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Budget gaming hardware - The best headsets, keyboards, mice, and controllers on the cheap

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When it comes to hardware, there's honestly too much to choose from. Setting aside the options that are just flat-out junk, there's also a mess of gear out there that'll send you straight into catatonic sticker shock, loaded with features that may not even be beneficial for you, the gamer. For those of you who are looking for an easy upgrade or even a gift idea, we've compiled this list of what we think the best budget keyboard, mouse, headset, and controller are right now. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, that means Cyber Monday is right behind it. Be sure to check back for more upcoming hardware features highlighting the best in gaming hardware.

Keyboard

Sharkoon Skiller $29.99
Notable Features
-18-KRO*
-20 Additional Multimedia Keys
-Customization Software
-Textured WASD keys (Included with key puller)

For the meager price of $29.99, the Sharkoon Skiller offers more than enough features to make it a worthwhile purchase for the gamer on a budget. The Skiller offers a wide array of multimedia keys, like many stock keyboards, but what makes it unique is it’s in-depth customization. Every key can be individually programmed with up to three different functions and timings ranging from internet, office, and media profiles. Add in ten user profiles, and you've got yourself a ton of options. Macros make everything easier. Need to spot heal the main tank while healing the rest of the raid in any given MMO? You can easily set the assigned macro to the key of your choice so you can perform your raid healer duties without missing a beat. The Skiller makes for an excellent upgrade for gamers looking for additional customization options over their existing stock keyboard. 
*nKRO (n-key roll over): allowance for simultaneous keystrokes. Higher is better, maxing out at 104.

Mouse

Razer Deathadder $59.99
Notable Features
-Available in Right and Left Handed Configurations
-3500 dpi
-5 Independently Programmable Buttons
-On-the-fly Sensitivity Adjustment

The Razer Deathadder is the tried and true staple of the Razer gaming mouse family. Although it's not chock full of dpi like more recent mice boast about, it doesn't mean that it's a slouch. There are many technical reasons why enthusiasts love this mouse so much. One of which is the accuracy and consistency of the actual sensor, which results in much more consistent mouse movements. Missing headshots or misclicking objects because your mouse isn't tracking quite right? If so, it's most likely because of inherent characteristics of the particular sensor in your mouse, which Razer gets right with the Deathadder. There's a reason why it's been in the Razer line for so long.

Headset

Tritton AX 180 Stereo Gaming Headset $69.99
Notable Features
-PS3/360/PC Compatible
-Separate Game and Voice Volume Controls
-Voice Monitoring
-Detachable, Flexible Mic

The Tritton AX 180 Stereo Gaming Headset is a over-ear closed back headset compatible with the PS3, 360, and PC. Depending on how high-end your home stereo setup is, using a headset will help you pinpoint directional cues from game sounds. Ever have issues understanding your teammates over loud game sounds? This'll solve that issue. The AX 180 also has an in-line volume controls that adjust voice and game sounds independently, allowing you to reduce game sound and increase voice sound or vice versa. The versatility of this headset alone makes it an outstanding value. It's an easy upgrade for any gamer on a budget.

Gamepad

Razer Onza Tournament Edition $49.99
Notable Features
-Available for 360 only
-Adjustable Resistance Analog Sticks
-Two Additional Fully Programmable Buttons
-Precision D-Pad
-Hyperesponse Action Buttons

The Razer Onza Tournament Edition is well worth the investment considering it only costs $10 more than a stock wired Microsoft controller. Have you ever wished that a certain button was in a different place, but couldn't change it because it would change every other button? The additional fully programmable buttons are the most noteworthy feature of this Onza. Instead of attempting to reach for the A button and right trigger simultaneously, you can map the crouch button to the programmable button (next to the right trigger), making it much easier to, say, drop to the prone position while shooting people in Black Ops II. Also, if your analog sticks feel too loose or too stiff, the Onza's adjustable sticks allow you to fine tune your controller exactly to your specifications.

A lot of hardware choices boil down to personal preference, which is highly subjective. There's definitely a lot to choose from and we couldn't list them all, at least for now. What are your favorite budget peripherals? Let us know in the comments below.

Don't forget to check out the 10 Tips for Holiday Shoppers & Black Friday 2012 Deals - A Gamers Guide to the Best Holiday Sales.

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12 comments

  • KiMBa161 - November 15, 2012 12:29 p.m.

    Sweet guide GamesRadarBrianKim. Have my eye on the Razer Onza for Halo action.
  • sentinel7 - November 15, 2012 12:18 p.m.

    nice try Razer.
  • SweetTeeth - November 15, 2012 11:38 a.m.

    The more comments you make, the more I want to throw my "copmuter" out of the window.
  • tehtimeisnow - November 15, 2012 2:40 a.m.

    such as waist of money u can just by a ipad insted cuz computer gameing is dead and ipad is superier and ipad comes with evertying u will ever need u dont have to waist money on garbege mouses or keyboreds or any of that trash. just get with the times and sell ur copmuter and get a ipad
  • WooddieBone - November 15, 2012 6:30 a.m.

    Man, you're dumb,
  • bamb0o-stick - November 15, 2012 9:39 a.m.

    Wow, did you type all that yourself with your itty-bitty two fingers on your iPad? You should stick a giant magnet on it and stick on your fridge.
  • GR_RyanTaljonick - November 14, 2012 7:36 p.m.

    Don't you worry, folks. We've got some other cool stuff in the works ;)
  • StrayGator - November 14, 2012 7:07 p.m.

    Your choice to narrow your recommendations to a single product in each category seems a bit odd to me. One player may want backlit keys, other may need macro keys, the third requires something that can take some physical punishment. I for example swear by "TenKeyLess" mechanical keyboards - the lack of numpad reduces the distance between my wasd hand and mouse hand and enhances comfortability tremendously (though this KB will handicap me if try to play MOBAs). Mice vary by size, response and general feel. The Deathadder isn't bad at all as a jack of all trades, but some may prefer football shaped mice (Logitech G series is the most widespread example, with many in-betweens). The Onza, however, is currently a genuine class-of-it's-own. No arguments here (it supports PC also btw).
  • brickman409 - November 14, 2012 6:55 p.m.

    $59.99 for a mouse sounds expensive to me. But then again I've seen mice that go over $100. I don't understand gaming mice, for how much they cost, are they really THAT much better than your standard mouse?
  • StrayGator - November 14, 2012 7:17 p.m.

    it can vary wildly. Gaming mice tend to be more precise and sensitive, offer extra buttons (and/or customization/macro features) and are often of better build quality. others offer very little other than some extra bling. but what matters most of all, if a standard $10 mouse feels good in your hand and the movement/response flow naturally, by "upgrading" to a gaming mouse you might do yourself a disservice.
  • GamesRadarBrianKim - November 15, 2012 10:58 a.m.

    Agreed. If it's not broken, then why fix it. But then again, how will you know if there's anything better out there unless you look. @brickman409: The biggest thing that you need to make sure you nail down is getting a mouse with the right shape. Since they vary so much, you don't want to end up dropping a bunch of cash to find that your new mouse is super uncomfortable. Personally, after using some higher end mice, I can't live without them now, but ultimately everything boils down to preference which is relative.
  • gopher1369 - November 15, 2012 7:32 a.m.

    Yes. I have a Razer Orochi (£60, approx $95 dollars and one of the cheapest mouses in the Razer range). The features it gives me over a normal mouse are: Works both wired (USB) and wireless (Bluetooth) High resolution sensor (4000DPI which means it's at least twice as sensitive/accurate as a regular mouse) Sensor DPI rate is adjustable on the fly. Polls at 1000Hz (default polling rate of USB2 is 125Hz, so polls 8x faster than a regular mouse) 7 buttons, 4 of which are programmable (regular mouse has 5 buttons, none of which are programmable). Teflon feet so it glides across most surfaces. The only way to know for sure though is to spend a week with a good quality gaming mouse then go back to a regular £10 mouse, you'll instantly notice the difference.

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