Until the VR generation arrives to shatter our brains and potentially make us believe in an augmented reality that we won’t ever be able to escape from, there’s still PC gaming (and in fairness, even when that virtual world does arrive, it will likely be best on PC).
There’s a return to PC gaming happening at the moment, and it’s because there are more new and independent games coming for computers all the time, as well as knowing how your old games will run, which is something the new consoles just don’t do well (backwards compatibility).
HP Omen 15
Price: from $2199
HP hasn’t been in this space for some time, but its latest effort is a pretty solid piece of kit, with a sort of upside-down trapezoid style and textured body that make the laptop look and feel like something out of a different dimension. The spec inside is decent, too, and there’s a Full HD touchscreen to boot.
Razer Blade 14
One of the best options for a PC gamer this year, the Blade takes what Razer knows about gaming peripherals and turns it into a fully-fledged laptop. The build and style is akin to that of an Apple MacBook Pro, except in black, and it looks like the sort of kit every gamer would want to carry around, us included.
Or you could just bypass the whole laptop thing altogether and go with something big, meaty, and with a look that says “yes, I like my computers to look like they just walked out of a science lab in all the best possible ways.”
That is sort of what the Alienware Area 51 is going for, with a bizarre almost triangular case shape, increased air flow, a rather interesting component placement inside the machine, oh and the ability to technically support a 12K (not just 4K) screen setup if you happen to want to put three 4K screens together. Yikes.
Alienware’s Alpha is a taste of a new type of project to bring PC gaming to the living room, as Alienware (and Dell, technically) release one of the first “Steam-boxes” to Australia.
This machine isn’t a computer in the regular desktop, tower, or laptop sense, but rather a computer made to be plugged into your TV with Steam’s operating system and Big Picture mode employed — as well as some special Alienware sauce — to make a fully-fledged PC-based gaming machine.
Steam, for those who aren’t aware, is a gaming platform to buy games through, and the big games are all here, joined by tons of little games most regular people haven’t heard of. In the past few years, many in the games community have embraced Steam because it has lowered the price of many a game and given independent developers a place to sell their wares. As a result of this combination, many gamers are buying inexpensive games, but not necessarily playing them, building a collection that they’ll one day play, you know, when they get time off.
With a TV-based Steam machine now on the scene, Alienware’s Alpha could provide a way for those people to get their gaming out, doing it at the TV when they go home, rather than waiting for the right time to pull the PC out and just game for the sake of it.
Logitech G502 Proteus Core
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on something for a PC gamer, though, and there are always accessories you can check out. Case in point, there’s a mouse like the Logitech G502. Regular people might look at it and go “why should a mouse cost $90?”
Well, this mouse is specially designed to handle any desk and mouse pad with a neat tuning ability to adapt to surfaces, a weighting system that the gamer can control, over ten programmable buttons that can really make a difference in games, and the ability to set the mouse movement speed from uber slow to hyper fast.
Plus it glows blue, so there’s that.
Razer Black Widow Ultimate
Or perhaps a new keyboard makes more sense as a gift.
Again, you’re probably asking why a keyboard would cost as much as this one, and again, well, it’s a gamer thing.
The Razer Black Widow Ultimate takes a heritage from a company who started in games accessories and applies it to a keyboard that sounds like the old ones form the 80s, with individual mechanical switches that are faster and can take more of a beating than the current “they work” keyboards you can buy in stores, while programmable keys are included too to help gamers make those automatic moves to speed up and improve game play.
If the gamer in your life depends on their mobile machine to make their gaming life a treat, check out a pair of wireless Bluetooth gaming headphones, with an aluminium chassis and rechargeable battery, as well as 40mm drivers for a big boom.
Some gamers will throw back cordless, though, citing cordless as being too slow. That’s why you need a corded keyboard and a corded mouse.
A pair of headphones that landed on our review desk recently, these cans offer 40mm drivers, a relatively lightweight build, and an around-the-ears comfort that should make gamers feels at home during those long nights gaming when everyone else is asleep.
Samsung UD590 Ultra HD monitor
If a new computer isn’t in reach of being gifted yet, consider a monitor made for people who like those high resolutions, as Samsung delivers a 4K screen with a low response time (2ms) that makes it ideal for gaming.
It’s a 28 inch display with enough resolution for any gamer today, and it’s certainly fuller than Full HD, going beyond that with the Ultra HD display size of 3840×2160, but there’s no touch. That said, if you’re a PC gamer, there’s a good chance you prefer it that way.