If you have a pre-teen chances are they have already had some level of exposure to gaming and likely already have some sort of a gaming console or maybe even a PC. If your thinking of adding to their gaming arsenal this Christmas then you probably don't want to spend huge amounts of money, considering they might decide they don't care about games any time. However these years are a good time to start letting your child try out some of the more entry level gaming gear to see if it sticks.
Recommendations – Best Christmas Gifts for Pre-Teen Years
Best Gaming Controller
Console Gaming Chair
Gaming Foldable Headset
Mini / Compact Console Controllers
Though kids are easily capable of using the average sized console controllers, they might find they have more control and an overall better game play experience when using a control that is sized more appropriately for their hands.
When it comes to compact controllers the PS4 is deeply lacking. Sony has the licensing locked up pretty tight and are not making many copies of the key. In fact there is actually not a single compact or mini PlayStation 4 controller currently on the market. However early this October Sony announced they have given official licensing to three companies who will begin producing the first compact controllers for the PS4. The bad news is they are not releasing the controllers until November or December of this year! It will be a tight squeeze, but with Amazon Prime you should be able to grab one of these just in time for Christmas.
Nacon Wired Compact Controller for PS4
Nacon is a pretty well known console control manufacturer and gained quite a bit of popularity with their Revolution Pro Controller for the PS4. They are now taking a shot at the compact controller. The Nacon Wired Compact Controller is able to pack the entire range of core controls found on the full sized PS4 control into a smaller package. It has a compact touch pad, a stereo jack for a headset, vibration motors, a 9 foot long cable, and an LED feature on the front which is capable of displaying in game information like your health status.
The line of Nacon's compact controllers is scheduled to launch in November and appears to come in various colors including; orange, purple, black, gray, and red as well as translucent covers with LED back lighting available in red, blue, or green. Unfortunately they have not released any details about potential pricing, but its presumable it will cost less than a full size, and certainly less than an official Dual Shock 4 from Sony.
@PLAY Wired Compact Controller
@Play is another well known manufacturer of gaming accessories. They have approached the compact control in a very similar, but equally cool way as Nacon. The @Play also features the core controls, a mini touch pad, a jack for a headset, vibration motors, and a 9 foot cable.
@Play's compact controller for the PS4 is slated to start sales in early December and will come in black, gray, blue, and red all with a two toned black center of the control. Unfortunately this controller too has no potential pricing listed yet, but the same assumptions can be made as with the Nacon.
HORI Wired Mini Gamepad
Hori is a somewhat known gaming accessory manufacturer based in Japan. They have taken a different approach than the other two and created a game pad rather than a controller. The design of the controller is clearly based on that of the old school consoles.
Keeping the host of core controls, the Hori Gamepad ditches the touch pad for a “touch pad button” that after pushing the user can simulate a range of touch gestures using the analog sticks. It does not have a stereo jack for headphones, but like the other compact controls also has 9 foot cable.
The Hori Wire Mini Gamepad is scheduled to release on November 6th in blue, red, and black and is available on pre-order for around 25 dollars.
Power A Wired Mini Console Controllers – Xbox One
Unlike the PS4 The Xbox One has range of options when it comes to compact or mini controllers. The Power A Wired Mini Console Controller has proven its worth, all while costing less than half the price of an Xbox One S controller.
It was designed with those who have smaller hands and children in mind, but maintains the same core button set as any Xbox controller does. It has dual rumble motors, impulse triggers, a 3.5mm audio jack for heads, and a 9.8 foot cable with an inline quick release in case of tripping accidents. It also features a micro textured rubberized backside that really helps keep a good grip on it.
Altogether the Power a Mini is a tried and true product that has proven be durable and tough. It is easily capable of standing up to pre-teen rage and comes in at a minuscule 25 dollar cost. That price is hard to argue with when your looking for something that your child is inevitably going to grow out of.
Gaming Desk Table Durable Workstation for Kids Room
If you've got a pre-teen who is ready to commit to being a serious gamer then its probably time you got them a desk. Whether they are playing consoles or PC giving them a place to do this will be nice for them and help you tidy up your living room! Still being under mom and dad's wing and quite probably having limited space. It's important to find a desk that doesn't take up too much room, without neglecting any of the functionality a desk should have. This is where the BHG gaming desk / workstation comes into play.
The BHG Gaming Desk is a desk that packs quite a big wallop into a small package. It features an easy assembly, using the provided manual, tools, and hardware. The structure of the desk is made from steel and architecturally designed to create a clean elegant look, while remaining very stable on both hardwood and carpet. It's total dimensions are 29 inches from the floor to the desk surface, 47 inches from left edge of desk surface to right, and 24inches from front of desk surface to back. It also comes with an included drank holder as well as a foot rest.
Altogether the BHG Gaming Desk does a lot to not only provide a good bit of space, but also make a room look like it has more space. There really is not any downsides to the desk other than it may not last forever, but your child is going to out grow it someday anyway. If your looking to get your gaming pre-teen out of the living room and hide them away in their rooms, this desk will be perfect for that. At a very reasonable 90 dollars this desk is a purchase your child will love, and your wallet wont hurt afterwards!
Flash Furniture High Back Executive Gaming-Racing Swivel Chair
So you have decided that buying a desk is great idea, or maybe your pre-teen already has one? Either way your child is going to need a chair to put in front of that desk. Though the office style desk chairs are a hugely over saturated market, there is not very many companies focusing on making these specifically for kids. The Flash Furniture High Back Swivel chair did not originally set out to be for kids, but a compact chair for small adults. However this chair is perfect for a pre-teen and will grow with them for some time.
The Flash Furniture High Back Executive Swivel Chair hosts a range of features which make it a great decision for your child. The high back design with the headrest built in helps relieve tension on the lower back and removes pressure and strain from the neck. It features a waterfall seat design that has coil springs built into the seat. The waterfall design alleviates pressure from the lower legs and helps promote circulation, while the coil springs provide ample plush comfort. The armrests are height adjustable as well as can swivel and are topped with a fairly soft rubbery foam coming together to help remove pressure from the shoulders and neck.
The soft back rest is very comfortable and features a built in lumbar support that allows you to adjust how much back support is provided to keep you comfortable over long periods. Underneath the seat there is a stand height adjustment lever with tilt lock as well as a tension adjustment that changes how much weight is required to lean it back. At the base of the chair there is a 5 point star that has nylon based castors which are heavy duty enough to last, but soft enough to not scratch hardwood. The Padded sections of the chair are all wrapped in a very soft, comfortable, and durable feeling faux-leather that is very easy to wipe down and clean. Finally the faux-leather comes in 6 different colors so your pre-teen can pick which color they like best.
When it comes to downsides there is very few to speak of with the Flash Furniture High Back Swivel Chair. One of which is the way the bolster was stitched isn't exactly optimal and overtime the seem will begin to split, this has no effect on the functionality or comfort of the chair though. Other than that the only downside to speak of, is that the assembly is a little more difficult than you would imagine.
As a whole this is a great gaming chair that will give your pre-teen gamer a high end feeling at a fairly affordable price. Your child is going to need a place to do their gaming. Why not get them a chair that not only looks cool but offers a range of important and useful features as well as being appropriately sized for their body. For a not so overwhelming price of 95 dollars this chair could have you gaming pre-teen feeling like a pro!
Cohesion XP 2.1 Gaming Chair with Audio
You have tried to set up a spot in your child's room so they can play their games there without taking up the family room. The only problem is your kid doesn't care and is dead set on the living room being their gaming area. If this sounds familiar then maybe it is time to get them a decent console gaming chair. At least then, they wont be eating bags of Doritos and slurping down soda on your nice couch. The Cohesion XP 2.1 Gaming Chair with Audio is the answer to your prayers wrapped up in a very affordable price.
The XP 2.1 is a fairly standard rocker style gaming chair. It comes equipped with two audio speakers build right into the headrest. It features a volume control as well as jacks for both audio in and out which means when your tired of hearing the sound you can make them slap some headphones on. The XP is well padded to prevent feeling the frame through the seat and is very comfortable for all ages up to the mid teens.
The padding is covered in a soft and durable black fabric with red stripes on the seams. Perhaps one of its more stand out features is the hinge that is placed about halfway up the back rest. This hinge allows for the chair to be folded up and easily stowed away which will do wonders to making your living room look less like a man cave and more like a living room again.
Much of the negative attributes to the XP 2.1 Gaming Chair is said to have are related to people who are just simply too big for the chair. There is very little to no padding on the edges of the chair, so a full sized adult or a wider than average person might find their legs and shoulders getting sore after extended use. The included cable to connect the audio of the chair to your TV is much too short. You will have to buy an aftermarket cable or your complaints to your child about sitting too close to the TV go right out the window.
Finally when unfolding the chair there is “mechanism” to “latch” the top and bottom half together properly. This “mechanism” is just a strip of Velcro that is supposed to be able to firmly hold the top and bottom together. Unfortunately this doesn't work at all. It does not effect the chair when it is use, but when trying to pick up and move the chair around it feels like your going to rip the two pieces apart.
All in all the Cohesion XP 2.1 Gaming Chair with Audio is a great deal. No your not going to be able to enjoy it with your child, but as a chair specifically for them it has everything it needs. Aside from a short cable and trouble picking it up there really is nothing to complain about. As long as the user of the chair is actually a child then only real concern is going to be how long they have sat in front of the TV. For a mere 52 dollars you can pick this bad boy up and make your pre-teen's Christmas!
Headphones serve a very important role to both your gamer and you. When playing games headphones are always going to give the user better directional sound input. This means they will have the edge of knowing when someone is running up behind them. When it comes to the benefits you will reap, its fairly simple. You will have the ability to tell your pre-teen to put their headphones on so you do not have to hear the sounds of a war happening in your house all day.
There are essentially two categories of headphones; wired and wireless. Its important to identify which one your pre-teen needs. Thought wireless Gaming headphones are awesome and will help reduce clutter they are going to end up costing you a bit more than their wired counterpart. However given the circumstances of your pre-teen's gaming area wireless might be a more ideal way to go. If your child is playing a huge TV that allows them to sit over 10 feet away then wireless makes more sense.
Sades SA-708 Zombie Version Stereo Gaming Headset
Sades has really been gaining some traction over the last few years. They were once relatively unheard of now they are producing some pretty good quality headphones at a prices that have rocked the market. If your looking for a quality product at a extremely low price Sades is there to fill the void, and their SA-708 Gaming Headset is no exception.
The Sades SA-708 Zombie Version Stereo Gaming Headset is a great choice if you have decided wired is the way to go with your Christmas gift to your pre-teen this year. They are sized perfectly for a growing pre-teen and will grow with them, at least for a couple of years. They interface with two standard 3.5 mm aux jack one for the audio and the other for a the microphone. The microphone is able to fold up to get it out of the way in case its not needed. The ear cups as well as the headband are padded with a very soft foam and lined with a faux-leather that feels pretty durable.
The ear cups are lined with a soft mesh material that helps reduce soreness created by resting on the speaker housing. Housed inside the ear cups is a set of Sades' standard 40 mm Hi-Fi drivers, which are able to produce a well rounded EQ for gaming. Having very clean and crisp mids and highs with a under pronounced bass these are not going to be great headphones for media, but for gaming they are very perfect. The almost 7 and a half foot long cord provides more than enough length for those gaming at a desk, and a fairly reasonable length for console gaming as well. The cord has an in line controller that features both a volume control and mute button for the mic.
As for the cons, there has to be a few at this price. One such con is that though the headphones are direct plug and play for both the PC and the PS4, they will require an additional (not included) adapter for the Xbox One. The build quality of the SA-708's is a bit mediocre; they feel fairly durable, but they might not be around for more than a couple of years. Though the audio quality is pretty good for the price, if your looking to blow ears out these wont do it.
When trying to press them to exceedingly high volumes the drivers will begin to crack and distort sounds. Honestly this is more than likely a bonus for you, knowing your pre-teen isn't capable of turning the volume too loud, but they might disagree. Finally the microphone is sub par in sound quality. No its not a total piece of garbage that is going to make communication harder, but it is a bit underwhelming though there had to be corners cut somewhere for the headset to cost as little as it does.
In the end is pretty hard to argue with a 15 dollar pair of headphones. These are perfect for you and your child because your not dropping a huge amount of cash and they are getting to test the waters and try some truly entry level gaming gear. That said, at the the SA-708's price they do offer quite a bit of good stuff. If your looking into picking up some headphones for your pre-teen the Christmas, don't look any further. These will cover all their needs and will be extremely gentle on your finances.
Mixcder ShareMe 7 Over Ear Headphones Bluetooth V4.1 Wireless Foldable Headsets
Mixcder is a pretty known company, but they have produced a pair of wireless headphones designed specifically for children. If you have opted to get your pre-teen some wireless headphones this Christmas the ShareMe 7 headphones manage to pack quite a range of favorable features into an adorable kid sized package.
The Mixcder ShareMe 7 Over Ear headphones were actually never intended to be used by gamers, but they are quite capable of doing so! The ShareMe 7's interface with devices via Bluetooth 4.1 which offers a 10 meter transmission distance, but also have the ability to plug in the included cable to ear cup and allows them to function as a normal pair of wired headphones. They feature on ear controls consisting of; Power on or off, next track, and previous track.
The next and previous track buttons also double as volume up and down. This same ear cup features the microphone which is housed inside the headphones so there is no dongle hanging off of them. The opposite ear cup houses the charging port as well as an LED charge indicator. The ear cups are padded in a very plush foam and encased in a fuax-leather that is also very soft and would be easily cleaned with a damp rag. Inside the ear cups the two 40 mm dynamic drivers are housed. They are capable of producing some exceedingly good sound quality with some very deep bass tones, unfortunately the bass is actually a little much for gaming is able to overpower the highs and mids.
This issue will require some tinkering with some EQ software, but would be easy enough to do so. The batteries milliamp hours are not listed, but they boast an impressive 20 hours of use between charges. The ShareMe 7's fold up for easy packing and storage. Finally they have a really cool feature under the same name sake as the company; ShareMe. The ShareMe feature allows two or more people using headphones equipped with the ShareMe feature to wirelessly listen to the same thing at the same time, which is a great feature for those with more than 1 child.
As for negatives. The ShareMe 7 Over Ear Headphones' seem to reside solely with quality control. There are reports of losing sound in one or both ears. The charging port is poorly wired and is known to stop working rendering the wireless functionality of the headphones useless. However all of this is easily over come with a quick RMA; +points for Amazon! The only real complaint that has to do with the quality of a component used rather than the lack of quality control is the microphone. The microphone works, and that is about the best thing you can say about it. When using it people have reported being told they sound far away, or as if they were talking through a cardboard tube.
Altogether the ShareMe 7's make an awesome pair of wireless headphone. The sound quality alone is enough to get these, and it will serve for both media and gaming. The cons though sounding frustrating will just about always amount to you sending these back to Amazon and having a new pair sent to you. Aside from the possibility of needing to buy a stand alone mic with the headphones for your pre-teen these have everything a young gamer could ask for. At a mere 33 dollars it shouldn't be a very difficult choice. If your pre-teen is in need some some decent wireless headphones and you are in need of saving money than these headphones will cover both of you!
ROCCAT Kova - Pure Performance Gaming Mouse
If you have a pre-teen gamer on your hands, then those cheapy little mice you can pick up from best buy for 5 dollars are probably not cutting it. Perhaps it is time to get them a nice gaming mouse. Though in those pre-teen years a child can almost certainly make use of a normal sized gaming mouse, like the console controllers they are going to get more control and better gaming experience with a mouse that is fitting properly to their hand. This is where the ROCCAT Kova – Pure Performance Gaming Mouse comes in!
The ROCCAT Kova has long been a stand by for female gamers or those who have smaller than average hands. It offers a wide range of useful features that will help improve your child's game play drastically. The Kova's optical sensor operates a native 3500 DPI (plenty for gaming), but can be adjusted up to as high as 7000 DPI. The mouse features an ambidextrous shape, making this mouse an option for both left and right handed users.
The Kova also features a light strip in between the clam shell that can be programmed in 16.8 million different color layouts which your pre-teen is going to find pretty cool. Included with the Kova is the ROCCAT Swarm Driver which have some very useful customization features to help find the sweet spot with it. With the Swarm software you also have the option of downloading a cellphone app that allows you to set up some macros on your phone as well as change the settings on the mouse.
The downsides to the Kova are few and far between. First and more importantly the left and right mouse buttons are somewhat stiff and hard to push, though this really isn't an issue when your slamming buttons in the middle of a gun fight. The materials used to construct the mouse result in a somewhat low quality feel to them, however this mouse house proven for years that it will stand up to a beating. Finally the mouse is a bit heavier than you would expect, this is not necessarily a downside as many people prefer a heavier mouse for its momentum when sliding across the pad. It is also worth mentioning that this mouse is nowhere near as heavy as something like a G502 with even half of its optional weights put in.
In summation the ROCCAT Kova would make a great gaming mouse for a pre-teen. Its small form factor will do a lot to help your kid get a grip on gaming, literally. This mouse has been a stand by of many professional gamers over the years, and has proven its worth. If you are looking to get you child an appropriately sized, yet still full featured gaming mouse then this is a great option. A mouse is pretty much the most important piece of gaming equipment and no cost should be spared if your pre-teen is serious about gaming. However the Kova still comes in at a price point that wont hurt too much, and its cost of 45 dollars seems meek compared to the cost of a mouse from one of big boys like Logitech.
Gaming Mechanical Keyboard Led Backlit - Hcman USB Wired
Keyboards don't really get smaller in terms of size of the keys. There is mini key pads, but those are not suitable for gaming. The only option to downsize a keyboard comes down to whether or not there is a number pad on the side. Though this doesn't seem like it would make a big difference, if your arms were shorter you might be thinking differently. The extra 4 or 5 inches that are saved will allow you pre-teen to move the mouse closer to their other hand and not be so spread out.
This little bit of space can make a huge difference in the control your pre-teen has of their movements in game and ultimately will add to their gaming experience. Not to mention that when it comes to gaming keyboards, mechanical is the way to go. Unfortunately most mechanical keyboards are either extremely expensive or are pieces of garbage. However there is some good options out there that will make your pre-teen feel like they have a high end product. The Hcman USB Wired Mechanical Keyboard is one of those, and your child never even has to know It only cost you 28 dollars!
The Hcman Mechanical Gaming Keyboard manages to bring some pretty high end feeling features in at a super reasonable price. The Hcman comes with blue mechanical switches from CK switches. Though CK switches doesn't have quite the reputation a company like Cherry has, they have earned themselves some notoriety for producing some pretty good switches at a much more affordable price than most of their competitors.
The blue switches require a medium amount of force to actuate, they are rated for 50 million cycles, and have a very satisfying audial and tactile response when pressed. Like what was said above the “tenkeyless” layout (or the lack of a number pad) helps to save space and bring the mouse closer to the keyboard which will improve your pre-teen's accuracy and comfort during game play. The keyboard boasts a anti-ghosting feature; essentially meaning that each key is controlled independently of the others allowing for an accurate and lag free response when pressing multiple keys at once. The top shell of the keyboard is aluminum and the base has rubber feet together they create a very solid and durable feeling keyboard when in use.
The cable of the keyboard is a reasonably sized 4.5 feet which may be a little short for some setups, but it is braided which keeps it from tangling and makes it more durable in the long run. It comes with a key puller that allows you to replace key caps (Hcman has some metal key caps available that are much nicer; replacing w, a, s, d, shift, and space is recommended). Lastly is features a plug and play no drivers required 6 color back lighting with 9 different illumination modes. The keyboard allows for adjustment of brightness and a couple different pulsing effects, but unfortunately the colors are fixed with orange for the f keys, green for the number row, purple for the row under that, blue, and then orange for the following rows.
For such a low price it is unavoidable that there will be some negatives to the product. Fortunately the downsides are fairly minor and for the most part will not actually effect the use of the keyboard in game. First up and most obvious is that the key colors can not be changed, though its not a huge deal it is worth mentioning as back lighting is one of the main selling points of most high end mechanical keyboards. The key caps of the Hcman Mechanical Keyboard are also somewhat of a weak point.
The plastic doesn't feel overwhelmingly durable, the font is painted on and will undoubtedly wear off within a few months, and some of the keys don't allow light to shine through them. The keys are also extremely loud this will more than likely not bother your child one bit, but could potentially drive you nuts. If your pre-teen doesn't have a gaming area in their own room than this keyboard might be too clicky for you to put up with. Finally there are some reports of 1 or 2 keys losing their back lighting fairly quickly after purchase; in many of these cases the seller has promptly replaced the keyboard.
When you really beak it down, this keyboard is a steal. It offers legit mechanical switches which alone is enough to make it a good keyboard, but Hcman took it a step further and added some additional features that make this keyboard feel like it should cost at least double the price. If your looking into buying your pre-teen a nice keyboard, mechanical is the way to go and this Hcman Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is one that will out perform just about every other mechanical keyboard in its price range. This Christmas your game child will love receiving what is by all account a very nice gaming keyboard, likewise you will love how happy you made them for less than 30 dollars.