When it comes to hardware, there's honestly too much to choose from. Setting aside the options that are just flat-out junk, there's also a mess of gear out there that'll send you straight into catatonic sticker shock, loaded with features that may not even be beneficial for you, the gamer. For those of you who are looking for an easy upgrade or even a gift idea, we've compiled this list of what we think the best budget keyboard, mouse, headset, and controller are right now. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, that means Cyber Monday is right behind it. Be sure to check back for more upcoming hardware features highlighting the best in gaming hardware.
Sharkoon Skiller $29.99
-20 Additional Multimedia Keys
-Textured WASD keys (Included with key puller)
For the meager price of $29.99, the Sharkoon Skiller offers more than enough features to make it a worthwhile purchase for the gamer on a budget. The Skiller offers a wide array of multimedia keys, like many stock keyboards, but what makes it unique is it’s in-depth customization. Every key can be individually programmed with up to three different functions and timings ranging from internet, office, and media profiles. Add in ten user profiles, and you've got yourself a ton of options. Macros make everything easier. Need to spot heal the main tank while healing the rest of the raid in any given MMO? You can easily set the assigned macro to the key of your choice so you can perform your raid healer duties without missing a beat. The Skiller makes for an excellent upgrade for gamers looking for additional customization options over their existing stock keyboard.
*nKRO (n-key roll over): allowance for simultaneous keystrokes. Higher is better, maxing out at 104.
Razer Deathadder $59.99
-Available in Right and Left Handed Configurations
-5 Independently Programmable Buttons
-On-the-fly Sensitivity Adjustment
The Razer Deathadder is the tried and true staple of the Razer gaming mouse family. Although it's not chock full of dpi like more recent mice boast about, it doesn't mean that it's a slouch. There are many technical reasons why enthusiasts love this mouse so much. One of which is the accuracy and consistency of the actual sensor, which results in much more consistent mouse movements. Missing headshots or misclicking objects because your mouse isn't tracking quite right? If so, it's most likely because of inherent characteristics of the particular sensor in your mouse, which Razer gets right with the Deathadder. There's a reason why it's been in the Razer line for so long.
Tritton AX 180 Stereo Gaming Headset $69.99
-Separate Game and Voice Volume Controls
-Detachable, Flexible Mic
The Tritton AX 180 Stereo Gaming Headset is a over-ear closed back headset compatible with the PS3, 360, and PC. Depending on how high-end your home stereo setup is, using a headset will help you pinpoint directional cues from game sounds. Ever have issues understanding your teammates over loud game sounds? This'll solve that issue. The AX 180 also has an in-line volume controls that adjust voice and game sounds independently, allowing you to reduce game sound and increase voice sound or vice versa. The versatility of this headset alone makes it an outstanding value. It's an easy upgrade for any gamer on a budget.
Razer Onza Tournament Edition $49.99
-Available for 360 only
-Adjustable Resistance Analog Sticks
-Two Additional Fully Programmable Buttons
-Hyperesponse Action Buttons
The Razer Onza Tournament Edition is well worth the investment considering it only costs $10 more than a stock wired Microsoft controller. Have you ever wished that a certain button was in a different place, but couldn't change it because it would change every other button? The additional fully programmable buttons are the most noteworthy feature of this Onza. Instead of attempting to reach for the A button and right trigger simultaneously, you can map the crouch button to the programmable button (next to the right trigger), making it much easier to, say, drop to the prone position while shooting people in Black Ops II. Also, if your analog sticks feel too loose or too stiff, the Onza's adjustable sticks allow you to fine tune your controller exactly to your specifications.
A lot of hardware choices boil down to personal preference, which is highly subjective. There's definitely a lot to choose from and we couldn't list them all, at least for now. What are your favorite budget peripherals? Let us know in the comments below.
Don't forget to check out the 10 Tips for Holiday Shoppers & Black Friday 2012 Deals - A Gamers Guide to the Best Holiday Sales.