9to5Toys Gift Guide: Patrick’s must-have gaming essentials

If you’re shopping for a gamer this Christmas, finding the perfect accessory for them is never easy. Some products are system-specific, others just aren’t the quality that we’d want or expect. Let’s take a look at several options that you could pick up as gifts for gamers in your life, from Xbox to PlayStation, Switch, and even cross platform. Keep reading to find all of my favorite gaming gifts you can buy this holiday season.


Xbox One Elite — $150

This is my absolute favorite controller for gaming. I wish I could use it on every system. The Elite Controller features joysticks that are changeable in height or from concave to convex, and that’s probably my favorite part. You can also flip the triggers from a long pull to a short pull, which is good for going between games. I use this feature when going from Forza, where I want a long pull for more accurate acceleration to something like Call of Duty where I want a shorter, crisp pull when sniping.

The Xbox One Elite controller is heavier than a normal Xbox controller and feels more premium too. For the hardcore players, the underside of the Elite Controller has four paddles that can be customized to any button you’d like. This allows you to hit things like “X” for reloading or “B” for crouch in a game like Call of Duty or Destiny without taking your finger off of the joysticks, allowing for faster reaction times.

SCUF Vantage for PS4 — $170+

SCUF is the go-to for higher-end PlayStation 4 controllers. Sadly, Sony doesn’t offer a first-party option like Microsoft does for a “professional” controller. The Vantage offers many of the same features of the Elite Controller from above. SCUF built the Vantage to be the “go to” controller for PlayStation 4 players, and it’s a great option.

The biggest change from a normal PlayStation 4 controller to the SCUF Vantage is that SCUF built its stick layout to mimic Xbox. That’s right, the Vantage offers a joystick at the bottom right and top left, not both at the bottom center like PlayStation has done for years.

You’ll find the same buttons on the bottom like the Elite Controller, plus the rear triggers can also be changed from a long pull to a short pull easily for different genres. You can also change the joysticks out like the Elite Controller, from short to tall, concave to convex, and any mix in-between.

Now, one area that the Vantage differs from the Elite Controller is how it handles volume control (when used in wired mode). There’s a bar at the bottom of the controller which allows you to raise and lower the volume when gaming. This is great as it allows you to quickly hear better or lower the volume, without having to dive through menus.

Nintendo Pro Controller for Switch — $60

The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is a must-have for any Switch gamer. There are a few different variations here, some wired, and then Nintendo’s official wireless option. I have the wireless model because I hate being tied to my console when gaming, but any Pro Controller will work.

This gives you more of a standard controller layout for games on the Switch, and can be more comfortable for lengthy sessions than the Joy-Cons in a grip.

KontrolFreek — $15+

KontrolFreek is a personal favorite of mine. When I’m not using an Elite Controller or Vantage, I’m using KontrolFreek. I have these on all of my secondary controllers for when company comes over and it’s a must, as it gives me similar results to the Elite Controller or Vantage at a fraction of the cost.

The reason I like using taller joysticks is it gives me more precise movements. The taller joystick acts as a larger lever, making it easier to make precise movements in games like Skyrim or Black Ops 4.

KontrolFreek is available on all platforms and is generally only around $15-$20. Plus, if you use the code 9to5toys, you’ll save 10% at checkout!


Nyko Modular Charge Station S — $30

My first choice for Xbox would be the PowerA Complete Power Station, but sadly it’s not available directly from Amazon anymore. Third-parties still sell it for around $40, which was its previous going rate, but if you’re all about that Amazon Prime, we’ve got other options that are just as good!

The Nyko Modular Charge Station S is a dual controller docking station that’s also compatible with the Xbox One Elite Controller, which is a unique requirement for charging stations. This kit comes with two controllers and is built to sit on top of an Xbox One S, though it’ll work with the One X as well. It piggy backs off of the USB port in the rear of your Xbox, so you don’t have to run separate power cables to your charger and can have a cleaner gaming station.

PowerA Complete Power Station for PlayStation 4 — $40

This power station is perfect for the PlayStation as it uses the ports on the bottom instead of the finicky microUSB that’s located on the back. It’s quite simple to keep your controllers topped off, as once you dock them it’s just a quick press down and they begin charging. Plus, the hook off the back for headphones makes keeping your wireless cans powered, as well. There’s a convenient USB port located on the side of the charger so you can plug in a cable to keep your headphones powered and ready for your next gaming session.

PowerA Joy Con & Pro Controller Charging Dock — $15

If you’ve got a set of Joy-Cons on your Switch and a spare set to keep powered, this is a great option. It goes right along with the Pro Controller from above, as well, since it can keep that charged. It works great and is powered off of a USB cable, making it super simple to keep everything charged. I have a spare set of Joy-Cons in my charging dock and a set on my Switch, normally, so that way I’m always ready should a battle commence.


LucidSound LS35X for Xbox One — $180

This is my most recent purchase for gaming, and I love them. Though there are some times where the audio cuts out on my unit, that’s my only “issue” (and it doesn’t happen that often). The audio quality is great, and they are super comfortable. The ear cups fit well and don’t sweat, plus the mic is easy to remove if you don’t plan on talking to anyone when you game.

The pairing is really what’s awesome with the LS35X’s. They are built to use the Xbox One’s built-in wireless protocol so it’s a one-click pair just like a controller. From there, it’s instant pairing when you boot the Xbox up. You can also use them with PlayStation, Switch, and even your phone through the included 3.5mm headphone cable, meaning you’re not tied to a single system with these headphones.

SteelSeries Arctis 7 for PlayStation 4 — $129

The Arctis 7, on the other hand, is built to be used with the PlayStation 4. There’s a USB adapter that plugs into the front of your PS4, and allows wireless use of the Arctis 7. The fit is great, though not quite as comfortable as the above LucidSound. The mic is also great quality and I’ve never had any issues when gaming for hours on them.

If you own other systems, there’s also a proprietary cable used to plug into a 3.5mm jack on your Xbox One controller, Switch, or even phone.

HyperX Cloud Stinger — $50

The HyperX Cloud Stinger is a wired option for those who would rather save some cash and don’t mind a few extra cables. HyperX is one of the best companies around for headsets and is constantly a best-seller with many of its products.

The Cloud Stinger offers a microphone that mutes depending on its position, and offers the company’s signature memory foam ear cups for hours of comfort.

Other 9to5Toys Gift Guides:

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