BY W. JEFFERSON
THE HOUSTON GAMER
EDITOR’S NOTE: This gift guide is subject to updates between now and Christmas Eve. Last updated: Dec. 15, 2020 @ 2030.
IF YOU HAVE EVER bought a gift for a gamer, the first question you likely asked: which games do you like? Do you own said game?” This year is extra with the launches of two new video game consoles. Sony released two versions of their PlayStation 5 - the $499 has a disc drive, the $399 version omits the disc drive. Both have the same 800GB SSD. Good luck finding one at your favorite retailer. Please, avoid scalpers and scammers.
Microsoft’s new consoles, the Xbox Series S ($299) and the big dog, Xbox Series X ($499) are also hard to find, but they stay available longer than the PS5. The Series consoles are two different beasts. The Series S has no disc drives and only 512GB SSD. The Series X has a 4K Blu Ray drive and a 1TB SSD.
The biggest draw for the Series consoles are a host of features. The coolest feature is Quick Resume. This feature allows players to toggle between multiple games within seconds, resuming where you left off. The feature is only on the Series consoles for now.
Another feature for this generation is backward compatibility. On the PlayStation 5, gamers can play most PlayStation 4 games. Unfortunately, there is no support for other previous PlayStation generations.
On the Xbox Series consoles, backward compatibility is exhaustive. Microsoft boasts support for Xbox games as far back as the original Xbox. Basically, the Series consoles can THOUSANDS of Xbox video games as soon as you fire it up and download the mandatory update.
Don’t see any launch games you feeling right now? Game Pass subscriptions offer access to over100 games to play. First-party titles are available to play the very same day the game releases. To make things sweeter, Microsoft teamed with EA to let Game Pass subscribers have EA Play for free.
External drive options
With all the games you’ll want to download and play, you’re going to run out of internal SSD space quickly. You can buy your gamer - or yourself - additional storage. Microsoft offers a $219 1TB SSD that offers identical speed as the internal SSD. However, there are cheaper alternatives.
OWC has two sweet storage options for gamers. Their new Envoy Pro Elektron SSD line offers speeds just a hair behind MS’s $219 1TB Seagate SSD. The Elektron SSD costs the same as the Seagate, but it works with PCs, Macs AND consoles. It’s also sturdy and small. It uses a USB type C connection.
If you want more space and comparable speed, take a look at OWC’s Mercury Extreme Pro 6G SSDs. This SSD requires an enclosure, but with it, you can use the SSD with PCs, Macs and consoles.
EVERY gamer gets hungry and thirsty. Why not give them a mini-fridge? Uber Appliance has the perfect line of mini-fridges. The CHILL XL can store up to 12 cans or6 16oz bottles. Plus, the CHILL XL is portable. It comes with an AC and DC adapters. At $99 and under, the CHILL XL would fit perfectly in college dorm rooms, Man Caves, media rooms.
This year has seen the rise of working from home, by choice or for safety. You may have enough space for a second monitor. But, what if you don’t have space for a second monitor? Have no fear, SideTrak has you covered.
SideTrak has numerous multiple-monitor options. Their SideTrak Slide offers 12” of additional desktop real estate . You can extend or mirror your display. You power the monitor, which attaches to your laptop via removable magnets.
If you are working from home and need a second monitor, give SideTrak Slide a look. Price: $299.
FeiyuTech has an affordable DSLR gimbal to stabilize your photo and video needs. The gimbal is very sturdy; it’s rechargeable and is very easy to operate. Plus, FeiyuTech has videos online if you have any questions.
The AK2000G gimbal offers 3-axis stabilization on a budget. The AK2000G gimbal is $229 on Amazon. The gimbal supports Canon, Nikon and other DSLR cameras.
The AK2000G gimbal uses a QLED touchscreen. It is very responsive and charging is quick. Plus, you can expect long use with great battery life.
If you are looking for professional stabilization for your DSLR, take a look at FeiyuTech AK2000G gimbal.