Gadgets for gamers

Can you gear me now?

In this edition of our monthly Gadget column, we examine video game enhancement devices.

Gunnar Advanced Gaming Eyewear

Many gamers have been crippled by dry, stinging eyes, which is why Gunnar’s glasses claim of alleviating strain on the eyes seems like a back-of-the-comic-book scam. Funny thing is it’s not. Gunnar lenses use geometry, tint and a special coating to reduce glare and fatigue and increase contrast and sharpness on digital screens. All these technologies have flashy and incorrectly capitalized names that could amount to mumbo jumbo if not for the fact that they work. After wearing them during a five-hour Arkham City marathon, I didn’t feel like Joker just sprayed my eyes with his lapel flower. Available in a variety of frames, they’re comfortable enough to wear for hours but the amber-tinted lenses might cause a fashion faux pas outside the man cave. Unfortunately, while you won’t notice the slightly yellow tinge to everything as your dodging bullets and sneaking up on an enemy, once you relax during a cut scene you’ll wonder why Catwoman looks a little jaundiced. Starting at $79.

Sensei Pro Grade Laser Mouse

If a soldier’s gun misfires in the field, they may suffer. If your mouse mis-clicks during Team Deathmatch, you die … virtually, anyways. It’s just a game, but why take the chance? Steelseries’ Sensei mouse nicely walks the line between a highly specialized gaming mouse and a cheap, three-button thing you’d find at your grandparents’ house. A sleek size, it avoids the Hummer-esque qualities leftover from early-’90s joysticks: massive heaps of oddly shaped plastic with dozens of buttons. However, there is still a lot of room for customization as it features seven buttons and a scroll wheel and, through a downloadable engine, more functionality than the average gamer will require. In addition, it boasts a 32-bit ARM processor to keep up with your frantic clicks and pans. The software is nice, but it wreaked havoc with my low-tech keyboard. With plenty of features and a not-incredibly-insane price, it can please casual and hardcore gamers alike. Not convinced? Did we mention it lights up—what else do you want? $89.

Logitech Clearchat Stereo Headset

As the games pile up, the bank account suffers, so never underestimate value. Logitech is a go-to name for solid but not quite awe-inspiring hardware and this headset/microphone combo is no exception. When many gaming headsets creep close to $200, $25 is a steal, but remember you get what you pay for. Unlike some sets for this price, it has in-line volume controls so there’s no need to fumble with software while taking down a raid boss. The audio and mic quality are perfectly fine for barking out orders to squadmates in Battlefield 3 or yelling, “Don’t stand in the fire,” over Vent, but don’t expect Dolby surround sound. If you’re the type of person who demands top-quality headphones, chances are you already own them. For everyone else, these are well worth the price—think of all the games you can buy with that $175 you saved.