With Xmas 2023 just a week away, we’ve rounded up some of the best gaming gear, gadgets and tech worth adding to your Christmas list.
So whether you’re putting presents under your tree or somebody else’s, here’s a wide range of ideas worth looking into, or keeping an eye on come Boxing Day.
PULSE Explore wireless earbuds
Price: $329.95 from Amazon
If you have a partner or loved one constantly complaining about how loud your PS5 games are, then maybe ask them to buy you the brand new Sony Pulse Explore Earbuds instead.
Straight out of the box you can tell that Sony is shooting for style, so although the case for the Explore buds is a bit bulkier than many competitors, it’s certainly feels and looks good to slide them out for each use. The PS5 aesthetic also does well to match with the core PS5 black and white design palate without giving off an overly ‘gamerbud’ vibe should you choose to use them out and about.
During our time with the buds we spent most of the time hooked up to our console and the results were truly outstanding. The planar magnetic drivers (a technology often used in much more expensive overear headphones allow for one of the richest, most rounded soundscapes we’ve heard on our console thus far. The level of detail in-game was surprising and makes up for the slight lack of oomph when you transition away from gaming and purely into music listening.
If you’re a PlayStaiton gamer wanting to stay within the ecosystem, the PULSE Explore wireless earbuds are a no-brainer, especially considering they may be the best way to play with the upcoming PlayStation Portal due for release next year.
Price: $149 from Big W
There’s obviously no shortage of Nintendo Switch accessories to wrap your head around, but the one you’ll most likely want to see placed in your stocking is the Nitro Deck.
Acting as a more substantial shell for your Switch or Switch OLED screen, the general setup is easy peasy. Simply detach your regular Joy-Cons, slide in the screen to the Nitro Deck and you’re off to the races – able to enjoy a wealth of extra little goodies. Aside from some painless pairing, we were impressed with how quickly we were able to get up and running – enjoying the Nitro Deck’s Hall effect thumbsticks, back buttons and more comfortable frame.
This incredibly appealing unit is a little on the bulky side for sure, but that’s but a minor concession considering the wealth of features it provides over your everyday setup.
The Nitro Deck is available in your usual black and white colourways, but just for a bit of extra personalisation, you can also pick the retro Purple or Mint Limited Editions which also come with a handy carrying case. We used the purple variant and loved how much it tickled our GameCube Nostalgia. Worth checking in with Santa to make sure this one is on your list.
Audio Technica AT-LP3XBT
Price: $489 from JB Hi-Fi
Despite the popularity of Spotify and Apple Music we’re still an absolute sucker for vinyl, and if we want a product to listen to them on, we never go past Audio Technica. We have to assume Santa and all his elves are massive audiophiles as well with all that time in the workshop, so they’d surely understand you adding the AT-LP3XBT to your 2023 Christmas list.
That’s because right from the outset the AT-LP3XBT feels like the perfect starter turntable. It delivers rich, punchy audio that does well to showcase a balanced soundstage no matter what you’re listening to (we floated between the classic Journey soundtrack as well as Banks’ Serpentina. Better yet, due to its included Bluetooth functionality it means you don’t need to fuss about with extra amps or sound systems. You just need any manner of Bluetooth speaker and away you go.
From installation to audio paring, we never hit any snags with the AT-LP3XBT and were impressed with the deck’s sturdy construction and simple finish.
There’s a lot to love here, including a price that means a bit of sweettalking might see it land under your 2023 Christmas tree.
Logitech G Litra Beam LX and Yeti GX Dynamic RGB Gaming Microphone
Thinking about a future of Twitch streaming, or looking to give your current setup a big boost? Then you may want to ask Santa for a Litra Beam LX or from Logitech G.
First up is the Litra Beam LX and it’s unquestionably one of the best key lights we’ve used so far. The unit itself looks as though it might be a little on the bulky side, but that’s largely due to the stand that comes packaged in the box. This stand is crucial though and is the backbone behind the Litra Beam’s flexibility – allowing it to rotate both vertically and horizontally.
During our testing we never had any issue illuminating ourselves in a relatively darkened room across multiple devices and cameras, meaning you should be relatively well covered no matter what environment you’re bringing the beam into. This thing can get bloody bright. The wide colour gamut also meant that we could utilise the whiter lights for business-related calls, then enjoy all sorts of wild colours when we transitioned to game time.
Then there’s the Yeti GX Dynamic, and it feels as though Logitech has smartly ensured the two devices’ design aesthetic match smoothly with one another, meaning if you’re decking out a new work/play station both the LX and GX effortlessly blend together.
A dynamic microphone (picking up sound wherever it’s being pointed at), the Yeti GX is specially for streamers in mind. As a result, there’s subtle yet stylish RGB lighting at the base, easy plug-and-play USB connectivity and can be hooked into a boom arm if you have one. We don’t but found the included stand to be more than sufficient and really helps the RGB pop even more.
During testing we found the audio output to be consistently clear, meaning it should be perfect for any streaming/podcasting needs, but can even crush much simpler tasks like Zoom or Discord calls. Sounds like a winning combo to us.
Price: $189 from Amazon
Trick Santa thinking it’s 1977 again by asking him for the Atari 2600+. Within moments of cracking open the box, it’s strikingly clear how special this breathtaking nostalgic treat really is. The original Atari 2600 has been lovingly recreated, as has the CX40+ Joystick Controller, and both feel pretty great in the hand.
Hooked up to your tv via HMDI, it’s great to take a trip down memory lane, but what’s even more impressive is that through some great technical wizardry, the Atari 2600+ is capable of actually playing original Atari 2600 and 7800 games straight from the cartridge.
That in itself makes this one hell of a Christmas present, but in case you don’t have 40+ year old cartridges laying about, a 10-in-1 option is packed into the box and includes the likes of classis like Missle Command, but we have to recommend RealSports Volleyball as well – it’s a hell of a good time.
The biggest hurdle for the Atari 2600+ is audience. Most modern gamers don’t have a lot of touchpoints to the Atari catalogue, but considering its incredibly reasonable price, it’s well worth asking for a fun little history lesson.
Canon Selphy CP1500
Price: $239 from JB Hi-Fi
If you have an avid photographer in your life who loves a bit of tech, then you might want to look at picking them up a Selphy CP1500. Capable of smashing out lab-quality prints in 41 seconds, there’s obviously a lot to love abot this nifty unit and it seems poised to win the attention of Polaroid lovers around the world.
From our time with the device, we’ve been impressed with how it can seemingly print from any device we throw at it, from smartphone, camera, USB or PC. Once connected, the overall quality of the finished product was great, and Canon promises they’ll last up to 100 years if stored correctly in an album. There’s also great versatility between the postcard-sized prints you can deliver out of the box or the smaller variants with additional consumables.
The fact that you can throw it into a backpack for a getaway or weekend adventure only sweetens the deal, although it’s worth pointing out that the Selphy is a bulkier unit than the pictures make out.
The only real downside is that the Selphy app (which allows you to add all sorts of stickers and fun stuff to your prints) is locked to smartphones and can’t be used on your PC. Considering the wealth of photos many of us keep on our phones though, that’s hardly an issue and is still well worth checking out.
Magic: The Gathering’s The Lost Caverns of Ixalan
Price: From $7.95 from The Gamesmen
From Lord of the Rings to Doctor Who, Magic the Gathering has had a hell of a run in 2023. Which is what makes is it a perfect pick for Chrissie considering how flexible the offerings are. The latest release The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, brings things back to Ixalan – home to pirates, vampires and even… dinosaurs? Yes, the Universes Beyond collection continues with Jurassic World, meaning Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcom is now a Magic the Gathering card. Wild.
Mechanic-wise, there’s a few new switch-ups to play. Craft, for example, allows you to transform your existing artifact cards into new items provided you have the components to do so, but thankfully they don’t feel too unbalanced. Descended on the other hand, is capable of triggering all sorts of effects depending on how many permanents are taking up residence in your graveyard. Both card types are admittedly a little wordy, but will do well to add even more strategy into the game.
It’s all backed up by Magic’s consistently-impressive art design, but best of all, with booster card packs starting from as low $7.95, there’s no reason Santa can’t throw at least of these under the tree.
Price: From $16.95 from Amazon
If you’re looking for a slight change of pace for Christmas 2023, may we suggest an Audible subscription? Amazon’s gigantic audiobook/premium podcast platform needs no introduction, but what might need some spotlighting is the wealth of gaming content available to listen to.
Case in point is Disrupting the Game: From the Bronx to the Top of Nintendo. This rare insight into the mind of Reggie Fils-Aimé, retired President and Chief Operating Officer of Nintendo of America is fascinating and filled with industry tidbits you’ll never have seen before. Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made by Jason Schreier goes deep behind the scenes of the video game development scene and a must-listen for any fan of the medium. Hell, just for a change of pace there’s even Slayers: A Buffyverse Story!
Gift subscriptions start from $16.45 making it the perfect addition to any Christmas gift, or you can just spoil yourself instead. We won’t say a word.
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