Gaming gadgets: the best gear for gamers

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In search of the next gaming upgrade? We regularly test the latest games, new PC and console equipment and present the highlights in more detail here. Whether mouse, gamepad, headset or even fancy gadgets – these are our recommendations:

NVIDIA GeForce RTX

Replacing the graphics card is often enough to make a desktop PC fit for gaming (again). So, before you buy a new complete PC, you should see if a decent graphics card won’t do the job. The change is very easy. If you’ve never done this before, you can quickly find instructions on the web – for example for example here.

NVIDIA offers a lot of graphics power with its latest GeForce RTX 3000 series. Even with the current entry-level model “GeForce RTX 3070” with 8 GB of video memory, all current games can be played smoothly and with maximum details in WQHD resolution.

  1. The high-end variant “GeForce RTX 3080” with 10 GB of video memory, on the other hand, has no trouble conjuring up games in 4K and with 60 frames per second as smooth as butter on the screen. In the context of CES 2021, NVIDIA has also announced the actual entry-level class with the “RTX 3060” and “RTX 3060 Ti” for the end of February, which should then primarily focus on Full HD resolution with all graphics finesses – at the smallest price (starting at 319 Euros RRP).
  2. A big feature of the RTX series: The graphics cards enable improved real-time ray tracing for even more realism in games. Ray tracing has been touted as the Holy Grail of gaming graphics for a few years now and makes games look especially realistic. The image calculation technology makes light, shadows and reflections look very natural. Just as we would expect in the real world. A classic example is a puddle in which the environment is reflected accurately and in great detail, rather than just roughly and in shadowy outline – if at all. This sounds like a small detail.
  3. However, in games like “Cyberpunk 2077”, which supports the new ray tracing technology particularly extensively, the difference is clearly visible and quite impressive. In the RTX trailer for Cyberpunk 2077 everyone can get an idea of the improved immersion for themselves.

Another novelty and a real added value of the new RTX graphics card generation is NVIDIA’s “DLSS” (Deep Learning Super Sampling). The advanced nature of edge smoothing uses AI algorithms to significantly improve image quality in games or enable better performance while maintaining quality. What’s more, the artificial intelligence is capable of learning, so it becomes more talented at enhancing games over time.

Especially in combination with the very computationally intensive ray tracing, the DLSS technology recovers quite a bit of performance. This cool combination is currently only available from NVIDIA.

Roccat Vulcan

For PC gamers, a decent keyboard, alongside a mouse and gamepad, is extremely important for comfortable, fast and precise gaming. Mechanical keyboards are particularly well suited for this due to their longer life and better key performance.

A certain bling-bling factor via unusual design and fancy LED lighting is also welcome. The Vulcan from Roccat, with its extremely chic look and robust build quality, covers all of the above. It also comes in several variants: The Vulcan 80 in black with blue illumination and no big frills is the entry-level model. The top model we tested is available in silver, black or white, including a matching palm rest, multimedia keys and the very advanced AIMO lighting system with up to 16.8 million possible colors.

All Vulcan keyboards use tactile Titanium switches developed by Roccat itself. They are similar to Cherry’s popular “MX Brown” switches, but offer a reduced pressure travel of 3.6 millimeters (instead of 4) and trigger at 1.8 millimeters (instead of 2) with a tactile feedback. The very precise and faster keystroke is a real advantage for gaming, without compromising on normal typing. Roccat has managed to create a very successful key feel that clearly stands out from the crowd.

Alternatively, a linear switch (without tactile feedback) is available for the Vulcan 121 AIMO model, which triggers after only 1.4 millimeters. Apart from that, the keyboard offers everything that is important for gamers – such as a very clear layout, programmable macro keys and a lighting configuration with various modes. Verdict: The Vulcan is definitely one of the best gaming keyboards on the market!

Lapboard Nerdytec Couchmaster Cycon

It’s still the best to play games at home on the sofa in front of the huge TV! For gamers who prefer to play with mouse and keyboard, whether on PC or console, this is a small problem. Where to put the two input devices and the corresponding cables? So-called lapboards are supposed to help: The lapboard is long enough so that the keyboard and mouse can be placed on it. However, the board puts quite a bit of pressure on the legs in the long run. Long and comfortable gaming isn’t really possible with it.

Nerdytec has taken the lapboard idea a step further with the Couchmaster system. The board is simply placed on two cushions, on which both arms can be comfortably rested without constantly sagging.

The lapboard itself has plenty of space for cable management and a USB 3.0 hub for up to four devices – for example, mouse, keyboard, headset and gamepad. From the Couchmaster itself, only a single cable leads away for the hub’s power supply, which, at five meters long, then finds its way to the PC or console. Wait: to the console? Yes, via adapters such as the “XIM Apex”, which is supported by the Couchmaster, you can also play on PS4 and Xbox One with mouse and keyboard, for example.

By the way, the keyboard is securely attached to the Couchmaster rest via a Velcro strap.

The freely positionable mouse pocket and another side pocket are also useful, for example to store drinks, a remote control or a bag of nibbles. So you won’t have to leave the gaming station anytime soon. Except maybe to pee ..

Teufel Concept C

If you want to experience an intense gaming sound, but do not want to constantly gamble with headphones, it is best to put a 2.1 stereo speaker system with a powerful active subwoofer – like the Teufel Concept C. The compact and beautifully simple designed HiFi complete system is intended for use with PC, Mac or game console. Thanks to Bluetooth 4.0 support, smartphones or tablets can also be connected. A comfort highlight is the

  1. Puck wireless remote control for the table. It can be used to switch through sources, adjust the volume and switch the system on or off. In action, the Concept C delivers an absolutely clean sound with a powerful and dynamic sound.
  2. The subwoofer with integrated integrated amplifier pushes the bass through the built-in 200 mm woofer precisely and (if desired) particularly intense out. A playground for bass lovers!
  3. The two 2-way satellite speakers, consisting of an 80 mm midrange speaker and a fine 19 mm tweeter, balance the system very well in terms of sound.
  4. On the other hand, we were a bit disturbed by the (actually great) automatic switch-off, which is a bit too fast and is not displayed anywhere. With the predecessor “Concept C 200 USB” both was better solved.

The bass could also be controlled with the (still wired) table remote control. With the successor you have to crawl to the subwoofer for it now. These three comfort criticisms, however, fall more into the category of “complaining at a high level”, because overall Teufels high-quality processed Concept C system does its job excellently and is a purchase that you quickly do not want to miss more.

Epic H3.

Sound design is perhaps the most underestimated art in video games. Games now offer just as bombastic a soundscape as movies do. It’s clear that you don’t notice much of this with the tinny sound of the monitor or TV speaker. A good headset like the Epos H3, which is optimized for typical gaming sound and voice chats, should therefore be a must. The Danish company Epos, which took over the popular gaming division from Sennheiser some time ago, offers a great headset all-rounder with a good price-performance ratio with the new H3.

The wired headset relies on closed-back acoustics with very high wearing comfort for long gaming sessions and high fidelity with acoustic clarity.

The Epos H3 is compatible with PC, Mac and consoles. It has a newly developed hinge system that can adapt to any head shape without applying too much pressure. Advantage of the closed design: Ambient noise is strongly muffled and makes it easier to concentrate on the gameplay. Great solution: Lifting the flexible microphone arm automatically mutes the sound. The volume can be adjusted via a rotary wheel on the right ear cup.

We particularly liked the chic look (especially in white), the excellent workmanship and the pleasantly neutral mixed sound, especially for gaming.

Conclusion: If you’re looking for a wired multi-platform headset with closed acoustics and sublime sound quality for gaming, and that too at a fair price, you’ll definitely be happy with the Epos H3!

Steelseries Arctis Pro Wireless

Wireless headphones have long been preferred for listening to music. However, it is (still) quite different for gaming. Especially fans of competitive games fear high latency. Also, no one is keen on the fact that in the middle of the game suddenly the battery is empty. However, with the Arctis Pro Wireless from Steelseries for PC and PS4, you don’t have to worry about these things. The wireless headset is suitable for gaming without restrictions and also has a few cool features up its sleeve.

One of them is the possibility to connect the device via Bluetooth or wireless – or both at the same time. An extra Bluetooth headset for listening to music on the go is therefore not necessary. The flexible microphone with switchable noise cancellation can also be hidden in the ear cup.

However, the biggest highlight of the Arctis Pro Wireless is its dual-battery system: Two batteries with up to ten hours of power each are included. If one battery is empty, it can be quickly exchanged with the other and then recharged while gaming in the transmitter box. An ingenious trick that allows the device to remain in continuous operation. The Arctis Pro Wireless looks nice and simple, has a first-class build and is fantastic to wear (even for those who wear glasses).

Sound-wise, the headset could really impress us with its soundband of 10 to 40 kilohertz in games. Others often only offer 20 to 24 kilohertz here. A difference that is clearly audible. Conclusion: The Arctis Pro Wireless is an all-around success and likes to think a bit further than some of its competitors in terms of comfort, performance and quality. If you’re not afraid of the price, you’ll definitely get one of the best wireless gaming headsets for your money!

 

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