Gaming on an iOS device has its perks over traditional handhelds like the GameBoy and the PS Vita, namely a much better display and greater performance. But it lacks tactile buttons and often enough that makes all the difference. The Gamevice Controller equips your device with what you’ve been missing, adding dual joysticks, a D pad, four A/B/Z/Y buttons, triggers on either side, plus bumpers, basically turning it into a Nintendo Switch of sorts. It clips on to either side of an iPhone 7, iPad Mini, or iPad Pro, plugging into the Lightning port while adding a pass-through Lightning port on the outside in case you’ll need to charge while you play, not to mention a headphone jack that iPhone 7 users will appreciate. It’s also lighter than the previous generation Gamevice since the battery has been removed, instead sipping a tiny amount of power from the Lightning port.
Learn more at Gamevice – $100
Nintendo’s next generation console — the Nintendo Switch — is finally here, and it’s trying its hand at being both a gaming handheld and a dedicated television-connected console. The core device is more tablet than set top box but you wouldn’t know that until removing it from its television stand, with two Joy-Con controllers that convert from the console’s wireless controller to halves that slide onto either side of the tablet for on-the-go gaming. It won’t get Game Boy-like longevity when used as a standalone portable but at up to six hours it’s battery life is still respectable, especially considering its 6.2-inch multitouch 1280×720 display. The Switch is also powered by Nvidia Tegra hardware, works with a more traditional Switch Pro controller (also wirelessly, like the smaller Joy-Cons) and has a pop-out kickstand to prop it up if you’re multiplayer gaming on the go. And with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild announced as a launch title, better take some time off when it hits stores on March 3rd.
Learn more and preorder at Nintendo – $300
The NES Classic is the hottest gamer gift this holiday season. Problem is Nintendo cursed its controllers with cables one-third the length of the original’s, which unsurprisingly complicates gaming on the device. 8Bitdo’s NES Classic Retro Receiver addresses the issue by cutting the cord entirely and letting you use one of a myriad of wireless controllers, with one NES30 controller included. Setup is as simple as plugging it in and pairing a controller to it. It’ll game lag-free, though for multiplayer you’ll need several Retro Receivers since the console itself can’t receive two controller inputs through one controller port.
Pick one up at Amazon – $40
Missed the boat the first time around due to something trivial like not yet being born the year it was released? Now’s your chance since the Sega Genesis is back in production, albeit for a limited release. Officially licensed by Sega and produced by TecToy, the 16-bit console looks very similar to the original, still plays all the same games, and includes one controller. There’s no HDMI port so you’ll still need to plug it in via old school RCA cables but it does feature a slot for an SD card to play the 22 included games so that you won’t need to go hunting for game cartridges before you can fire this baby up.
Find it at TecToy [Brazilian site] – roughly $120
Gaming on a laptop? You’d better believe it. Razer’s Blade Pro handily outdoes all portable computers before it. This notebook is decked out with a quad-core Intel Core i7, two identical SSDs in RAID 0 (from 256GB each to 1TB each), and 32GB of DDR4 RAM, for starters. Importantly, Razer managed to squeeze in a desktop-class Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU, which supplies ample graphics power to play the latest titles on ultra-high and at 4K resolution on an external display or on its own IGZO LED-backlit 17.3-inch multitouch display which, at 3840×2160, is just a few horizontal pixels short of being labeled 4K itself. It also boasts plenty of other braggart-worthy features, including a tactile low-profile backlit mechanical keyboard that feels as satisfyingly clicky as desktop-sized ones, a spacious glass trackpad with a scroll wheel up top, and a 0.88-inch thin CNC aluminum unibody chassis that somehow contains all of the above. Even its power adapter is fairly slim, especially considering it’s 250W.
Learn more at Razer – $3,700+
We don’t have a 4K TV just yet, but we don’t need one to appreciate the shame of playing 1080p games on such a capable display — and worse, having to wait until the next generation consoles to do so. But if you do have one, the PlayStation 4 Pro is the answer. While it unfortunately won’t play 4K Blu-ray disks (normal Blu-ray works) it will support sharp 4K gaming as well as 4K streaming. All PS4 games are compatible regardless of whether they’re PS4 Pro Enhanced, and many older games (retroactively applied by developer-dispatched updates) will benefit of some form of enhanced visuals, resolution increases, or better frame rates, several of which are noticeable even without a 4K television. And you can get one way before Christmas.
Arriving November 10th. Preorder at Amazon – $400
Playstation Now lets you stream PS3 games — but up until now you’ve needed to own a modern and pricy Sony console. Playstation Now For PC does away with all that extra hardware, instead letting you use your computer to play. You’ll need a compatible Windows PC with some half decent specs as well as fairly fast internet (5Mbps+) and a DualShock 4 controller that can either plug in via a USB mini cable or be used wirelessly with a DualShock 4 USB Wireless Adapter — but that’s it. It makes us wonder if dedicated gaming console’s days are numbered.
Finding an original NES is rare. One that still works flawlessly, a little rarer. But if your primary goal is to play the classics without fiddling around with and blowing dust out of fickle cartridges, the Nintendo NES Classic Edition is the plain logical choice. Styled like the original but smaller, this system features modern amenities like HDMI and mid-game suspend points (to save your game and continue later), and still works with up to two of the same NES Classic Controllers as the original console, with one included in the box. No cartridges necessary either since it comes with plenty of games in memory, including Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 1 through 3, Metroid, The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, and 23 more classics.
Arriving November 11th. Learn more at Nintendo – $60