your fingers and clicking with the tips). Size and shape aside, weight will also be an issue: although some gamers prefer heavier peripherals, too heavy or too light mouses tend to work against a steady aim. Some models can be individually balanced to ensure perfect gaming comfort.
Even more so than a keyboard, a mouse should be chosen to match the kind of game that your pup will be playing. FPS devils will want an uncomplicated, comfortably designed mouse (maybe with rubber grips on the side) without any messy buttons - MMO and MOBA wizards will feel much more comfortable with, say, a Razer Naga with its 12 buttons on the side where they can allocate all the extra skills they couldn't possibly reach on the keyboard.
Although a few years ago there may have been some truth in claiming that wireless mouses are useless for gaming due to their input lag, the latest models are so sensitive that even pro gamers cannot really notice any delays in their response time. Despite the comfort of wireless use, we should note the extra weight of the batteries and the fact that if you forget to charge them, they are guaranteed to die at the worst possible moment.
The first and most important thing here is comfort. A headset may have awesome sound but if it's too tight on your kid's ears, he/she will have to take it off every few hours and soon start to hate the damn thing. Of course, your young one's head size and shape also plays a role in your choice so if possible, make sure to get him/her to try on the set before buying it. If after an hour of playing the kid still can't feel having anything on, you've found the perfect piece. And another aspect of comfort: there are huge advantages to moving around freely with a wireless headset instead of being tied to the PC.
Headsets are among the most frequently replaced peripherals, usually due to tear & wear. Stretching out the piece every time you put in on will inevitably lead to the plastic wearing out and snapping in two in your hands. You can reduce the chance of that by showing your kid how to use it carefully and by choosing a metal-frame headset (HyperX Cloud models, for instance) which will be much more resistant to tension. You will also want to check the ear padding: cheap faux leather covers will start to tear quickly so you're better off with textile padding or with some real leather on the earpieces.
Clearly, sound quality is another important factor: you want the best for your offspring whether for gaming or blasting the latest hits. Sennheiser headsets are the top of the line in that aspect but their mic-fitted gaming solutions are rather highly priced (of course, a kid with acute hearing may also go for a separate headset and microphone). Brands like Razer, HyperX, Astro, and Steelseries are well-sounding names when it comes to sound quality but Logitech and Turtle Beach are not out of the question either. If you can, let your kid check the sound before you make the purchase.
Just over 15 or 20 thousand HUF, headsets are usually fitted with mikes that are perfect for a few rounds of shoot 'em up with the guys but if your talented youngster has streaming ambitions, a high-end microphone is an investment that will pay off.
Prices here range from 15 to 50 thousand HUF but you can spend a small fortune on mixers, mountings, and other extras if you want your kid to have the very best of everything. If you go with the headset's own mike make sure to check whether it is fixed or removable.
If it comes off easily, the headset can also be used in the street, on the bus, or on the tram - but if your young one roams around with a microphone hanging from his/her neck, some smiles or suspicious looks should not come as a surprise.
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