Erazer X700 by Lenovo
On the fence about the next-gen consoles? The Erazer X700 from Lenovo is a beastly tower gaming PC that packs more power than either the PS4 for Xbox One, will get many of the same games, and breezes through anything you might ask of a regular PC. It’s liquid-cooled so you won’t hear a fan struggling to dissipate heat, even when you engage the push-button overclock for when you’re really pushing its limits. It’s housed in beautiful glossy black plastic with bright blue lights to accentuate its futuristic angled design, and comes with a gamer-friendly mouse and keyboard, both of which also glow blue when in use. Runs on Intel X79 extreme series processors with up to 2 terabytes of hard drive space, 12 GB of Ram, and an NVIDIA GeForce 660 Graphics card. Starting at about $1,000, the X700 is actually cheap for what it does, and puts the new consoles—and other hardcore gaming PCs—on notice.
Shop at Lenovo.com
You’ve never played any handheld gaming system like the NVIDIA Shield. The latest entry in the handheld gaming market offers a stark contrast to Sony’s PS Vita and Nintendo’s 3DS. Most importantly, it’s Android-based, so even though it’s not even a year old, its game library is considerable and has the potential to grow much faster than the competition, not to mention the fact it also gives you access to all the regular Android apps you might have on your phone or tablet—including every retro console emulator under the sun. Under the hood, the Shield is easily the most powerful handheld ever made with a Tegra 4 processor, 2 GB of Ram, and a 72-core graphics processing unit (GPU). Its HDMI out port essentially turns it into a makeshift, portable console allowing you to play games on a big screen, or stream a movie through Netflix or anotherapp. If you have a GeForce-powered gaming PC, you can stream games from your computer to your Shield via Wi-Fi (within a limited radius); and many games on Steam are also compatible.
On top of its power and versatility, the Shield is the most ergonomically perfect handheld you can buy; it’s essentially an Xbox 360 controller that’s been attached to a 5-inch touch-screen tablet, and its analog sticks, triggers, and bumper buttons put the competition to shame. The clamshell hinge allows the whole thing to fold in half for full protection of the screen and the controls, hence the name Shield.
$250 at shield.nvidia.com
Turtle Beach Ear Force i30
Turtle Beach has grown up. The company that has long been known for producing affordable gaming headsets—while becoming the go-to headset brand for teenage Call of Duty addicts—debuted their answer to the high-end audio niche: the Ear Force i series. Both the Turtle Beach i30 and i60 are over-ear, noise-cancelling, rechargeable Bluetooth sets with a hidden microphone for taking calls or video chat, plus a standard 3.5 mm jack for when you need a wired connection, as you would to watch TV on an airplane. The ear cups and connecting band are both wrapped in soft black leather, a luxurious touch which wouldn’t mean a thing unless the i series delivered sound to match. They do.
The i30 retails for about $300. The i60 comes in at a heftier $400, but boasts everything the i30 does, plus true multi-channel 5.1 surround sound and EQ presets for watching video, listening to music, or playing a game.
Shop at turtlebeach.com
Razer Blade Laptop
Everything your laptop can do, the Razer Blade can do better. That’s especially true when it comes to games, as the Blade was designed to hold up to the standards set by its bigger desktop brethren. The Blade boasts an Intel Quad Core Processor, an NVIDIA GeForce graphics card, and 8GB of onboard memory—all of which work together to pump out pristine images at a lightning-fast frame rate to the 14” HD display. The Blade packs all that while also wearing the crown of the world’s thinnest gaming laptop at only 0.66” thick—with built-in stereo speakers and an HD webcam, to boot. It’s small enough to travel easy, so it’s the only laptop you need for work or play. A controller and/or gaming mouse are recommended accessories.
Starting at $1,800 at razerzone.com