At a loss as to what will thrill them? Here are some suggestions to get you started, no matter how little — or how much — you want to spend.
For the cutting-edge gamer: Oculus Quest
While the app library for Oculus’ new headset is small, it’s the best wireless option available — perfect for remaining untangled in a small dorm room or bedroom. But it provides an immersive VR experience with great controls and full positional tracking — no phone, PC or game console, and costs $400, which isn’t bad. If they’re more PC-inclined, the pricey $200 Razer Nari Ultimate (see at Best Buy) headset for PC or PS4 adds state-of-the-art haptic feedback for wholly immersive gameplay.
For the gamer on the go: Nintendo Switch, SteelSeries Stratus Duo or Nimbus controllers
For snatching moments between classes or on lunch break, get a portable console: the Nintendo Switch. If that’s too expensive a gift at $300, a controller designed to work with a phone is a lot more affordable and still gives provides an edge when jumping into a quick battle royale. The $50 SteelSeries Nimbus (see at Amazon) is good for iPhone devotees, while the $60 Stratus Duo (see at Amazon) goes with a Galaxy — or any other Android phone or Windows PC.
For the cable-free space: Logitech Lightspeed G903 mouse, G613 keyboard, SteelSeries Arctis 7 headset
When you’re sharing space with a roommate, clutter is the enemy if you want to keep the peace. Logitech’s sub-$100 each wireless mouse and mechanical keyboard (see at Amazon) play way above their price. And the $126 Arctis 7 wireless headset (see at Amazon) is one of the best around without being the most expensive one, too.
For the budget-conscious gifter: Dell G5 15, Aukey KM-G6 keyboard, Logitech G300s mouse
If you just finished paying the bills for higher education or are just embarking on that journey, the thought of another big outlay probably makes you shudder. The 15-inch Dell G5 is one of the best budget gaming laptops we’ve tested and it starts at only $900. Not a cheap gift, but a great value. If your budget only stretches to accessories, the Aukey KM-G6 (see at Amazon) is a terrific-feeling mechanical keyboard (I’m typing on it right now) with RGB lighting that costs less than $35. The Logitech G300s (see at Amazon) is a highly rated wired mouse for only $20 that’s good for the righty or lefty.
For the new professional: Razer Blade 15
Razer’s gaming gear is almost uniformly great, if pricey, and doesn’t go overboard on the gaming bling. The $1,500 Blade 15 has the minimalist aesthetic to look at home in a sea of MacBooks, but is ready for mayhem after a long day in a new job. And the laptops are fast, despite being thin and relatively light.
For the unconventional grad: Microsoft Xbox Adaptive Controller
When you’re in that demon-killing mood, you should be able to frag with the best of them. Help your favorite grad overcome the frustration of using mainstream game controllers. Microsoft’s $100 Xbox Adaptive Controller maps all the typical controller functions to a design which requires less coordination to operate. While it works with an Xbox console, it also works with PC games.