The best gaming gear for graduates

Kris Naudus
·Buyer's Guide Editor
·8-min read

Your proud graduate is out of school and no longer cooped up inside a tiny dorm room, so they might want to expand their gaming setup. While it’s still kind of difficult and a bit expensive to get them a PlayStation 5, a Xbox Series X/S or even a Nintendo Switch, you don’t have to spend hours refreshing retailers’ websites or spend hundreds to get them a good gaming gift. Why not start off small and upgrade some of their gaming accessories first? You can upscale any gaming collection with some choice accessories and titles, regardless of whether they prefer PC, console or even mobile gaming.

Corsair K70 RGB MK.2

Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 gaming keyboard.
Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 gaming keyboard.

Since your grad won’t be writing as many term papers (we hope), now you can get them a keyboard optimized for gaming instead of typing. Corsair has made a lot of our favorites, and the K70 hits that sweet spot in terms of features and price — gamers will get a sturdy deck to type on, responsive keys and some handy media buttons at the top to control their music. If you order straight from Corsair’s site you have a choice of key types, or you can save a few bucks by copping the MX Speed model (our favorite switch type) for $140 at Best Buy. And it’s still great for typing out papers and resumes.

Buy Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 at Best Buy - $140

Logitech G915 TKL

Logitech G917 TKL gaming keyboard shown in two color versions: grey/white and graphite/black.
Logitech G917 TKL gaming keyboard shown in two color versions: grey/white and graphite/black.

If your kid has moved back home or into a small apartment they might want to take their gaming accessories off the desk and onto a couch or bed. For that we recommend a compact wireless model like Logitech’s G915 TKL. Sure, it sacrifices a number pad on the right, but still has a lot in terms of flexibility with a sturdy design that can easily rest on a lap. The included receiver ensures a rock solid connection, and it stows away inside the G915 so it won’t get lost. The keyboard also works with Bluetooth, so this is a deck a young adult can stow away in their bag for working or gaming on the go.

Buy Logitech G915 TKL at Amazon - $230

Razer DeathAdder V2

The Razer DeathAdder V2 displayed on top of a futuristic, but worn industrial surface with the term V2 overlayed on it.
The Razer DeathAdder V2 displayed on top of a futuristic, but worn industrial surface with the term V2 overlayed on it.

Chances are graduates will want to spend some time catching up on all the games they didn’t have time to play in college, and for that they’ll probably want a gaming mouse that can handle a wide variety of genres. The newest version of Razer’s DeathAdder mouse is comfortable for many different hand sizes, the 20,000-dpi sensor can be adjusted on the fly and the buttons they’ll need for most games are there — all for a reasonable $70 price. Razer also sells a wireless Pro version, along with a mini version for folks with smaller palms.

Buy DeathAdder V2 at Amazon - $70

Logitech G305

The Logitech G305 displayed in four colors.
The Logitech G305 displayed in four colors.

The G305 is a solidly built mouse available in four different and highly snazzy colors so it can be integrated into a variety of stylish gaming setups. But this wireless accessory isn’t just about looks, thanks to its 12,000 dpi and 1ms report rate. The receiver stows inside the mouse for easy transportation, and it uses a single AA battery that can last up to nine months before needing a replacement. Pair this with Logitech’s other Lightspeed accessories like the G733 headset and G915 keyboard for a truly color-coordinated gaming rig.

Buy Logitech C305 at B&H Photo - $40

Logitech G733

The Logitech G733 gaming headphones displayed in four different color combinations.
The Logitech G733 gaming headphones displayed in four different color combinations.

Buy this stylish headset for its bright plastic colors and vivid lighting, but stay for a headset that’s easy to use and super comfortable in long gaming sessions. It fits well on larger heads while still resting snugly on smaller noggins thanks to the elastic headband, which can be swapped out with different patterns available through the Logitech website for $10 each. The company also sells pop filters for the mic in a variety of fun shapes. This really is one of the most gorgeous headsets you can buy right now, and it coordinates well with other products in Logitech’s lineup.

Buy Logitech G733 at Amazon - $130

SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless gaming headphones on a table bathed in bluish light from a monitor screen.
The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless gaming headphones on a table bathed in bluish light from a monitor screen.

You don’t have to be a hardcore PC gamer or even a PlayStation or Xbox fan to enjoy premium audio. Thanks to its included USB-C dongle, the Arctis 1 Wireless can work with the Nintendo Switch or Switch Lite, along with any modern Android phone. And yes, you can also plug it into a PlayStation 4 or 5, as well as any laptop with a USB-C port. (An Xbox dongle is sold separately.) This is quite a versatile headset for $100, without any tradeoffs in audio or mic quality.

Buy SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless at Amazon - $97

Logitech StreamCam

The Logitech StreamCam.
The Logitech StreamCam.

In this era of constant video chat and live-streaming, we’ve all found ourselves frequently switching between devices and formats — widescreen for your Zoom calls, portrait when on the phone — with varying video quality. Logitech’s StreamCam is built for both, swiveling from one video orientation to the other with ease. That way, your grad can use the same camera for YouTube clips as they’d use for Facebook and Instagram Live, saving both time and money for their budding career as an influencer.

Buy Logitech Streamcam at Amazon - $170

Blue Yeti Nano 

A Blue Yeti Nano microphone sitting outside next to a laptop.
A Blue Yeti Nano microphone sitting outside next to a laptop.

Headset mics have improved over the years, making them more than acceptable for video chat and the occasional podcast appearance. But if your kid wants to get more serious about content creation it’s best to invest in a USB mic for crystal clear audio. We’d recommend the full-sized or Pro Yeti models for full-time and professional streaming, but for those just starting out or doing it as a “hobby” side the Nano is an affordable way to dip a toe in the water.

Buy Yeti Nano at Amazon - $100

Logitech G333

A gamer sits in front of a computer wearing Logitech G333 earbuds.
A gamer sits in front of a computer wearing Logitech G333 earbuds.

Just because you’re on the go doesn’t mean you have to give up stellar gaming audio. Quite a few companies have started building earbuds specifically for mobile games, with stylish good looks and crystal clear sound. Logitech’s G333 is particularly appealing thanks to its low price and attractive color options. Sure, it’s not wireless, but when your giftee is playing through an intense round of Fortnite, they’ll appreciate audio that doesn’t drop out.

Buy Logitech G333 at Best Buy - $50

Otterbox Mobile Gaming Cases

The front and back of a phone which is encased on one of Otterbox's Mobile Gaming Cases.
The front and back of a phone which is encased on one of Otterbox's Mobile Gaming Cases.

Young adults spend a lot of money on a good phone to play games and snap photos with, so why not protect their investment with a solid case? But not just any case — these rugged black Otterbox models are antimicrobial and textured for grip, perfect for dealing with your greasy, sweaty hands. They have cases for a number of iPhone models as well as Samsung’s Galaxy S21+, so their premium flagship handset can stay looking fresh as the day they bought it.

Buy mobile gaming cases at Otterbox - $55

8BitDo Pro 2

Two hands hold an 8BitDo Pro 2 gaming controller over a laptop keyboard, while a video game is displayed on the screen.
Two hands hold an 8BitDo Pro 2 gaming controller over a laptop keyboard, while a video game is displayed on the screen.

Sometimes the standard controllers just don’t cut it, but finding good replacement gamepads can be expensive — unless you invest in an 8BitDo model. Not only does the new Pro 2 hit a rather affordable sweet spot under $50, but it can work with various platforms, including Switch, Android, Windows and macOS. It’s also highly customizable, allowing the user to map the buttons as they please and adjust the sensitivity of the thumbsticks and triggers. And, thanks to a variety of color schemes, you can choose the one that will go best with their gaming setup.

Buy 8Bitdo Pro 2 at Amazon - $50

Video games

An animated gif showing a series of four game stills on a TV screen.
An animated gif showing a series of four game stills on a TV screen.

Tetris Effect

With school behind them, graduates will want to take some time to kick back and relax, and what better than with this trippy installment of the well-known puzzle game? The colors, music and animation in Tetris Effect will take them to a transcendental place, while the increasing speed of the levels and new features like the “Zone” mode will keep things exciting. Your giftee can also give it a spin on PlayStation VR if they want to be fully immersed, while even Xbox users can join in on the Tetris Effect fun thanks to Connected’s new co-op and competitive modes.

Buy Tetris Effect at Amazon - $30

Stardew Valley

Just when your grad tires of all the hustle and bustle of keeping up with the latest Animal Crossing events, why not get them into a game that only moves forward when they open it up? Stardew Valley has plenty to do — farming, mining, animal husbandry and even dating (and marrying) your fellow villagers. But time only passes in Stardew Valley when they’re actually playing, so it’ll be patiently waiting for them even as their post-college life gets super busy.

Buy Stardew Valley at Amazon - $15

Overcooked! All You Can Eat

If your kid ever gets to reminiscing about group projects in school or at work, you can quickly bring them back down to earth with this cooperative cooking game that requires two to four players to work together in a kitchen to prepare meals. It’s frantic and there will be a lot of yelling… which actually might be good preparation for any future employment they might be considering.

Buy Overcooked! All You Can Eat at Amazon - $40

Just Dance 2021

With school behind them, it’s easy for some graduates to just become lumps on the couch, so why not encourage them to be a bit more active with Just Dance 2021 for Switch, Xbox or PlayStation. Each new edition always packs in the latest hit songs as well as some stalwart classics, and adults are sure to work up a sweat while playing. If they get tired of the built-in song list they can also sign up for Just Dance Unlimited, which grants access to almost the entire back catalog of Just Dance songs over its 12-year history.

Buy Just Dance 2021 at Amazon - $50

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