The holiday season is fast approaching and maybe, just maybe, if you’re lucky, you might snag a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X for yourself or a loved one after two years of waiting. As we all know, however, no console is complete without some bomb accessories.Even if you get one of these $500 consoles and buy some $60 to $70 games, you may want to set aside a little more cash for various doo-dads and dongles that make console gaming easier. Everything from headsets to keyboards and rechargeable batteries will save you time and, in some cases, money in the long run if you invest in them early enough.If you or someone else is getting a PS5 or Xbox Series X this holiday season, these are the accessories you seriously need to take a look at.
Up your controller game
images-1.fill_.size_2000x1212.v1667230993 Both consoles obviously come with a standard controller, and both of those controllers are great. But you can do better than “great.” It’s time to become elite with the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2, which retails at $180.This is an official Microsoft product that looks a lot like the regular Xbox Series X controller, but offers so much more. Individual parts like thumbsticks can be swapped out for more comfortable versions depending on your tastes, and four customizable paddle buttons on the back can take your game to the next level. You can adjust trigger tension, remap buttons, and save your preferences to a series of controller profiles. Yes, there is a PlayStation version of this controller too, though you’ll need to wait a while before it’s in your hands. The DualSense Edge is an official Sony product with many of the same features, like controller profiles and swappable parts, but it doesn’t launch until Jan. 26. That said, you can always pre-order it for $200 and call that a gift.
For the trash talker in your life
images-2.fill_.size_2000x1475.v1667230993 Voice chatting with the homies is a big part of modern gaming. After all, what’s the point of hanging out in Fortnite’s version of the metaverse without being able to talk to anyone? To do that, you’ll need a quality headset, and there’s no shortage of those on the market.For PS5, I’ve been using the official $100 Sony Pulse 3D wireless headset since the console launched and I have no complaints. You just plug a USB dongle into the console, turn it on, and everything works smoothly. It’s comfortable, the sound quality is solid, and it has a built-in mic for coordinating with teammates. Not only is it a quality product, but it’s relatively affordable, too. There’s also an official Xbox wireless headset for the same price, though I haven’t used it so I can’t personally vouch for it. Reviews are solid, however, and you just can’t beat the convenience of voice chatting without dealing with wires.
Bonus: For the active listener in your life
images-6.fill_.size_2000x2000.v1668015694 Whether you’re a newbie or a pro, having a reliable headset can really enhance your gaming experience. The ASTRO Gaming A10 Gaming Headset has an integrated unidirectional boom microphone that allows you to communicate clearly, and the flip-to-mute functionality will spare your teammates from hearing any convos with your roommates. The 32mm dynamic drivers let you hear your gaming environment with clarity and precision.
Because 1TB isn’t enough
Both the Xbox Series X and PS5 come with 1TB of onboard storage, which sounds like a lot until you install three big games and suddenly find half your storage is already eaten up. Both consoles support expandable storage in slightly different ways, but both of them have one thing in common: You gotta break out some cash.We’ll start with Xbox, which is the easier of the two, though not necessarily cheaper. Seagate makes an expansion card that fits neatly into a little slot on the Series X console itself, so installation is not a problem. The issue here is that it’s $140 for just 512GB of extra storage, $220 for 1TB, and $400 for 2TB. That’s the price of convenience, I guess.PlayStation 5 storage expansion is a bit more complicated. You need a special type of external solid state drive (or SSD) with an “M.2” designation. Our friends at IGN have a handy list of compatible SSDs (IGN is owned by Mashable’s publisher, Ziff Davis), like the 1TB Crucial P5 Plus for $160. Once you have the device in hand, Sony’s website has a tutorial for how to add the storage to the PS5, a process that involves unscrewing a plate on the back of the console with a Phillips head screwdriver. It’s not that demanding, but it’s not as easy as just slotting a card into the console.
images-3.fill_.size_2000x1174.v1667230993 The default PS5 controller charges via USB-C because it’s the year 2022 and that just makes sense. Unfortunately, Xbox hasn’t yet caught up with the times and the regular Series X controller is still powered by AA batteries. No, I’m not joking.There’s a quick fix for this, thankfully. Microsoft sells a $25 rechargeable battery (via USB-C). Slot that into the battery hole and you’ll never have to buy AAs again. There isn’t much more to say about this one. It’s just that simple.
Final Fantasy XIV hive rise up
images-4.fill_.size_2000x1125.v1667230993 It’s not super common, but some console games offer keyboard and mouse support, usually for text chat. Final Fantasy XIV, one of my very favorite video games (and sadly not available on Xbox yet), is one of them. If you play that or anything else with text chat and want to communicate with friends more easily, there are some console-compatible keyboards out there.Budget-minded customers who don’t necessarily need a mouse with the keyboard can opt for the Logitech G613, which reviews indicate works with both PS5 and Series X. It’s available on Amazon for just $73, refurbished. If you want something more flashy that includes a mouse, the Razer Turret is also said to work with both consoles and rings up a price of $250. Buying a new gaming console always comes with the hidden costs of accessories, but your life will be improved immensely by some of these devices. Seriously, if nothing else, you need the rechargeable controller battery for Xbox. Buy that and you’ll thank me later.