With time to kill, it’s high time you upgraded your gaming PC’s accessories to gain a noticeable edge.
For most of us, the real beaut of ditching the daily commute is glorious unallocated free time. Of course, more IRL time to kill means plenty of time to invest in your digital fragging. Regardless of whether your fully armed arm’s length social interactions are mostly spent in the online fragging fields or lower-pressure offline gaming these days, it’s definitely worth reappraising your peripherals to friggin’ boost your fraggin’ prowess.
If you do wanna tap into gaming gains, there are three core peripheral categories that can gift measurable results. First kit item off the rack is a gaming mouse for greater accuracy. Next up, consider a gaming keyboard for responsiveness and versatility. Last but nowhere near least, you also want to give your ears the kind of surround-soundscape advantage that’s provided by a solid gaming headset.
The core differences between a regular bundled-with-your-’puter mouse and a gaming mouse are the always-reliable tracking tweaks and an almighty emphasis on pinpoint accuracy. While we’re somewhat conditioned to treating bigger tech numbers as better, when it comes to dots-per-inch (DPI) values, bigger isn’t better: it just means faster. In (p)lay terms, once you shift that slider above 1600 DPI, minor mouse movements translate to Flash-like cursor speeds, which is more likely to inaccurately confound you than give you an accuracy edge over your human or AI foes.
What this means for the budget-conscious peripheral purchaser is performance improvements don’t have to come at a great expense. Take the Logitech G402, for instance. This sub-$100 gaming mouse is a great starting point care of its accurate optical sensor and eight programmable buttons, which includes on-the-fly DPI switching to boost or lower sensitivity.
To step things up a notch, you’ll need to crack that $100 best-bits budget barrier, but there are perks for your investment. The Razer DeathAdder V2 combos a play-all-day ergonomic design (built with medium to massive mitts in mind) with an impressively accurate sensor to boost reliability, and optical mouse buttons for impressive click accuracy.
For a few dollars more, you can get your hands on the Logitech G502 Hero. Built around the heart of an incredibly accurate sensor, the G502 is an all-genres gaming mouse because of its 11 programmable buttons and up to five profiles that are stored on the mouse (so it travels well between PCs). You can even tweak how it feels by slotting in one of five included weights to tune the physical balance. If you’re not shy of the investment, there’s also a wireless version in the Logitech G502 Lightspeed that’s absolutely worth the price tag to ditch the mouse tail and have fully unfettered wireless movement.
There are three core mouse grips that’ll actually impact the kind of mouse you want. Palm grip is the most popular, whereby your hand is effectively flopped on the mouse and your wrist (higher sensitivities) or arm (lower sensitivities) is used for movement. It’s the most common grip because it’s the most natural grip. Palmers should look for longer mice with steeper backs. Claw grip reduces hand contact with the mouse, but offers faster gliding. Clawers should seek out shorter mice with more pronounced arches. Tip grip offers ultimate speed via minimal friction. Tippers should hunt down short, light mice with flatter back arches.
Is your desktop’s computer’s desktop surface your best-effort mousepad? Tsk, tsk. It’s definitely time to change that. Mousepads may not cost a motza, but they provide a consistent tracking surface that’s the best match for your newfangled gaming mouse purchase. Brand names don’t matter so much here, and more expensive types are usually bar-mat-sized gigantic or wireless Qi-charging capable (for compatible mice). For a good-sized option with non-slip grip and low-friction tracking, try the Corsair Gaming MM100 mousepad or the slightly larger, slightly costlier Logitech G240.
Roccat and mouse
If you’re after ultra-light, ultra-comfortable gaming mice, Roccat has made a name for itself in this space. In terms of budget, the mid-range Roccat Kone Pure Ultra is incredibly lightweight (66 grams) with a great sensor and grip-friendly coating. For not much more, you can tap into the zero-snag perks of the Roccat Kain 202: a wireless upgrade with a hand-friendly design, all-day comfort and speedy mouse clicking. Both of these mice are available exclusively online.
Sane in the membrane
Gaming keyboards are a lot more varied than gaming mice and headsets, particularly when it comes to membrane vs mechanical considerations, as well as individual key actuation points, full-sized vs tenkeyless, and even the feel of the keys themselves can greatly impact how appropriate a gaming keyboard is for even the lengthiest of gameplay sessions.
Mechanical keyboards may be the fastest, but if you’re looking to stream your sweet skills or not interrupt the other people in your home with the sounds of Mad Men-like clickety clack, membrane keyboards are very much still built with gamers in mind. They’re not just kinder on the ears, either; they’re also a lot kinder on the budget than mechanical keyboards.
For your membrane keyboard comparisons, start with the Corsair Gaming K55. During everyday use, take advantage of dedicated media playback controls and the RSI-defying detachable soft rubber wrist rest. For gaming, take advantage of the dedicated Windows key lock (a must for those who love playing online), six programmable macro keys and quiet keystrokes.
Alternatively, the Razer Cynosa Chroma offers individually programmable backlit keys for the RGB fans seeking illumination, finger-friendly keys and on-the-fly macro command recording to distil complex in-game tasks to a single keystroke.
Hopefully, you’ll start to notice that ‘gaming’ is a powerfully wielded adjective. Gaming mice best match your intentions with actuations. Gaming keyboards gift greater control and versatility. And the right gaming headset takes sound to all-new tactical levels.
With so many headset options out there, let’s simplify it to a high-end set of cans that ticks all the right boxes and will reward the extra dosh invested. The Logitech G935 is a wireless headset with sound that’s both rich and accurate (particularly for shooter fans) and complemented by 7.1 DTS surround sound. Compared to a basic headset, you’ll notice more audio cues and, therefore, have access to more information to formulate an utterly appropriate ambush reply. Not only is the sound great, the included boom mic makes for clear fast-fire comms.