The 8 best gaming keyboards of 2021

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Pattern of best gaming keyboards, including Corsair K65 RGB Mini, Razer Huntsman V2 Analog and  Corsair K100 RGB
  • Gaming keyboards can make or break your game, so we rounded up the best for you to choose from.
  • The best gaming keyboard overall is the Corsair K100 RGB, combining sheer performance with a deep feature set.
  • We’ve picked out the best mechanical, optical, and mini keyboards too, meeting every PC gamer’s need.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

When it comes to choosing a gaming keyboard – or even just narrowing down your choices, you might have your work cut out for you. Not only are there several types and sizes encompassing all price points, but every keyboard manufacturer boasts several models and versions as well.

We’re here to make it easier to find the best gaming keyboard for you. We’ve found and tested the best gaming keyboards for every need and even budget. More of an optical switch fan? We’ve got the best out there. Prefer a traditional mechanical keyboard? We found the one lauded by most gamers. Working with a small space? We have our pick of the best mini keyboard as well.

Of course, the final decision is still yours, which is why we’ve also included a short yet detailed guide to choosing the right gaming keyboard just below our list. When you’re done going through our picks, be sure to read through that. By the end of this guide, you’ll know in your gut the one that’s a perfect fit.

Here are the best gaming keyboards of 2021

The best gaming keyboard overall

The Corsair K100 RGB is the best gaming keyboard overall for its combination of performance, features, and build.
The Corsair K100 RGB is the best gaming keyboard overall for its combination of performance, features, and build.

If you’re looking for a premium experience, the Corsair K100 RGB brings sheer performance that is only surpassed by its feature set.

Pros: Solid construction, top-notch performance, a host of great features

Cons: More expensive than most, takes up space, bulkier than others

Competitive gamers want the best, and the Corsair K100 RGB is the best. But, even if you’re more about getting the most features for your money, this gaming keyboard is also a win. 

We’ve used it on games like Marvel Avengers, Death Stranding, and Cyberpunk 2077 – and it really delivers on performance. Touting Corsair’s impressive OPX switches and Axon Hyper-Processing technology, it boasts a 4,000 polling rate, 1 millimeter (mm) actuation point, and the N-key rollover with anti-ghosting. That means that it’s as fast as it is responsive, which matters in games where every fraction of a second and every key press count. 

The Corsair K100 RGB is also one of the most robust and premium feeling gaming keyboards we’ve ever tested. You just know it’s going to survive years of button-mashing and pounding, as well as resist everyday wear and tear, swimmingly while staying elegant-looking and comfortable to use. 

What gives the Corsair K100 RGB even more value, however, is its host of incredible features. Corsair really took advantage of its sizable footprint by stuffing it with a whole bunch of useful features. 

There are extra media keys and six dedicated macro keys on top of its already fully-programmable design. There’s also a very accessible control dial that lets you cycle through five different functions and adjust their settings.

Passthrough charging via its USB port allows you to attach another device to your rig. And, its RGB lighting is also grouped into 44 zones, so you can get as creative as you’d like without spending too much time on customizations.

To really make it worth your money, Corsair also gave it an 8MB onboard memory so you can create up to 200 key remap, macro and RGB lighting profiles that you can take with you.

K100 RGB (button)
The best mechanical gaming keyboard

Delivering excellent value, the Razer BlackWidow V3 is deserving of the best mechanical gaming keyboard title.
Delivering excellent value, the Razer BlackWidow V3 is deserving of the best mechanical gaming keyboard title.

Touting premium features without the premium price, the Razer BlackWidow V3 is a terrific and affordably priced mechanical keyboard.

Pros: Great value, solid build, a whole lot of customization options

Cons: Sizable form factor, wrist rest is not comfortable, minimal keycap curvature

If there’s one thing the Razer BlackWidow V3 proves, it’s that those features we don’t pay much attention to really do matter. The minimal curvature in its keycaps and lack of foam on its wrist rest make this keyboard an adjustment to use, especially if you’re upgrading from something that keeps your fingers and wrist resting nice and comfortable.

Still, this full-sized keyboard is much-lauded and for good reason. Those green or yellow mechanical switches are not only very precise and solid with a rating of 80 million keystrokes, but they’re also extremely satisfying to use. In fact, we love typing on this keyboard as much as we love gaming on it. Of course, it’s in gaming where it really shines, boasting a 1,000Hz polling rate and N-key rollover that allows its performance to be as responsive and accurate as its pricier rivals. 

There aren’t as many features here, sadly, with Razer putting its focus on making it among the best mechanical keyboards out there. However, it’s not bare-bones either – at that price, it better not be. You’re getting onboard memory for up to five profiles, a multifunction media button, a multifunction roller wheel, and a handy cable routing solution in the back.

Plus, as much as this keyboard belongs in the entry-level category of gaming keyboards due to its more stripped-down approach, it still has a robust set of customization options to match its excellent performance. Via the Razer Synapse software, you can personalize its RGB lighting (though not per-key), program per-key remaps and macros, and take full advantage of Razer’s Hypershift feature that basically gives you a whole new set of shortcuts and key reassignments.

Razer then rounds those out with the BlackWidow V3‘s keycaps and matte aluminum body, both of which feel like they can take their share of beating. Speaking of those keycaps, they’re labeled using a doubleshot molding process, which means you’ll never wear those letters off no matter how much button-mashing you do.

BlackWidow V3 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (button)
The best optical gaming keyboard

The Roccat Vulcan Pro is among the best performing and best looking gaming keyboards out there, optical or otherwise.
The Roccat Vulcan Pro is among the best performing and best looking gaming keyboards out there, optical or otherwise.

The Roccat Vulcan Pro packs robust performance and solid build in a beautiful and elegant design. If you’re looking for an optical option, you’ll fall in love with this one.

Pros: Aircraft-grade aluminum body, thin and light, excellent performance

Cons: Hard wrist rest, keypresses may take some getting used to

We cannot deny that we’re big fans of Roccat’s gaming accessories. The manufacturer has a knack for producing luxurious peripherals that masterfully combine robust performance and rugged build with sexier aesthetics. 

The Roccat Vulcan Pro certainly doesn’t fall far from that high-class tree, and is the best performing and best feeling optical gaming keyboard we’ve ever used.

Optical keyboards are generally considered to be faster and more durable than the traditional mechanical ones. However, they tend to also have a bit more resistance. If you’re unfamiliar with optical switches, you should do your due diligence before buying. 

If, however, you are a fan, then the Roccat Vulcan Pro is the one to get. We love the bounce its keys offer, as much as we do the curvature of those keycaps that are incredibly effective in keeping our fingers in place.

Gaming on this thing is a pleasure, which isn’t surprising. After all, it boasts an actuation point of 1.4mm, which is much shorter than other premium keyboards, a 1,000Hz polling rate, and a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0 based processor for incredibly fast responses. And, its Titan optical switches are rated at 100 million keystrokes.

As far as features, you’re getting an onboard memory to save five profiles in, a set of mixer-style audio controls, and a detachable wrist rest that magnetically snaps onto the keyboard.

It’s beauty and brains in one, and there’s certainly a lot of beauty here. The floating keys on an aluminum plate aesthetic are designed to let that customizable RGB light up like the Rockefeller Christmas tree. And, even though it is a full-sized keyboard, its 3.20cm-thin profile makes it feel less in your face. So much so you won’t be embarrassed to use this at the office, especially because those keys are also elegantly quiet.

Vulcan Pro (button)
The best customizable gaming keyboard

The Razer Huntsman V2 Analog offers plenty of customizations that make it worth the price.
The Razer Huntsman V2 Analog offers plenty of customizations that make it worth the price.

Perhaps the most feature-rich and most customizable gaming keyboard we’ve ever tested, the Razer Huntsman V2 Analog makes gaming incredibly seamless and easy.

Pros: Adjustable actuation, dual-step actuation, comfortable wrist rest

Cons: Pricey, a bit of a learning curve with some features, heavy

The Razer Huntsman V2 Analog isn’t what most would call cheap, but it’s also among the best value gaming keyboards out there thanks to its treasure trove of features. 

We’re not just referring to its unbelievably plush wrist rest that magnetically snaps onto the keyboard and makes your wrists feel like they’re resting on clouds or the USB passthrough that offers another port to which you can connect other peripherals or the underglow RGB lighting that extends to the wrist rest. Although those do add to this keyboard’s appeal.

Most importantly for gamers, the Razer Huntsman V2 Analog is incredibly customizable, offering per-key adjustments and remapping like you’ve never seen on other keyboards. Via the Razer Synapse software, you can toggle each key’s actuation point from 1.5mm, which is the default, to 3.6mm, so the keyboard responds to your presses exactly how you want it.

That’s nothing, however, next to the keyboard’s dual-step actuation function, which actually lets you assign two different functions at two different actuation points on the same key. It’s an incredibly nifty feature to have, as it gives you the ability to press fewer keys for similar game actions. 

A great, if basic, example of this would be to keep the W key’s default forward action at 1.5mm actuation point while assigning the run action as its secondary function at 3.5mm in games like Valheim. It essentially eliminates the need for extra key presses and makes your gaming experience much more seamless, mimicking the dynamism of analog gamepads.

Of course, essentials like customizable RGB lighting, macro recording – which can be done on-the-fly, onboard memory for up to five profiles, media keys, and robust doubleshot PBT keycaps are on hand as well. That’s not to mention its super responsive and accurate performance thanks to its 1,000Hz polling rate, optical switches and N-key roll-over with anti-ghosting.

Huntsman V2 Analog (button)
The best TKL gaming keyboard

Go compact but keep your arrow keys with the elegant Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro.
Go compact but keep your arrow keys with the elegant Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro.

The Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro stands out by combining elegance and style with sheer performance and durability, making it our tenkeyless champion.

Pros: Compact form factor, quiet operation, short actuation distance

Cons: Pricey, FN shortcuts take a bit of adjustment, bouncy feedback not for everyone

If you want the best tenkeyless (TKL; lacking a number pad) gaming keyboard, take a look at the Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro, which is among our favorite gaming keyboards at the moment.

This optical option takes the classy route with its elegant and stunning aesthetic that features a floating keys approach on a brushed gunmetal finish. The whole thing seems to be designed to allow its customizable RGB lighting to shine brilliantly, which it does even in broad daylight.

Don’t let that elegant exterior fool you. The Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro is as robust as they come, boasting aircraft-grade aluminum and optical switches that are rated at 100 million keystrokes.

Speaking of those optical switches, they are Roccat’s Titan optical switches, renowned for not just being durable but also for being extremely responsive. With an actuation distance of 1.4mm, you don’t have to press those keys all the way for them to register — and accurately, we might add. In fact, we’ve typed up a song verse on this keyboard with very light presses, and it did not miss a single key. Combined with its 1,000Hz polling rate, you’ll find this keyboard a huge advantage when gaming.

Because it’s incredibly quiet, you’ll also have the peace of mind knowing that you can game late at night and not piss off your roommate with all the button-mashing. 

Don’t worry about the more compact form factor, either. Its Function (FN) key shortcuts allow for quick access to media controls, settings, or RGB lighting presets, while the Roccat Swarm software lets you adjust keyboard settings, program key remaps and macros, and fine-tune the RGB lighting. There might just be an adjustment period — it’s the price you pay for compactness. However, you definitely won’t be missing out on full keyboard functionalities.

Vulcan TKL Pro (button)
The best 60% gaming keyboard

The Corsair K65 RGB Mini packs a lot of what made Corsair’s K100 RGB special in a miniature but formidable package.
The Corsair K65 RGB Mini packs a lot of what made Corsair’s K100 RGB special in a miniature but formidable package.

The Corsair K65 RGB Mini packs the performance, feel, and customization of the company’s flagship keyboards into this tiny 60% keyboard.

Pros: Very small form factor, fast performance, quality build

Cons: No dedicated arrow keys, software not user-friendly, thicker than most 60% keyboards

TKL and mini keyboards seem to be the latest trend in gaming keyboards, and for good reason. The Corsair K65 RGB Mini, for example, packs most of the quality, performance, and customization of the Corsair K100 RGB in one of the smallest form factors out there – 11.6 x 4.14 x 1.74 inches to be exact.

Performance-wise, it has an impressive 8,000Hz polling rate with a 1.2mm actuation distance, as well as N-key rollover and anti-ghosting. Essentially, it can keep up with you, whether you’re bashing away in Sayonara Wild Hearts or the latest stress-inducing e-sports game.

The Corsair K65 RGB Mini is also fully customizable. You can create a Macro for every key via the iCue software. And RGB customization is versatile, letting you cycle and adjust through a number of presets or use up to 20 different lighting layers to create your own psychedelic effects. Plus, thanks to 8MB onboard memory, you can take up to 50 profiles of customization on the road. All this versatility comes at a price however, since the iCue software comes with a learning curve.

A 60% size keyboard also comes with some inherent drawbacks. Only the most necessary keys are included. However, Corsair was clever enough to include a ton of built-in shortcuts to make up for all the missing keys you would have on a full keyboard. Still, having to press FN plus the H, J, K, or U for the arrow keys makes us miss dedicated arrow keys.

Luckily, there’s not much else to complain about. The Corsair K65 RGB Mini‘s profile might be thicker than other 60% keyboards but it is a tank. It looks and feels top quality from the durable key caps down to the removable USB-C cable.

K65 RGB Mini (button)
The best wireless gaming keyboard

The Logitech G915 TKL Tenkeyless Lightspeed Wireless RGB’s wireless performance makes it deserving of the title.
The Logitech G915 TKL Tenkeyless Lightspeed Wireless RGB’s wireless performance makes it deserving of the title.

Beautiful and incredibly thin, the Logitech G915 TKL Tenkeyless Lightspeed Wireless RGB is the best wireless gaming keyboard for its impressive wireless features and performance.

Pros: Great performance, incredibly thin profile, long battery life

Cons: Expensive, no numeric pad, not all keys are programmable

The Logitech G915 TKL Tenkeyless Lightspeed Wireless RGB is one good looking keyboard, with its thin floating keycaps, brushed aluminum alloy top, round multimedia buttons, and beautiful RGB lighting. 

It doesn’t just go by looks alone, however. Despite being one of the thinnest gaming keyboards out there, it also feels robust, its aluminum alloy top case supported by a steel-reinforced base. Meanwhile, its GL switches feel like they can take their share of button mashing.

There are a lot of other things to love here. Though it may not have an expansive feature set, it does come with its share. Those dedicated media keys, all round in shape, as well as the volume dial, are definitely useful additions. Meanwhile, the dedicated wireless, Bluetooth, game mode, and RGB brightness buttons are a boon to multitaskers who either use two devices at once or want to go from being productive to gaming in seconds.

Because, honestly, you’ll love using this keyboard for typing up documents and writing those work emails as much as you would gaming with it. Combining a 1 millisecond response time and 1.5mm actuation distance with its satisfying tactile feedback, it’s just as comfortable to use for work as it is responsive and accurate for gaming.

Of course, being our top wireless contender, there are a few noteworthy things here. It has two connectivity options — one via its Lightspeed USB receiver, the other via Bluetooth. This is something we often see with Logitech’s wireless keyboards, but it isn’t something we often see with wireless gaming keyboards.

While Logitech didn’t specify its Lightspeed USB receiver’s range, we’ve used this keyboard six to seven meters away from the laptop it’s connected to in another room with the door closed, and it didn’t miss a single keypress.

G915 TKL Tenkeyless Lightspeed Wireless RGB (button)
The best gaming keyboard for less than $50

The Corsair K55 RGB may be cheap, but its performance and features prove that it can hold its own against its more expensive rivals.
The Corsair K55 RGB may be cheap, but its performance and features prove that it can hold its own against its more expensive rivals.

The Corsair K55 RGB may cost less than $50, but it still looks like a fully-featured gaming keyboard and boasts many of the same features.

Pros: Cheap, RGB lighting, customizable keys

Cons: Keys aren’t mechanical, not fully programmable, 

This is the third time Corsair has featured on this list, though for good reason. Not only does the company build excellent top-tier keyboards, it also builds great affordable keyboards for the gamer on a budget. The best of those is the Corsair K55 RGB, which comes in at less than $50.

The Corsair K55 RGB, as the name suggests, offers full RGB lighting, making it look much more expensive than it really is. It also boasts a total of six programmable buttons, which can be programmed through the same great software you’ll get with the K95 Platinum. It also has dedicated media controls, and well-built keys.

So why is the keyboard so cheap? Well, those keys may be well-built, but they’re not mechanical keys, and as such, they may not be as satisfying to press or durable as other gaming keyboards. 

Still, that doesn’t make this a bad keyboard, it’s just something to keep in mind.

K55 RGB (button)
Our methodology

When it comes to buying computer peripherals, gamers often need something a little higher quality than everyone else. After all, when you’re gaming, every millisecond counts, and the feel of a keyboard and mouse can have a pretty major effect on a gamer’s performance. Those are the things we test when deciding whether or not a particular gaming keyboard is a worthy addition to this list.

In terms of performance, we typically see what a gaming keyboard does in the face of the latest popular games, playing a good mix of game genres on it. For example, we tested our most current picks above on AAA games, like Cyberpunk 2077 and Resident Evil Village, as well as lower-budget but equally popular titles, like Valheim and It Takes Two. Of course, since most people often just use the same keyboard for productivity as they do for gaming, we’ve done our fair share of typing up emails and articles on these picks as well, which also helped us gauge each one’s comfort level, tactile feedback, and overall typing experience.

We also make sure to test the software every keyboard utilizes for customizations, especially when it comes to macros, remaps, and RGB lighting. After all, many gamers rely on those supporting apps to improve their gaming experience. Naturally, if a gaming keyboard is wireless, we test its range and amount of latency as well, typically by taking it as far as we can from the PC it’s connected to or in another room and using it like we normally would. Finally, we test specific features as well — for example, if a keyboard has some specifically for MMORPG and MOBA, we make sure to utilize such features for such online multiplayer games.

Read the original article on Business Insider

15 great gifts to buy for the gamer in your life

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Family Father and Son Playing Video Games
  • Finding gifts for the gamers on your shopping list can be tough with so many gadgets to choose from.
  • We’ve put together a list of our favorite gaming gifts, ranging from controllers to collectibles.
  • Before choosing a gift, it’s helpful to know if your gamer prefers PlayStation, Switch, Xbox, or PC.

Gift shopping for a tech-savvy gamer can be challenging, but we’ve put together a list of suggestions that will leave any gamer happy.

From this year’s most popular releases to wireless headsets and awesome collectibles, our gift ideas offer something for all gaming tastes and budgets. If you’re looking for more tech gifts, be sure to read our guides to the best tech gifts under $100, the best tech gifts under $50, and the best tech gifts under $25.

Here are the best gifts for gamers:

A headset to stay in contact with friends

hyperx cloud headset

The right pair of headphones can help players feel fully immersed in their games, whether they’re exploring a fantasy world or listening closely for enemy footsteps. Headsets with microphones are essential for communicating with teammates online, whether you’re playing on your computer or a console.

The HyperX Cloud II headset with 7.1 surround sound is available for $150 right now, and it works with PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC, and Nintendo Switch. It uses a USB dongle for a faster, more consistent wireless connection than Bluetooth can provide, at ranges up to 60 feet.

The battery can last for up to 30 hours on a single charge, and even without power, you can always connect the HyperX Cloud II to your phone or controller with a 3.5mm audio cable. There’s a physical mute button for the microphone, and you can even remove it when you only need the headset.

PS5, PS4, and Nintendo Switch have different headphone requirements than the Xbox, so you’ll have to pick up a pair of Xbox licensed headphones like the HyperX CloudX if you know the gamer in your life prefers Xbox.

If you’re willing to go with a more affordable wired headset, the Razer Kraken X provides 7.1 surround sound on PlayStation, Switch and Xbox, and it’s only $50.

Cloud II Wireless Headset (small)
A gaming monitor for 4K resolution and competitive play

BenQ gaming monitor showcase

Sharing the living room TV with a gamer can be tough, so consider getting your favorite player a dedicated screen so they can play in peace. Monitors have become increasingly popular for gamers of all types, including console players, since they offer less delay than TVs and sport smoother frame rates while playing.

Newer monitors have support for popular TV features, like HDR color and contrast, making them easier to pair with consoles like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. This BenQ 28-inch gaming monitor is about the size of a small TV, it supports 4K resolution, it’s AMD FreeSync compatible, and it boasts a fast 1 ms (GtG) response time.

This year’s best blockbuster games

The Last of Us Part II Guitar
“The Last of Us Part II” was named the 2020 Game of the Year by The Game Awards in December 2020.

The best games of the year can vary based on a gamer’s platform of choice, so it’s essential to know if your gift recipient owns consoles (like the PlayStation, Switch, or Xbox) before buying a game.

Some of the best games released in 2020 and 2021 are console exclusives, like “Ghost of Tsushima” and “The Last of Us Part II” on PlayStation 4. “Ghost of Tsushima” is an open-world samurai adventure set on a scenic Japanese island, while 2020 Game of the Year winner “The Last of Us Part II” features impressive cinematic storytelling and cutting-edge graphics.

Nintendo’s offerings are known for being more family-oriented; the casual village-building game “Animal Crossing New Horizons” helped millions of people spend time together amid social distancing. “Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury” is a four-player platforming adventure that’s reminiscent of classic “Mario” games, with an extra open-world mode called “Bowser’s Fury.”

for PlayStation 4 (small)

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury (small)
A rare collection of classic Mario games

Super Mario 3D All-Stars (Super Mario Galaxy)
“Super Mario Galaxy” is one of three games remastered for Switch in “Super Mario 3D All-Stars.”

Super Mario 3D All-Stars” is a collection of three classic Mario adventures remastered for the Nintendo Switch, but it was discontinued on March 31. That means you can’t buy it digitally, and Nintendo isn’t planning on making any more copies; you’ll have to find one of the remaining ones in stores.

With the Switch continuing to grow in popularity and the longstanding legacy of “Super Mario,” you can expect “3D All-Stars” to become a collector’s item in the years to come. “Super Mario 3D All-Stars” includes “Super Mario Sunshine,” which hasn’t been re-issued since its release in 2002, along with “Super Mario 64” and “Super Mario Galaxy.”

A subscription to hundreds of games on PC, Xbox, and Android

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (Xbox Netflix of gaming)

Millions of people picked up Microsoft’s Netflix-style subscription for video games to help pass the time at home during 2020. The library has more than a hundred games, ranging from Xbox classics, like “Halo,” to some of the most popular games of 2020, like “Among Us” and “Doom Eternal.”

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate isn’t exclusive to Xbox consoles; games can be played on Windows computers and streamed on Android phones. For Xbox owners, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate also includes Xbox Live Gold, a $10 monthly service required to play games online, so you get a ton of value for just $5 more per month.

A premium controller with customizable buttons

Xbox Elite 2 controller

If you know a gamer who has been playing with the same old Xbox or PlayStation controller for years, you can give them a major upgrade. The $180 Xbox Elite 2 controller has a rechargeable battery, four extra paddle buttons on the rear, and comes with extra tools to customize and tighten your joysticks and directional pad.

The Xbox Elite 2 works on PC, is Bluetooth compatible, and will work with the Xbox One and Xbox Series S|X.

Sony doesn’t make their own premium version of the PlayStation’s DualShock controller but Scuf Gaming makes a $160 PlayStation 4 controller with paddles similar to the Xbox Elite 2, plus a wide selection of customizable faceplates.

Extra storage space to spend more time playing, and less downloading

Can you get YouTube TV on ps4

The latest games can require anywhere from 20GB to 200GB to install, so gamers of all types will appreciate an upgrade in storage space. PlayStation and Xbox both allow external USB drives for storing games, screenshots, and your video recordings. You’ll need a USB 3.0 drive with between 250GB or 8TB of storage.

We recommend buying a drive from a reliable brand like Seagate or Western Digital — 1TB is enough to at least double the space available on consoles, and there’s not much of a performance advantage if you buy a more expensive solid state drive for your consoles.

The Nintendo Switch uses MicroSD cards to expand beyond its 32GB of internal storage. The Switch supports MicroSD cards up to 2TB in size but we recommend a 128GB or 256GB card, which offer plenty of space at a significantly lower price.

A retro console for nostalgia and preserving the classics

Sega Genesis Mini

Retro consoles like the Sega Genesis Mini pack a bunch of classic games into a nostalgic replica of consoles past. The Sega Genesis Mini comes with 42 games from the ’90s console including “Sonic the Hedgehog” and “Street Fighter 2.” Games are displayed in high definition and the digital copies let you instantly save.

Nintendo set off a craze for retro consoles a few years ago with the NES Classic and Super NES Classic, but those consoles had a limited run and have less games than the Genesis Mini. The PlayStation Classic also collects 20 games from that console, but the selection isn’t as impressive as the competition.

An all-in-one VR headset to explore gaming from a new perspective

Quest 2

Released in May 2020, the Oculus Quest 2 has set a new standard for virtual reality headsets with finger tracking, greatly improved image quality, and no external sensors needed for setup. Oculus Quest 2 can be used as a standalone device for gaming, chatting, and watching movies, or connected to a PC for even more immersive performance.

Iconic collectibles inspired by popular games

iam8bit collectible TMNT
iam8bit is one of many specialty shops offering awesome gaming and comic book inspired collectibles.

Not every video game series is popular enough to have its own set of collectibles, but you can find a wide selection of gaming-inspired figures and statues from brands like Pop!, Nendoroid, and Kotobukiya. Prices can range from $10 to $250 or more depending on the item, but what’s important is finding a collectible that matches your gamer’s style.

The collectible shop iam8bit also offers lots of rare and limited collectibles, like vinyl video game soundtracks and customized cartridges for old games. Limited Run Games also puts together physical releases for popular indie games and retro titles that include unique collectibles like t-shirts and art books.

Mandalorian statue by Kotobukiya (small)

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to connect and pair a PS4 controller to your PC using Bluetooth or a USB cable

  • You can connect a PS4 controller to your PC via Steam, the DS4 Windows Utility, or Bluetooth.
  • To connect your PS4 controller to a PC using Steam or the DS4 Windows Utility, you’ll need a micro-USB cable.
  • When you pair your PS4 controller on a PC with Bluetooth, the connection is wireless.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Hardcore PC gamers often swear by the precision of a mouse and keyboard – it’s so popular that even console players sometimes prefer keyboards to joysticks.

However, there’s no denying that leaning back with a controller in your hand is much more relaxing than crouching over a mouse and keyboard.

Fortunately, just like you can connect your mouse and keyboard to a PS4, you can likewise connect your PS4 controller to a PC.

Here are three different ways to connect your PS4 controller to a Windows 10 PC.

How to connect PS4 controller to PC with USB

If you want to connect the controller with a micro-USB cable (the same cable you use to charge the controller), you have two options.

Connect via Steam

If you’re a PC gamer, chances are that you have a Steam account. Luckily, Steam makes connecting new controllers easy.

1. Open Steam and click the “Big Picture Mode” icon in the top-right – it looks like a square with two arrows pointing out.

1   How to connect PS4 controller to PC
Open Big Picture Mode, which turns Steam into a full-screen application.

2. Once in Big Picture Mode, select the gear icon at the top-right to navigate to Settings.

2   How to connect PS4 controller to PC
You can click the power button icon next to the gear to close Big Picture Mode, and Steam.

3. Under the “Controller” tab, click “Controller Settings.”

3   How to connect PS4 controller to PC
Other Steam options, like display and audio controls, can be found here as well.

4. Check the box for “PlayStation Configuration Support.”

4   How to connect PS4 controller to PC
Steam has the ability to connect controllers across gaming platforms.

5. Plug the PS4 controller into your PC using the micro-USB cable. Make sure the backlight on the controller glows to indicate there’s a connection.

6. Steam should automatically detect and configure your controller. Click it when it appears at the bottom of the page.

5    How to connect PS4 controller to PC
Click the controller’s name when it appears.

Connect via DS4 Windows Utility

If you want to use the wired controller with a non-Steam game, this is another option.

1. In a web browser on your PC, go to DS4Windows.com. Click “Download Now.”

2. You’ll be redirected to Github. Find and click the DS4Windows.zip file, and then download it onto your computer.

11   How to connect PS4 controller to PC
The most recent version of this software was released in 2016, but it still works.

3. Find the downloaded .zip file on your computer and open it, and then double-click “DS4Updater” and click “Extract All.”

14   How to connect PS4 controller to PC
Files with the .zip extension should be extracted before they run.

4. Pick a location for the files to be extracted to – it should be a location that you can find easily.

5. Once extracted, open the location you picked and double-click “DS4Windows.” If you’re asked to confirm that you want to run the program, click “Run.”

6. You’ll be asked where you want to save the program’s files. If you don’t care where they go, pick “Appdata” – if you want to be able to move them around, pick “Program Folder” and select a location.

7. Once you’ve picked a spot to save the files, click “Step 1: Install the DS4 Driver” and let the program install its files. If you’re asked whether you’d like to install the software, click “Install.”

16   How to connect PS4 controller to PC
Assuming you’re on a Windows 10 computer, select the first option.

You can now use the PS4 controller on your PC with a micro-USB cable, although you may need to restart your computer first.

How to connect PS4 controller to PC with Bluetooth

If your PC supports Bluetooth – and if it was made in the last ten years, chances are it does – you can pair and connect your controller wirelessly.

This method also works for the newer PS5 DualSense controller, although that controller might not be supported by every game.

1. Open your PC’s search menu (you can press the Windows key + Q to open it immediately) and search for “Bluetooth.”

2. When “Bluetooth and other devices settings” appears in the search results, click on it.

3. Make sure your computer has Bluetooth enabled by setting the switch labeled “Bluetooth” to “On.”

6   How to connect PS4 controller to PC
Enable Bluetooth connections.

4. Hold down the Playstation and Share buttons on your controller until the backlight starts flashing.

f91041d4 e83a 41ce 861e 4873e0c674e8_3.7fae6f754ce8fd6de13e37dfd6da4056
Hold down the PlayStation and Share buttons.

5. On your PC, click “Add Bluetooth or other device,” and select “Bluetooth.”

7   How to connect PS4 controller to PC
“Bluetooth” is the first, default option – if this doesn’t work, pick “Everything else” instead.

6. You’ll see your PS4 controller listed as “Wireless Controller.” Click it to finalize the connection. If you’re asked for a passcode, enter “0000.”

8   How to connect PS4 controller to PC
You may see the controller under an alternative name as well, like “Dualshock 4.”

Dave Johnson contributed to a previous version of this article.

‘Which VR headsets work with Steam?’: A full guide to virtual reality on the Steam gaming appHow to connect your PS4 controller to a Mac computer wirelessly to play digitally downloaded games‘Why won’t my PS4 controller charge?’: How to troubleshoot your controller in 4 waysHow to charge a PlayStation 4 controller using your PS4 console

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best iOS gaming controllers of 2021

  • The best way to play games on an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV is with a controller.
  • The SteelSeries Nimbus+ is our top pick because of its versatility, familiar layout, and iOS features. 

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

There’s no denying the popularity of iOS games. Apple gave them their own section of the App Store in 2017 and introduced the Apple Arcade subscription service in 2019 because its customers play so many games.

Many mobile games can be played with nothing but a touchscreen. Some titles can benefit from more precise controls, however, and the lack of an official Apple controller means eager iOS gamers have to use a third-party gamepad. (A situation that Apple’s been rumored to resolve for years but has never delivered on.) 

With so many controller options out there, it can be hard to figure out which iOS gamepad is best for your needs. The best controller for someone who owns an Xbox One and mostly plays on their Apple TV, for example, won’t be the same as the best controller for someone who doesn’t own a console and only plays games on their iPhone while they commute.

After testing several models across different iOS devices, we’ve selected the best controllers for playing games on the iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. Our picks are divided into categories geared towards specific buyers based on Apple’s expanded support for console gamepads, compatibility with different kinds of devices, and potential use cases. 

Here are our top picks for the best iOS Controller:

The best iOS controller overall

steelseries nimbus plus on table

The SteelSeries Nimbus+ is the most versatile yet familiar controller you can find for gaming across the entire Apple ecosystem.

Pros: Built-in stand that fits most iPhones; supports all modern iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac models; familiar layout complemented by iOS navigation buttons

Cons: Attaching the stand can seem a bit sketchy, prominent battery indicator detracts from the design

The SteelSeries Nimbus+ is the best iOS controller thanks to its incredible versatility. It can easily pair with iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac devices via Bluetooth. It can be used standalone, like a traditional controller, or it can be used with an iPhone mount that makes it seem more like a handheld console than a gamepad. And, it can even be customized using the SteelSeries Engine software.

All of those features help the Nimbus+ slot easily into the Apple ecosystem. So does the Lightning port that makes it easy for most iPhone and iPad owners to keep the battery charged. With that said, iPad Pro owners who rely on a USB-C cable for charging will have to dig up one of their old Lightning cables. The battery lasts up to 50 hours on a single charge, which should be more than enough for mobile use or gaming sessions around the house on the couch.

The Nimbus+ was clearly inspired by other controllers — it features the same layout as Sony’s DualShock 4 with a shape that best resembles Microsoft’s Xbox Wireless Controller. There are four face buttons, two shoulder buttons, a directional pad, two clickable analog sticks, and a trio of navigation buttons meant specifically for iOS devices. The controller should feel familiar to any experienced gamer.

This isn’t to say the Nimbus+ is perfect. Attaching the phone mount feels perilous, the prominent battery indicator is an eyesore, and the face buttons feel oddly slick compared to those found on other controllers. Yet, none of its competition manages to best the Nimbus+ when it comes to offering a great experience on every Apple device you own. That versatility more than makes up for a few design quibbles.

The best iOS controller for PlayStation owners

dualshock controller

The DualShock 4 is included with the PlayStation 4, it features a reliable design for gaming, and it’s easy to swap between Apple devices and your console.

Pros: Familiar layout; PS4 owners won’t have to purchase another controller; easy to switch between devices

Cons: Not everyone will find it comfortable to use; battery life can be lacking, especially late into the controller’s life

Sony introduced the first DualShock controller as an optional PlayStation accessory in 1997. Until the release of the PlayStation 5, which comes with the new DualSense controller, every other PlayStation console debuted with a next-generation DualShock controller that built upon the original design. The gamepad is familiar to millions of gamers — and PS4 owners can easily use the DualShock 4 with all of their Apple devices.

Apple officially added support for the DualShock 4 to iOS and tvOS in 2019 to coincide with the launch of Apple Arcade. Pairing the controller is as easy as simultaneously pressing and holding the Share and PlayStation buttons until the light bar flashes. The controller can then be selected in the iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV’s Bluetooth settings; the light bar will glow a solid color when it’s successfully paired.

Using the DualShock 4 is otherwise similar to using it with a PS4. The controller features the same basic layout as the original DualShock released in 1997: two clickable analog sticks, a directional pad, four face buttons, two shoulder buttons, and three navigation buttons are all here. Anyone who’s played on a PlayStation console in the last 23 years will have a familiar experience with the DualShock 4.

Unfortunately, support for all of the DualShock 4’s features varies by game. Some developers choose not to support “extra” features, such as the touch bar, light bar, and rumble-based feedback. Apple has made it easy for devs to customize on-screen control prompts based on the connected controller, which is nice, but they aren’t always perfect. And, the DualShock 4’s battery life often leaves a lot to be desired.

The best iOS controller for Xbox gamers

xbox wireless controller

The Xbox Wireless Controller is a great all-around gamepad for iOS devices, and it features a shape many people with larger hands will find comfortable.

Pros: Easy to switch between devices, Xbox One owners won’t have to buy a new controller, comfortable shape lends itself well to longer gaming sessions

Cons: Might be too large for some hands, requires batteries 

Apple didn’t just throw PlayStation owners a bone in 2019; it also officially added support for the Xbox One controller. It’s the same basic concept — make it easy for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV owners to use a gaming controller they might already own, but this time, applied to the gamepad Microsoft has shipped with every console since 2013. 

Most people probably won’t have to choose between an Xbox controller or a DualShock 4 for iOS, as it’s more likely you’ll own one or the other, and both are great performers. For those who do have an option, however, there are a few differences to note.

The most obvious is the shape: Microsoft opted for an asymmetric layout, slightly larger body, and more trigger-like shoulder buttons with its controller. It also chose to use AA batteries rather than a rechargeable battery, which can give the Xbox One controller a longer battery life at the expense of convenience.

I’ve been a PlayStation owner for most of my life, and I’m used to the DualShock lineup, but I’ll admit the Xbox One controller is a lot more comfortable when playing for extended periods. People with larger hands will probably prefer Microsoft’s offering; those with hands on the smaller side might be better off with Sony’s. But, again, the point is to use the controller you already own with as many devices as possible.

Pairing an Xbox One controller with an iOS or tvOS device is as easy as pressing the Xbox button, holding down the Pair button for a few seconds if it’s already connected to a console, and then selecting the controller from the Bluetooth menu of the device you want to play on. I haven’t encountered any issues switching between my iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV while I was evaluating the Xbox One controller for this guide.

It should be noted, however, that the brand-new version of the Xbox One controller released in conjunction with the Xbox Series S and X does not yet have official iOS support. It’s expected to be added, but only the older model linked to in this guide currently works with iOS.

The best iOS controller for Nintendo Switch fans

backbone one lifestyle

The Backbone One turns a connected iPhone into a makeshift Nintendo Switch with a bevy of software features that aren’t available with other gamepads.

Pros: Comfortable design, extensive software support, easy setup

Cons: Not as portable as some other controllers

There’s no denying the Backbone One makes the iPhone look like a Nintendo Switch. The designs are practically identical: a gamepad on the left, a screen in the middle, and another gamepad on the right. Anyone who’s used a Switch will feel right at home with the Backbone One — and might even find themselves wishing Nintendo would copy a few ideas itself.

Setting up the Backbone One is as easy as pulling the gamepads apart, lining up the Lightning connector with an iPhone’s equivalent port, and letting the controller snap into place. This can be a bit nerve wracking the first few times, but I haven’t encountered any problems despite using the controller for dozens of hours over the course of several weeks.

Once the hardware’s in place it’s time to set up the Backbone app for iOS. At its most basic level the app can be used to find and launch games that support the Backbone One. The app also lets you share experiences via screenshots, gameplay recordings, and social features such as the ability to join a friend’s game.

It’s clear the Backbone One was built with this platform in mind. It has a dedicated Backbone button for launching the app, an ellipsis button that can be pressed twice to mute the system’s microphone, and a capture button for recording gameplay or taking screenshots. (Plus the same menu button that can be found on many other gamepads.)

The result is a controller that offers a full console experience thanks to its dual analog sticks, bevy of face buttons, typical shoulder buttons, and its comprehensive social platform. It also includes ideal mobile features like a headphone jack, a Lightning port for passthrough charging, and the ability to operate without a battery.

The best iOS controller for travel

woman playing razer kishi

The Razer Kishi is an easy-to-transport controller with a small footprint and compatibility with a wide variety of iPhone models.

Pros: Great for travel, works with most iPhone models, doesn’t require a battery

Cons: Can be hard to set up the first time or reset between uses, can’t be used across the entire Apple ecosystem

Razer is mostly known for its PC gaming peripherals, but at CES 2020, the company announced a new Kishi controller for smartphones. (I’ve used the version made for iOS devices, but there’s also an Android version.) Unlike most of the controllers on this list, which emulate or simply are traditional gamepads, the Razer Kishi is at its best when it’s used as a travel companion that makes iPhone gaming more enjoyable.

Here’s how it works. iPhone owners can pull the Kishi apart, plug the right controller into their Lightning port, and then align their phone with the slot on the left controller. The peripheral then holds the connected iPhone securely in place while also offering the same inputs — two analog sticks, four face buttons, two shoulder buttons, etc. — as more traditional gamepads. When it’s fully set up, the Kishi is very similar to the Backbone One, creating a makeshift Nintendo Switch out of your phone.

This setup lends itself particularly well to gaming on the go — especially for people who need their controller to take up as little space as possible in their bags. Unlike the Backbone One, which bridges the gap between its controllers with plastic, the Kishi relies on fabric bands. The resulting setup is less sturdy than the Backbone One but also smaller when the Kishi is collapsed. People who prefer a better gaming experience should appreciate Backbone’s offering; those who value space should opt for the Razer and its more transport-friendly design.

The Razer Kishi is an excellent option for iPhone gamers on the go. The controller is responsive, sturdy, and easier to carry around than most of its competitors. It also features passthrough charging that should make it easy to keep the connected iPhone charged during prolonged gaming sessions. Other controllers offer greater versatility, but when it comes to playing games on an iPhone while you’re out and about, the Kishi is an attractive option for all but the most hardcore gamers.

Our testing methodology

ios controllers

To determine the best iOS controller, I tested several models using a series of games and media applications. All of our controller picks were used to play a mix of iOS-native games, titles streamed from my PlayStation 4 Pro using the Remote Play app, and games streamed from my PC using the Steam Link app. 

The goal was to evaluate each controller’s responsiveness in a variety of scenarios, to confirm that each gamepad could work with the iOS interface, and to gauge each controller’s performance across genres.

Controllers were evaluated based on how comfortable they felt while playing, how swiftly their batteries died, and how easy they were to set up. Some of these metrics, like comfort, are admittedly subjective. However, I’ve reviewed many peripherals and strive to make the line between objectivity and subjectivity clear where applicable. Still, your mileage may vary based on some factors.

Tested hardware includes a new iPhone SE, second-generation iPad Pro, Apple TV 4K, and the 2018 Mac mini. The SteelSeries Nimbus+, DualShock 4, and Xbox Wireless Controller work with all of the devices. The Razer Kishi and the Backbone One, however, depend on a physical Lightning connection that limits them to the iPhone.

What we’re looking forward to testing

PS5 DualSense PlayStation 5 Controller Sony

Though our current picks represent the best controllers we’ve been able to test so far, there are always additional models we’d like to get our hands on. With the release of the PlayStation 5 as well as the Xbox Series X|S, there should be several new options soon. 

I look forward to testing these new controllers when iOS support is officially added. 

  • Sony DualSense Controller ($70): Sony introduced the DualSense controller alongside the PlayStation 5 in November 2020, breaking the DualShock line’s 23-year-long reign. Apple included support for the new controller with the beta release of iOS 14.5, so official support should arrive sooner than later. It will be interesting to see if developers take advantage of its unique features, like haptic feedback and adaptive triggers.
  • New Microsoft Xbox Wireless Controller ($60): Microsoft also released a new controller alongside the Xbox Series X|S consoles in November. The new Xbox Wireless Controller features a slightly modified design with a Share button in the middle of the gamepad. Support for this controller arrived with the beta release of iOS 14.5, and with both Apple and Microsoft saying they want the gamepad to work with Apple devices, it seems like Xbox enthusiasts won’t have to wait long to use the controller elsewhere.
Read the original article on Business Insider

The 6 best gaming chairs of 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A good gaming chair will support you and provide adjustable comfort for long gaming sessions.
  • We researched the best gaming chairs to suit different people, environments, and budgets.
  • The Secretlab Titan is our top pick for its comfort, adjustability, and durability.

A gaming chair used to be whatever you happened to use for gaming, but nowadays there’s a whole category of purpose-built seats for playing video games. The best gaming chairs are solidly built, durable, and capable of withstanding occasional soda spills. They are also supremely comfortable and adjustable to accommodate your body and provide proper support as you shift positions.

We researched and tested to find the best gaming chairs and found options to suit different budgets and rooms, as well as choices to accommodate kids and big and tall gamers.

Here are our top picks for the best gaming chairs

The best gaming chair overall

bast gaming chair SecretLab titan

Offering supreme adjustable comfort, real durability, and a classy look, the Secretlab Titan has everything you need in a gaming chair. 

Pros: Comfortable, durable, adjustable, 5-year warranty

Cons: The seat and back can get warm, assembly required

Secretlab makes ergonomic gaming chairs that combine affordability, comfort, and quality construction. With black polyurethane leather and golden logos, the Secretlab Titan is unmistakably a gaming chair, but the design is classy enough that it can blend into a home office. 

Comfort is a priority, so there’s generous padding beneath the durable PU leather. A knob on the side of the Secretlab Titan provides adjustable lumbar support, instead of a cushion. The armrests are fully adjustable, so you can angle them to suit your position. The top of each armrest is padded and concave, which helps to keep your elbows in the right place. There’s also a velour-covered memory foam pillow with a layer of cooling gel for your neck and head. 

The Secretlab Titan can also tilt and fully recline, with a lever to lock it in place, and the pneumatics enable easy height adjustment. The PU-coated wheels allow for smooth movement across different floors. 

You can customize many design elements, opting for fabric or leather, with different color combinations. There are special editions linked to esports, specific games, or even houses from “Game of Thrones.”

All these features will be appreciated by gamers, but it’s the $419 price that makes the Secretlab Titan so compelling. Secretlab keeps prices down by selling direct to consumers. While a fabric finish bumps the price to $449 and real leather makes it $699, these are still very competitive prices for what you get. 

We previously reviewed the Secretlab Omega and loved it, but the Titan offers some improvements and is designed to accommodate taller and heavier gamers. It’s not suited for anyone under 5’9″, but the Omega comes in a smaller size. An XL version of the Titan is rated for up to 6’10” and 390 pounds. 

This is a durable and thoughtfully designed gaming chair, and Secretlab offers a five-year warranty. 

Overall, the Secretlab Titan strikes the right balance between comfort, style, adjustability, durability, and price. This is the best gaming chair for most people.

Read our Secretlab Titan review

The best budget gaming chair

best budget gaming chair GT Racing chair

The GT Racing gaming chair offers padded comfort, adjustable support, and a colorful design without breaking the bank.

Pros: Affordable, some adjustable support

Cons: Can get uncomfortable after a while, prone to faults

If you need a seat that can carry you through hours of gaming but your budget is limited, then the GT Racing gaming chair could be ideal. With bucket style seats, covered in polyurethane leather, extra cushions, and logos all over, this gaming chair certainly looks the part. 

There’s padding over the metal frame, so this is a reasonably comfortable chair to sit in for a few hours. More padding would be nice, and the raised sides and metal frame can make this chair uncomfortable after a couple of hours, especially for larger folks. While the height of the armrests and the seat can be adjusted, the armrests don’t go as high as we’d like.

There’s a removable headrest pillow, and you’ll find a lumbar cushion on the back that you can slide up and down. A lever at the side enables you to recline the chair all the way back to a 170-degree angle. This chair also spins 360 degrees, and the wheels roll freely and quietly on hard floors or carpet.

The GT Racing chair starts from just $169.99, which makes it the cheapest option on our list by a distance. You can get red and black, blue and black, or plain black in the polyurethane covering. While it wipes clean easily, it can also get sweaty, and it’s not something you want against your skin, so you may prefer to pay a little more for a fabric finish. 

While this chair feels reasonably sturdy and does a good job of emulating more expensive gaming chairs, you can feel the difference when you sit in it. This is a budget gaming chair, and the quality reflects that. We can’t speak to longevity either. Online research reveals reports about different faults and parts of this chair breaking. Customer service looks to be good, but we have some concerns about long-term durability. Ultimately, although there are better gaming chairs, we can’t find a superior option at this price.

The best office chair for gaming

best gaming chair for your office Steelcase V2

The Steelcase Leap V2 eschews loud design in favor of functionality, so this is a fully adjustable chair that will blend in seamlessly with your office.

Pros: Fully adjustable, very durable, understated style

Cons: The seat and back can get warm, expensive

Most gaming chairs have a certain style, and it usually involves bucket seats designed to emulate sports cars. Vibrant patches of color and prominent logos are also common. If you’re hunting for a great gaming chair that has to pull double duty as an office chair, then you probably don’t want a garish seat that will catch people’s eyes during video calls.

Our pick, which served as my office chair for more than a year, is the Steelcase Leap V2. It has a well-deserved place in our best office chairs guide. What sets it apart from the competition there and makes it especially suitable for gaming is the padding and adjustability. This is a chair that’s comfortable enough to sit in all day for work and then sit in all night for gaming. Trust me; I do it far too often. 

The Steelcase Leap V2 is fully adjustable. It’s designed to support your body whether you’re leaning forward, sitting upright, slouching down, or reclining back with your feet up on the desk. There’s fully adjustable lumbar support. You can tweak the resistance of the back, change the height and seat depth, and adjust the height and orientation of the armrests. It also spins through 360 degrees, and the wheels roll easily across carpeted or hard floors.

You can get the Steelcase Leap in a wide range of fabric or leather finishes in various colors, with or without the arms and headrest. You can get just the right look for your office, though some combinations are very pricey. 

It’s a relatively expensive chair to buy new. If you buy directly from Steelcase, prices start at $880, though it does offer a lifetime warranty. On the other hand, this is a chair that’s built to last, and if you shop around, you can find heavily discounted refurbished chairs with plenty of life left in them.

Read our full Steelcase Leap V2 review.

The best immersive gaming chair

best immersive gaming chair X Rocker chair

With built-in sound and vibration, the X-Rocker Pro Series 2.1 fully immerses you in your chosen game world. 

Pros: Affordable, built-in sound and vibration, sturdy

Cons: Not suitable for taller gamers, needs to be plugged in, limited comfort

For those looking for a purpose-built gaming chair, there’s the X-Rocker Pro Series 2.1. This curved, black, PU leather gaming chair offers reasonable comfort and support, but it’s the built-in sound that sets it apart.

The X-Rocker Pro Series 2.1 features a pedestal for stability, enabling you to tilt and swivel. There’s a cushioned headrest, lumbar support, and armrests, but this is not an adjustable chair. It’s not the most comfortable gaming chair either, especially for taller or heavier gamers. We think this chair will work best for kids, teens, and smaller adults.

The built-in sound support is an unusual extra. It has two forward-facing speakers and a subwoofer inside, along with vibration motors that make for an immersive sound experience you can feel. It can also pair with devices via Bluetooth. Unfortunately, this does mean it needs to be plugged into an outlet. The sound should work wirelessly, but as it relies on RCA technology to connect to your system, it may require extra accessories, such as an HDMI Audio Extractor.

The X-Rocker Pro Series 2.1 delivers surprisingly decent sound, and the vibrations add an extra layer of experience to gaming sessions and movies. A panel on the right-hand side houses controls and various wired connections. Assembly is required, and you’ll want help to do so. Once it’s put together, the chair feels pretty sturdy. 

User reviews are mostly positive, with people praising the audio features, but there are also some negative reviews from taller and heavier gamers. If you’re 5’10” and up, this gaming chair is definitely not for you. There’s also a positive review at Lifewire.

Ultimately, the X-Rocker Pro Series 2.1 has a lot to offer for $250, but if you don’t care about the sound features, you should check out a more comfortable, adjustable chair.

The best gaming chair for kids

best gaming chair for kids Arozzi Junior

The Arozzi Verona Junior offers classic gaming chair looks with adjustable support, but in a smaller package that’s suitable for kids and smaller gamers.

Pros: Designed for kids and shorter gamers, adjustable, comfortable

Cons: 132-pound weight limit

If you’re below a certain height, some gaming chairs are just never going to work for you. The Arozzi Verona Junior is built for kids and shorter gamers, offering comfort, adjustability, and durability in a typical racing seat style. The chair comes in a choice of four colors, and it’s finished in PU leather that’s very easy to wipe clean. 

It comes with foam padding and cushions for your head, as well as an adjustable lumbar support cushion. The armrests can also be moved up and down and rotated to different angles. You can set the chair to have some tilt if you want a rocking motion, and it reclines up to 165 degrees. The wheels allow for smooth travel across the floor.

There’s a positive review of the Arozzi Verona Junior at PC Gamer. Choices for kids and shorter gamers are very limited, so the Arozzi Verona Junior fills a niche. Arozzi suggests a maximum height of 5’2″ and a maximum weight of 130 pounds. It’s a shame that the weight limit is so low, because this gaming chair would probably suit a lot of shorter, adult gamers.

The best wide gaming chair

best wide gaming chair Corsair Gaming Chair

The adjustable Corsair T2 Road Warrior is tall and wide for larger gamers or anyone who prefers a roomy seat.

Pros: Comfortable, durable, adjustable, smooth wheels

Cons: Quite firm, armrests can be wobbly

Known for its headsets, keyboards, cooling fans, and other essential gaming gear, Corsair also makes gaming chairs. The Corsair T2 Road Warrior caters to big and tall gamers, so it has a high seat back and a strong, steel frame that allows for a maximum weight of up to 300 pounds.

This is a classy-looking seat that comes in plain black or options that combine black with red, blue, yellow, or white highlights. It’s shaped exactly like a car seat and is finished in perforated PU leather. While it is clearly a gaming chair, it won’t look out of place in most home offices.

There are microfiber cushions for neck support and adjustable lumbar support. The armrests are also fully adjustable, so you can raise or lower them, slide them left or right, and swivel them for the angle that suits you best. Internal pneumatics afford easy height adjustment, and the chair reclines through 170 degrees. The rollerblade wheels finish off a smart design with the ability to coast smoothly across different floor types, though they’re best suited to hard floors.

There are positive reviews of the Corsair T2 Road Warrior at IGN and KitGuru. While this is a roomy chair that feels very durable, it’s also on the firm side, so not everyone will find it comfortable. It does also require some assembly, and Corsair offers a two-year warranty for the chair.

At $399.99, the Corsair T2 Road Warrior is a good choice for taller gamers or anyone seeking a wider seat. The racing style does mean this is firm and curves in at the sides to hug your body. If you need something really roomy and capable of supporting weights of up to 390 pounds, then we suggest you look at the $480 Secretlab Titan XL instead.

What we’re looking forward to testing

Respawn chair

As a fast-growing product category, new gaming chairs come onto the market all the time. These are the gaming chairs we hope to test over the next few months.

  • Herman Miller X Logitech G Embody Gaming Chair, from $1,495: A dream partnership between popular gaming peripheral manufacturer Logitech and office chair king Herman Miller is something to get excited about. The Embody Gaming Chair promises a research-based ergonomic design specifically for gamers. Extra thick seat padding and a layer of cooling foam in the back set this apart from your average gaming chair, but it is very expensive.
  • AndaSeat Fnatic Edition Gaming Chair, from $419.99: With a range of gaming chairs featuring a typical racing-seat style, AndaSeat is a popular choice for many gamers. Building on its reputation for affordable gaming chairs, AndaSeat is beginning to turn out a range of higher quality seats with price tags to match. The Fnatic appears to offer a good balance between adjustability and price.
  • Razer Iskur, from $499: One of the top gaming brands on the planet, Razer has created a gaming chair for the first time, the Iskur. This synthetic black leather beauty has Razer’s signature green branding in the stitching with a prominent logo. The ergonomic design boasts an interesting, fully adjustable lumbar support system, thick foam padding, customizable armrests, and a memory foam cushion for your head. Sadly, it’s currently out of stock. 

How to choose a gaming chair

With such a wide and growing choice of gaming chairs, it can be tricky to pick the perfect one. Here are a few of the important factors to keep in mind when you’re shopping for a gaming chair.

Size: It’s vital to find a gaming chair that’s suited to your height and weight. You’ll generally find a suggested range or maximum height and weight in the specs of each chair. Bear in mind that the ideal height and weight for a chair will likely be in the middle of the stated range. This is especially important if the chair isn’t adjustable or has limited adjustability. Make sure you read reviews and see what people are saying about the sizing. If you can, it’s always a good idea to try before you buy.

Adjustability: A good gaming chair will be fully adjustable, allowing you to tailor the chair to your body. Ideally, you should be able to adjust the seat height and the armrests and tilt and recline in the chair. The best chairs will also offer adjustable lumbar support and extras like seat depth adjustments, but these are often lacking in cheaper chairs. Bear in mind that you can always add a cushion for lumbar support, but make sure that you get one that can be strapped into the correct position. 

Material: The majority of gaming chairs are finished in polyurethane (PU) leather, but you can also find fabric finishes and real leather chairs, though they will be more expensive. Fake or real leather has the advantage of being easy to wipe clean but can lead to an uncomfortably sweaty back. Fabric tends to be more breathable but may stain more easily.

Style: You can get gaming chairs emblazoned with esports logos or styled after videogame characters, but if you’re buying something for the home office it’s a good idea to consider what the chair will look like during a business video call. Some options bridge the gap between traditional office chair and gaming chair. 

Our office chair guide also includes expert advice on the best way to sit and how to set up an ergonomic space.

Testing methodology

My gaming addiction stretches back nearly four decades to the days of the Atari 2600. I also spent eight years working in the game industry. I have a lot of experience playing games into the night, and I spent most of them in unsuitable chairs, as my back problems will attest. Nowadays, I take comfort and support more seriously, and I’ve tested out a lot of different gaming chairs over the years. 

For this guide, I gathered recommendations from game developers and hardcore gamers, pored over authoritative reviews, and read countless user reviews and forum discussions to identify the best gaming chairs. 

I tested our top pick, the Secretlab Titan, for several weeks to ensure it measures up to its reputation. I used the Steelcase Leap, picked as the best gaming chair for the office, for many months and it also features prominently in our best office chairs guide. I have also briefly tested our budget pick, the GT Racing gaming chair.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best iOS gaming controllers

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

There’s no denying the popularity of iOS games. Apple gave them their own section of the App Store in 2017 and introduced the Apple Arcade subscription service in 2019 because its customers play so many games.

Experts said in July that the mobile gaming market would bring in $100 billion in revenues throughout 2020 – more than three times as much as titles released for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Many of those games can be played with nothing but a touchscreen. Some titles can benefit from more precise controls, however, and the lack of an official Apple controller means eager iOS gamers have to use a third-party gamepad. (A situation that Apple’s been rumored to resolve for years but has never delivered on.) 

With so many controller options out there, it can be hard to figure out which iOS gamepad is best for your needs. The best controller for someone who owns an Xbox One and mostly plays on their Apple TV, for example, won’t be the same as the best controller for someone who doesn’t own a console and only plays games on their iPhone while they commute.

After testing several models across different iOS devices, we’ve selected the best controllers for playing games on the iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. Our picks are divided into categories geared towards specific buyers based on Apple’s expanded support for console gamepads, compatibility with different kinds of devices, and potential use cases. 

Here are our top picks for the best iOS Controller:

The best iOS controller overall

steelseries nimbus plus on table

The SteelSeries Nimbus+ is the most versatile yet familiar controller you can find for gaming across the entire Apple ecosystem.

Pros: Built-in stand that fits most iPhones; supports all modern iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac models; familiar layout complemented by iOS navigation buttons

Cons: Attaching the stand can seem a bit sketchy, prominent battery indicator detracts from the design

The SteelSeries Nimbus+ is the best iOS controller thanks to its incredible versatility. It can easily pair with iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac devices via Bluetooth. It can be used standalone, like a traditional controller, or it can be used with an iPhone mount that makes it seem more like a handheld console than a gamepad. And, it can even be customized using the SteelSeries Engine software.

All of those features help the Nimbus+ slot easily into the Apple ecosystem. So does the Lightning port that makes it easy for most iPhone and iPad owners to keep the battery charged. With that said, iPad Pro owners who rely on a USB-C cable for charging will have to dig up one of their old Lightning cables. The battery lasts up to 50 hours on a single charge, which should be more than enough for mobile use or gaming sessions around the house on the couch.

The Nimbus+ was clearly inspired by other controllers — it features the same layout as Sony’s DualShock 4 with a shape that best resembles Microsoft’s Xbox Wireless Controller. There are four face buttons, two shoulder buttons, a directional pad, two clickable analog sticks, and a trio of navigation buttons meant specifically for iOS devices. The controller should feel familiar to any experienced gamer.

This isn’t to say the Nimbus+ is perfect. Attaching the phone mount feels perilous, the prominent battery indicator is an eyesore, and the face buttons feel oddly slick compared to those found on other controllers. Yet, none of its competition manages to best the Nimbus+ when it comes to offering a great experience on every Apple device you own. That versatility more than makes up for a few design quibbles.

The best iOS controller for PlayStation owners

dualshock controller

The DualShock 4 is included with the PlayStation 4, it features a reliable design for gaming, and it’s easy to swap between Apple devices and your console.

Pros: Familiar layout; PS4 owners won’t have to purchase another controller; easy to switch between devices

Cons: Not everyone will find it comfortable to use; battery life can be lacking, especially late into the controller’s life

Sony introduced the first DualShock controller as an optional PlayStation accessory in 1997. Until the release of the PlayStation 5, which comes with the new DualSense controller, every other PlayStation console debuted with a next-generation DualShock controller that built upon the original design. The gamepad is familiar to millions of gamers — and PS4 owners can easily use the DualShock 4 with all of their Apple devices.

Apple officially added support for the DualShock 4 to iOS and tvOS in 2019 to coincide with the launch of Apple Arcade. Pairing the controller is as easy as simultaneously pressing and holding the Share and PlayStation buttons until the light bar flashes. The controller can then be selected in the iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV’s Bluetooth settings; the light bar will glow a solid color when it’s successfully paired.

Using the DualShock 4 is otherwise similar to using it with a PS4. The controller features the same basic layout as the original DualShock released in 1997: two clickable analog sticks, a directional pad, four face buttons, two shoulder buttons, and three navigation buttons are all here. Anyone who’s played on a PlayStation console in the last 23 years will have a familiar experience with the DualShock 4.

Unfortunately, support for all of the DualShock 4’s features varies by game. Some developers choose not to support “extra” features, such as the touch bar, light bar, and rumble-based feedback. Apple has made it easy for devs to customize on-screen control prompts based on the connected controller, which is nice, but they aren’t always perfect. And, the DualShock 4’s battery life often leaves a lot to be desired.

The best iOS controller for Xbox gamers

xbox wireless controller

The Xbox Wireless Controller is a great all-around gamepad for iOS devices, and it features a shape many people with larger hands will find comfortable.

Pros: Easy to switch between devices, Xbox One owners won’t have to buy a new controller, comfortable shape lends itself well to longer gaming sessions

Cons: Might be too large for some hands, requires batteries 

Apple didn’t just throw PlayStation owners a bone in 2019; it also officially added support for the Xbox One controller. It’s the same basic concept — make it easy for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV owners to use a gaming controller they might already own, but this time, applied to the gamepad Microsoft has shipped with every console since 2013. 

Most people probably won’t have to choose between an Xbox controller or a DualShock 4 for iOS, as it’s more likely you’ll own one or the other, and both are great performers. For those who do have an option, however, there are a few differences to note.

The most obvious is the shape: Microsoft opted for an asymmetric layout, slightly larger body, and more trigger-like shoulder buttons with its controller. It also chose to use AA batteries rather than a rechargeable battery, which can give the Xbox One controller a longer battery life at the expense of convenience.

I’ve been a PlayStation owner for most of my life, and I’m used to the DualShock lineup, but I’ll admit the Xbox One controller is a lot more comfortable when playing for extended periods. People with larger hands will probably prefer Microsoft’s offering; those with hands on the smaller side might be better off with Sony’s. But, again, the point is to use the controller you already own with as many devices as possible.

Pairing an Xbox One controller with an iOS or tvOS device is as easy as pressing the Xbox button, holding down the Pair button for a few seconds if it’s already connected to a console, and then selecting the controller from the Bluetooth menu of the device you want to play on. I haven’t encountered any issues switching between my iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV while I was evaluating the Xbox One controller for this guide.

It should be noted, however, that the brand-new 2020 version of the Xbox One controller released in conjunction with the new Xbox Series S and X does not yet have iOS support. It’s expected to be added, but only the older model linked to in this guide currently works with iOS.

The best iOS controller for Nintendo Switch fans

woman playing razer kishi

The Razer Kishi is an easy-to-transport controller that turns a connected iPhone into a makeshift Nintendo Switch.

Pros: Great for travel, offers a similar experience to the Nintendo Switch, fits most iPhone models

Cons: Can be hard to set up the first time or reset between uses, can’t be used across the entire Apple ecosystem

Razer is mostly known for its PC gaming peripherals, but at CES 2020, the company announced a new Kishi controller for smartphones. (I’ve used the version made for iOS devices, but there’s also an Android version.) Unlike the other controllers on this list, which emulate or simply are traditional gamepads, the Razer Kishi effectively turns the connected iOS mobile device into something like a Nintendo Switch.

Here’s how it works. iPhone owners can pull the Kishi apart, plug the right controller into their Lightning port, and then align their phone with the slot on the left controller. The peripheral then holds the connected iPhone securely in place while also offering the same inputs — two analog sticks, four face buttons, two shoulder buttons, etc. — as more traditional gamepads. It’s basically a pair of JoyCons for a phone.

This setup lends itself well to gaming on the go and, unlike the SteelSeries Nimbus+, setting up the Razer Kishi doesn’t feel precarious. It also takes up less space than the Nimbus+, but it’s less versatile as a result. Nobody’s going to be using the Kishi with anything but an iPhone, so people who own multiple Apple devices will have to find something else if they plan on playing games across the whole ecosystem.

Still, the Razer Kishi is an excellent option for iPhone gamers. The controller is responsive, sturdy, and easier to carry around than most of its competitors. It also features passthrough charging that should make it easy to keep the connected iPhone charged during prolonged gaming sessions. 

Our testing methodology

ios controllers

To determine the best iOS controller, I tested several models using a series of games and media applications. All of our controller picks were used to play a mix of iOS-native games, titles streamed from my PlayStation 4 Pro using the Remote Play app, and games streamed from my PC using the Steam Link app. 

The goal was to evaluate each controller’s responsiveness in a variety of scenarios, to confirm that each gamepad could work with the iOS interface, and to gauge each controller’s performance across genres.

Controllers were evaluated based on how comfortable they felt while playing, how swiftly their batteries died, and how easy they were to set up. Some of these metrics, like comfort, are admittedly subjective. However, I’ve reviewed many peripherals and strive to make the line between objectivity and subjectivity clear where applicable. Still, your mileage may vary based on some factors.

Tested hardware includes a new iPhone SE, second-generation iPad Pro, Apple TV 4K, and the 2018 Mac mini. The SteelSeries Nimbus+, DualShock 4, and Xbox Wireless Controller work with all of the devices; the Razer Kishi’s dependence on a physical Lightning connection limits it to the iPhone.

What we’re looking forward to testing

PS5 DualSense PlayStation 5 Controller Sony

Though our current picks represent the best controllers we’ve been able to test so far, there are always additional models we’d like to get our hands on. With the release of the PlayStation 5 as well as the Xbox Series X|S, there should be several new options soon. 

I look forward to testing these new controllers when iOS support is added. I’m also still waiting to get my hands on a few existing controllers from Rotor Riot and Backbone for consideration in our guide.

  • Sony DualSense ($70): Sony introduced the DualSense controller alongside the PlayStation 5 in November 2020, breaking the DualShock line’s 23-year-long reign. Apple devices don’t support this new gamepad yet but it’s possible support will be added in the future. It will be interesting to see if developers take advantage of its unique features, like haptic feedback and adaptive triggers.
  • New Microsoft Xbox Wireless Controller ($60): Microsoft also released a new controller alongside the Xbox Series X|S consoles in November. The new Xbox Wireless Controller features a slightly modified design with a Share button in the middle of the gamepad. Apple and Microsoft have said they’re going to make the controller compatible with iOS.
  • Rotor Riot Wired Video Game and Drone Controller ($50): Rotor Riot’s controller is similar to the Nimbus+ in that it features a built-in stand that can hold an iPhone steady while providing a console-quality gaming experience. It features a physical connection to the paired iPhone, too, which should lead to greater reliability than wireless connections.
  • Backbone One ($99): The Backbone One is a lot like the Razer Kishi in that it effectively turns a connected iPhone into a makeshift Nintendo Switch. Backbone’s offering also includes a suite of software tools designed to make sharing moments from within games, playing games with friends, and discovering new titles easier than ever.
Read the original article on Business Insider

The best Nintendo Switch accessories

Like the Wii before it, the Nintendo Switch is one of the most innovative game consoles of the past decade, not to mention popular. It’s versatile, allowing you to play on the big screen in your living room or on the go. There are plenty of excellent games for it, and now there’s a portable-only model that’s less expensive, the Switch Lite.

As fun as this system may be, as any gamer will tell you, the experience can only get better with the help of some must-have accessories.

There are hundreds of accessories for the Nintendo Switch, but they’re not all created equal. In our list, we’ve narrowed down the essential Nintendo Switch accessories that will take your game to the next level.

Here are the best Nintendo Switch accessories:

Updated on 12/23/2020 by Nathaniel Mott: Added a new pick and category for best Nintendo Switch wired internet adapter.

The best controller

8bit pro

The 8BitDo SN30 Pro+ is the best controller for playing Switch games on a TV.

Pros: Well-designed, cheaper than Nintendo’s official Pro controller, D-Pad and analog trigger make some games more enjoyable to play

Cons: Lack of NFC for Amiibo, weaker rumble and motion controls.

While the Switch’s included Joy-Con controllers are ideal for handheld gaming in portable mode, they can be cumbersome when used in console mode — when the Switch is connected to the TV with its dock— due to their tiny size. For big screen gaming you should opt for the 8BitDo SN30 Pro+, which is a full-size controller that is solidly built and has clicky and responsive buttons.

The 8BitDo SN30 Pro+ design is a mashup of both the original Super Nintendo controller’s familiar button layout and the PlayStation 4 Dualshock controller’s comfortable grip. The old school D-Pad is a significant step up from the four separate directional buttons on the standard left Joy-Con, especially while playing platformers, or any 2D games that need precise inputs.

The 8BitDo SN30 Pro+ has a removable battery pack that lasts 20 hours on a single charge and can be charged via its USB-C port. It also offers the flexibility of using AA batteries in case you don’t have access to a power outlet.

Nintendo offers an official Pro Controller for the Switch, which is also a fine choice, but it has a few minor issues that hold it back from being our top pick. Firstly, Nintendo’s accessory has a D-Pad that is slightly spongy compared to the 8BitDo SN30 Pro+ which makes it come across as less responsive. Compared to the Pro Controller, the 8BitDo SN30 Pro+ manages to hit the sweet spot in size making it more comfortable to hold for extended gaming sessions. Finally, the biggest pro in the SN30 Pro+ column is that despite the above advantages it is $20 cheaper than Nintendo’s Pro Controller.

The SN30 Pro+ has a couple of minor downsides, the first being a lack of NFC support for Nintendo’s Amiibo toy figurines —  for this you’ll have to rely on the Joy-Cons. And lastly, its Rumble and motion control feature are a slight step down from Nintendo’s official offering. But, it’s a better value buy for most Switch users and as a bonus is compatible both with Windows 10 and macOS right out of the box. — Siladitya Ray

The best Nintendo Switch power bank

anker nintendo switch editon battery

Extend the Switch’s battery life with the Anker Powercore 13400 Nintendo Switch Edition so that your gameplay doesn’t get interrupted.

Pros: Licensed by Nintendo, compact, fast charging (USB-C Power Delivery), USB-C cable included, can be used with phones and some laptops

Cons: Pricey compared to other power banks with similar or larger capacities, no fast-charging wall adapter included

According to Nintendo, the battery life on the original Nintendo Switch (2017) is approximately 2.5 to 6.5 hours, while an updated version (2019), with more efficient power usage, yields about 4.5 to 9 hours; the Switch Lite averages between 3 to 7 hours. If you’re an avid gamer and you have all the settings on high — brightness on high and Wi-Fi enabled, for example — you should bring along a portable USB power bank to lengthen the battery life. Our pick is the Anker PowerCore 13400 Nintendo Switch Edition.

You might be thinking, can’t you use any power bank since they are all the same? No: Because of the significant amount of power the Switch draws (more so when it’s in use), you need a power bank that supports USB-C Power Delivery (PD) fast charging. As for capacity, you would want as your budget allows; 10,000 mAh should be the minimum. And, you’ll need a USB-C-to-USB-C cable.

Considering speed, capacity, and price, we like Anker’s PowerCore 13400 Nintendo Switch Edition. Switch-brand licensing aside, the battery is rated to support the full amount of power that the Switch draws. You can expect between 3 to 4 hours of playtime, depending on settings; it has a capacity of 13,400mAh. There’s no way to neatly attach the battery to the back of the Switch, but the PowerCore 13400 Nintendo Switch Edition is compact enough for travel. The power bank also works with smartphones and other portable devices and comes with a USB-C-to-USB-C cable. When used with a PD power adapter, the power bank recharges in about 4 hours, but the adapter is optional.

There aren’t many portable batteries specifically designed for the Switch. The few we found either came from unfamiliar brands or had batteries that were too small, not to mention pricey. For your money, we didn’t feel they were worth considering and you’d get more value out of a standard power bank, as they can also be used to recharge phones, tablets, and other small USB-powered devices.

We also didn’t consider power banks that use Qualcomm’s Quick Charge technology, since the Switch does not support it. We want to note that you could theoretically use a power bank you already own, but unless it supports fast charging, it may not deliver the performance that’s needed. However, it’s probably fine for recharging overnight when you’re not playing.

The big downside might be the cost. For around the same price or less, you can usually find higher-capacity USB-C PD power banks, including ones from Anker, like the PowerCore Essential 20000 PD. If the Nintendo certification doesn’t matter to you, opt for something less expensive — just use a reliable brand with a good warranty. On a positive note, Anker’s power banks tend to be value products. We have used them for years and found them to be reliable and perform well. — Les Shu

The best Nintendo Switch microSD card

Samsung memory card

The Samsung Evo Select 256GB is the best microSD card for expanding the Switch’s measly internal storage.

Pros: Great value for a high-capacity card, meets Nintendo Switch’s speed requirements for SD cards, durable

Cons: None

The Switch’s 32GB internal storage can fill up almost instantly with individual major games taking up anywhere between 10 to 20GB of space. We recommend the Samsung Evo Select 256GB microSD card as an essential purchase for any new Switch buyer.

The Samsung Evo Select 256GB microSD card adds eight-fold more storage to the Switch and should comfortably hold a large collection of AAA, retro and indie games. Samsung’s card is rated with 100MB/s read and 90MB/s write speed, which should enable shorter game load times over lower performance cards.

While you could do with a 128GB card initially, if you plan on buying mostly digital games, then you would be better served going with the larger-capacity 256GB card since it costs only slightly more and is more future proof.

SanDisk makes a Nintendo-licensed microSD card. It has specs which are similar to our pick but often retails for a higher price. Pass on this and save the money unless you really want the card with Mario art on it. — Siladitya Ray

The best Nintendo Switch carry case

Nintendo switch case

The RDS Industries Nintendo Switch Deluxe Carrying Case is a sturdy hard case with room for a Switch, Joy-Con controllers, and game cartridges.

Pros: Hard exterior, room for Switch and eight games, built in kickstand for gaming on the go

Cons: Not large enough to carry the dock and other accessories

The RDS Industries Nintendo Switch Deluxe Carrying Case is an officially licensed case that protects a Nintendo Switch and accessories with a hard, water-resistant exterior. 

The case is available in multiple designs apart from the standard black that includes artwork from Mario, Zelda and Splatoon 2. Besides the Switch with Joy-Con controllers attached, there’s room for up to eight games in two separate plastic cases, cables, two SD cards, and other small accessories. We also like that the screen-protecting cushion doubles as an adjustable kickstand for gaming while on the road. There’s also a carry-handle. — Siladitya Ray

The best Nintendo Switch headset

Steel Series Artcis 1

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is the best headset for Switch gaming on the go for its price and versatility.

Pros: Comfortable, light, stellar battery life, great audio for gaming

Cons: Plastic build quality, occasional interference due to Wi-Fi signals.

SteelSeries is known for making great gaming headsets, and the Arctis 1 Wireless continues that tradition. The wireless headset comes with the same drivers that were present on our previous pick, the SteelSeries Arctis 7, offering immersive audio and a wide soundstage. The cushioned ear cups make it comfortable to use during extended gaming sessions.

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless comes bundled with a USB-C transmitter dongle that plugs into the Switch and allows you to connect the headphones wirelessly to the Switch. The Arctis 1 uses 2.4GHz wireless on its dongle instead of Bluetooth to connect to the Switch, which ensures that there is no noticeable lag and crystal-clear audio. While in console mode, the dongle can be connected to the Switch’s dock using an included USB-C to USB-A adapter.

Priced at $100, the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless lacks the premium build quality that you would expect from top shelf SteelSeries headphones, but the plastic-clad device is adequately sturdy for regular use. The design aesthetic is unassuming and doesn’t scream “gamer”, making it more versatile for use with other devices, like your phone. The most impressive part is that the headset lasts for 20 to 22 hours on a single charge, which is close to three times the Switch’s average battery life.

One downside of the 2.4Ghz band used by the headset’s dongle is that you may deal with occasional choppiness in an area crowded with Wi-Fi devices, but this shouldn’t be an issue for most people. — Siladitya Ray

The best screen protector

tempered glass screen protector

The amFilm Tempered Glass screen protector protects the display from dings and bumps.

Pros: Thick, two in the box, inexpensive

Cons: Thickness makes it noticeable

As with any portable device, the screen on the Nintendo Switch can be easily scratched if it isn’t properly protected — like throwing it into a backpack. For a strong, protective screen protector, we recommend the amFilm Tempered Glass Screen Protector.

It’s a little thicker than other screen protectors, at 0.3 millimeters, which makes it harder to cut through it. In the box, you get two screen protectors — if one gets damaged, there’s another one to replace it — and wet wipes and microfiber cloth to clean the screen before applying the protector.

The downside: Given the thickness, it’s more noticeable than other screen protectors. — Christian de Looper

The best controller charging dock

powera controller dock

Charging Joy-Con and Pro controllers is relatively easy with the PowerA Joy-Con and Pro Controller Charging Dock.

Pros: Charges Joy-Con and Pro Controllers, well-designed, inexpensive

Cons: Wire is flimsy

While the Joy-Con controllers can be recharged when attached to the Nintendo Switch, it’s more convenient to use the PowerA Joy-Con and Pro Controller Charging Dock. In addition, if you own the Pro Controller, it will recharge that too.

The dock is a great way to keep things organized. It looks basic, but it complements the Switch dock. It is also cheaper than many other charging docks for the Nintendo Switch, and, if you care about such things, it’s officially licensed by Nintendo.

In our test, the dock works well, but the included USB-C cable for charging the Pro Controller isn’t very strong. — Christian de Looper

The best Joy-Con alternative

Hori switch joycon

The Hori D-Pad Controller is perfect for 2D platformers, NES and SNES games while on the go.

Pros: Cheap, fairly solid design, the best way to play 2D-platformers in handheld mode

Cons: Lack of wireless, rumble and motion controls

Despite being loaded with sweet features, the Switch’s Joy-Con has one major flaw: the lack of a true D-Pad. Every single one of Nintendo’s previous consoles came with its iconic plus-shaped D-Pad, but the Switch’s unique design did not allow for the same. The Hori D-Pad Controller, which replaces the left Joy-Con, helps fix that flaw as it comes with a directional pad.

The Hori D-Pad Controller is frugal by design, and comes with no wireless connectivity, no rumble, no motion control and no battery. It only works when it’s connected to the left rail of the Switch in handheld mode. Despite these limitations, the controller is simple to use and delivers precise directional inputs.

The precision of a D-Pad is immediately evident if you play a lot of 2D side scrolling or fighting games. Games like Sonic Mania, Metal Slug, and Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap are ideal to play using the controller. The peripheral also shines when used with NES and SNES classic games that come bundled with the Switch’s online subscription. If you want to speed-run classic Mario in handheld mode, the Hori D-Pad Controller is your best weapon.

Other parts of the controller are well designed too, the analog joystick and both shoulder buttons work just as you would expect on an original Joy-Con. The assembly feels sturdy but significantly lighter than a real Joy-Con as it lacks a lot of the additional wireless, gyroscope and rumble hardware that add heft.

The Hori D-Pad Controller is officially priced at $25, which makes it significantly cheaper than the $80 Nintendo charges for a pair of new Joy-Cons. Additionally the gamepad is officially licensed by Nintendo, and is available in three separate designs; a black-and-gold Zelda version, a red Mario version and a yellow-and-black Pokemon version. [Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, some versions are currently out of stock.] — Siladitya Ray

The best Joy-Con controller handles

MoKo grip

The MoKo Grips turn your Joy-Con controllers into console-style controllers, making them easier to hold and more convenient for multiplayer games.

Pros: Comfortable, inexpensive, great for multiplayer games

Cons: Not for games that require vertical use of Joy-Con controller

The Pro Controller we recommended is more conducive to console-style gaming, but if the price is a turn-off or you just don’t want a bulky controller, stick with the Joy-Con controllers but add this affordable accessory, the MoKo Grip.

Coming in a pack of two, the grip, made of resin, is a sleeve that you wrap around a Joy-Con controller, giving it handles that make holding a Joy-Con more comfortable. It also has left and right buttons trigger buttons. There are plenty of similar products like this, but we like the MoKo because it provides a better fit.

Having tested the MoKo Grips, we find them to enhance the experience of playing multiplayer fighting games like “Super Smash Bros.” where you would want a tighter hold on the controller as you mash those buttons, as well as lengthy solo gameplay like “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.”

Where the grips don’t work are games where you need to use the controller vertically, like “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!” or “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee.” Also, it’s not an improvement over the Pro Controller since they don’t offer those large buttons and analog sticks, but it’s an affordable upgrade nonetheless. — Christian de Looper

The best controller for “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate”

GameCube style switch controller

The PowerA GameCube-style Wireless Controller looks and feels like the original, but works better.

Pros: Feels like original GameCube controller, wireless, great for “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate”

Cons: Expensive, AA batteries instead of rechargeable, no rumble

“Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” is an immensely popular Nintendo Switch game, and die-hard fans swear by a controller for an old Nintendo console that actually came out in 2001: the GameCube. Nintendo took notice — so much so that it introduced a GameCube controller for the Switch specifically for “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,” which is now hard to come by. If you don’t own an old GameCube controller (you can use it with the Switch via an adapter), you can get a third-party option, like this licensed product from PowerA, the GameCube Style Wireless Controller.

This controller looks identical to the classic GameCube controller, but it has extra buttons for the Nintendo Switch: home, plus, and minus. Apart from that, you get the large “A” and shoulder buttons that make this controller popular with gamers. Since it works over Bluetooth, no wires are required. Unlike using an original GameCube controller, this one has motion controls.

While the controller works with nearly all Switch games, it doesn’t have the rumble function. And, it’s powered by two AA batteries instead of a rechargeable one; PowerA claims 30 hours of gameplay, so either have spares handy or use rechargeable AA batteries. Another downer: It’s expensive. — Christian de Looper and Les Shu

The best Nintendo Switch wired internet adapter

Ugreen USB 2.0 Ethernet Adapter lifestyle

The UGreen USB 2.0 Ethernet Adapter is the best wired internet solution for Switch owners seeking a more reliable and faster connection while the console is docked.

Pros:  Enables a better internet connection when the Switch is docked, affordable

Cons: Requires slightly more setup than simply relying on a Wi-Fi connection

Nintendo officially recommends that Switch owners access the console’s online features via Wi-Fi. That recommendation makes sense — a wireless connection doesn’t care if the Switch is being used in TV mode, portable mode, or kickstand mode — but Wi-Fi isn’t always ideal. 

Luckily the Switch does support a wired connection when it’s docked. That is, as long as you use an Ethernet-to-USB adapter, like the UGreen 20254, to bridge the gap between the console and your network.

That extra setup can be worth the hassle, though, especially if you play a lot of games online. Wi-Fi is great when you want to be able to play no matter where you are in your home, and it complements the Switch’s versatility well. But, sometimes wireless connections are less reliable and slower than their wired counterparts. Those drawbacks can lead to increased download times as well as potentially game-breaking performance issues in online titles.

Wired connections don’t suffer from those problems, which is why Nintendo’s Masahiro Sakurai recently told “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” players that the best way to improve performance for online battles was to use an Ethernet adapter. Having a more reliable connection leads to better performance in competitive games like “Smash,” faster downloads from the Nintendo eShop, and improved experiences in games that feature significant online components.

Here’s the good news: There isn’t a significant difference between adapters. Some cost more than others, sure, but most offer similar performance. It’s kind of like buying an expensive HDMI cable. Sometimes it’s necessary, but the reality is that most people will be content with any cable that meet’s the relevant standards (USB 2.0 and Ethernet in this case). Don’t feel pressured into buying the most expensive Ethernet-to-USB adapter for your Switch.

That’s why our pick for the best Nintendo Switch wired internet adapter is the UGreen 20254. It’s an affordable and versatile adapter, with support for many other devices besides the Switch. Swapping it out if you decide you don’t need that competitive edge in “Smash” should be a cinch. Just remember that you’ll have to supply your own router and Ethernet cable as well.

Setting up the adapter is as easy as plugging an Ethernet cable into the appropriate port on your router, connecting that cable to the adapter, and then plugging the adapter’s USB 2.0 cable into the USB port on the official Nintendo Switch dock. The console should automatically switch between the wired connection when it’s docked and a Wi-Fi connection when it’s not. — Nathaniel Mott

Read the original article on Business Insider