Best Gaming Mice, Monitors, Keyboards and Headsets PROs Use - Buyer's Guide
Hey there, privet, greetings. Welcome to the big-ass (not as big as Mei's) buyer's guide on best gaming setups, based on what PRO players use.
Skills matter the most, but even if you have godlike aim, it won't help if your mouse sucks. That also applies to your game sense and a monitor - it means shit if you can't SEE the enemies, but they can!
If you really strive to improve at gaming, you need to invest a bit into your hardware - and why shouldn't you invest into the best equipment there is?
In this guide, in the course of a week, I will recommend the top hardware pieces in each category (mice, keyboards, headsets and monitors) I have tested, with their pros, cons, prices and my personal experience.
I hear you saying "but how the fuck were you able to test all that hardware?" and it's a correct question. I happen to have a friend, former business partner I helped with starting his computer hardware online business, who agreed to let me test everything I needed. I was kinda embarrassed staying at his warehouse while delivery couriers watched me play Overwatch Ana training (shitty internet in warehouses, so it was the only option), hearing old ladies gasp and cry out, but what wouldn't I do for my High Noon students, right?
So, without further funny ado - let's break it DOWN!
If you want some further ado: I researched what gaming setups pros use and took it upon myself to test the 3 from each category that got best Amazon reviews and my friend had them stocked. The links I provide are Amazon affiliate links, because it took me almost a whole week to test the stuff in the cold warehouse, I got sick from that and now every delivery courier in Slovakia thinks I watch granny porn, so I think I've earned it.
Best gaming mice
Well I guess if you're playing The Sims, mouse doesn't matter to you. To everyone else, be it an RTS or FPS player, the mouse matters almost the most. You can have the best rig out there but if your mouse sucks, you won't be able to aim shit.
Some of you might think that the answer is obvious - just buy a Razer, man - but it really is not. Let's have a look at the top 3 and you'll see.
Smaller, ambidextrous mouse for heavy lifting (haha) and perfect tracking.
Everybody knows Seagull. Well, almost everybody. He's one of the most famous Overwatch streamers who made his name as "The best Genji in the world" and as a part of team NRG. It then stands to reason he has both the resources and motivation to use only the best gear, which Zowie ZA12 happens to be.
- Ambidextrous mouse developed for palm and claw grip usage
- Two thumb buttons on both sides to comfortably serve left- and right-handed users
- Plug and Play (no drivers needed)
- Easy to switch between left- and right-hand functionality
- 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 DPI adjustment
- Adjustable USB report rate 125 / 500 / 1000 Hz
- Perfect lift-off distance = 1.5 ~~ 1.8mm~
I have small hands, so Zowie ZA12 fit into my right one like a glove. I am right handed and never tried ambidextrous mice before, so for the first few minutes I felt a bit weird, but as soon as I got into game I completely forgot about that. With this little bugger I started feeling much more confident in landing those flickshots even when trying to do 180 degree turns, where I usually have to lift the mouse. It's quite simplistic, but it does the job very, very well. I also liked the rubbery cable which provided zero resistance.
- The smaller size is perfect for claw or palm grips
- Mouse has been optimized for lifting, so if you're playing on higher sensitivity, no longer will the mouse slip from your fingers
- Excellent tracking sensor, some people report it being "almost TOO precise"
- Ambidextrous, perfect for both right-handed and left-handed people
- Smaller size could be a problem for people with bigger hands
- Design is quite simplistic
Customizable, high - precision mouse for everybody.
Re1nforce is one of the best Reinhardt and tank players in Overwatch currently. It came to my mind while writing this guide that not everybody plays DPS on their teams and that's why I chose this player and his mouse as one of the top 3 contenders. This doesn't mean the FinalMouse 2016 isn't good for tracking and flicking - quite contrary.
- Professional & Tournament Grade
- Flawless Pixart 3310 IR Led Esports Sensor
- Esports Inspired Ergonomic Form Factor
- Designed by Pros for Pros
- Industry Leading Super-Lightweight: At Only 74 Grams
I was actually pretty stoked on trying this one out thanks to the hype it received for the last 6 months. The mouse was being promoted as the final and ultimate mouse choice for pro gamers and I think I know why. I don't believe I've had a chance to experience such smooth and precise tracking before, which almost made me cry - Overwatch just felt totally different, mainly on McCree, who's bread and butter is the aim and nothing but the aim. I don't lift mouses much during fights, but saw some negative opinions about that, so I tried it out. While it's true that sometimes while lifting the sensor would stop tracking if I went too high, I don't lift my mouses up kilometers above the mouse pad usually, so it didn't become a problem for me while testing.
It's funny that a tank player has such a good mouse for precise aiming, but I guess that's just the edge everybody's looking for, right?
- Very fast and accurate
- DPI settings are almost endless, perfect for people with small mousepads and even for those with big ones
- Very comfortable
- Scroll wheel and buttons feel just right, well-made
- You can't turn the LED off. Really. In 2016.
- Scroll wheel, while awesome in games, is not suited for non-gaming purposes like scrolling down a long Excel sheet
- Not very good at lifting, the sensor stops tracking fast
Number 1 bestseller in the whole world mouse.
Vallutaja is a hitscan player that I would call "impressive". His hitscan aim is quite legendary and - sometimes - even unbelievable. Just watch some of his replays and you will see what I'm talking about. Is it thanks to his mouse? Not entirely, but it sure helps a great deal.
- Perfectly designed to fit snugly under your palm, the ergonomic shape of the Razer DeathAdder Chroma gives gamers the most comfortable gaming experience ever, especially during the most testing of battles.
- The Razer DeathAdder Chroma is equipped with a 10,000dpi optical sensor. It is capable of mouse movement speeds of up to 200 inches per second and 50g acceleration.
- Whether your're playing at fast or low speeds, the Deathadder Chroma will always respond onscreen with exacting accuracy and the organic fluidity only possible with an optical sensor.
- The Razer DeathAdder Chroma's sensor is also capable of tracking Z-axis to as low as 1mm on most surfaces including glass table tops. This is perfect for low-sense gamers who want to set tracking to cut-off as soon as they lift their mice.
- Chroma lighting with 16.8 million customizable color options. Whether you're in the mood for electric blue, pastel pink, or signature Razer green, you can now illuminate your Razer DeathAdder Chroma's scroll wheel and Razer logo just the way you want.
Razer, bestseller, number 1 on Amazon. Yes, this is a very good mouse. Everybody will tell you so and I would be stupid not to include it in this guide. As soon as I laid my hand on it I recognized why. It just...feels right. It moves right. It clicks right. I am currently hard - pressed to find bad things to say about this mouse, but for the sake of objectivity, I'll find something. Damn, even the price is good! And you can also order it in an Overwatch design. Suffice to say I ordered one in OW design right after I finished testing.
*After some thinking*
Oh yeah, there is a con. The mouse won't work properly without a mousepad, so if you're planning to buy it, order a cheap but quality mousepad.
- Buttery smooth, fast and accurate
- Ergonomical design is top-notch, buttons are solid and responsive
- Very comfortable and lightweight
- Razer software included, but works even without installing anything - with it you can customize the colors any way you want
- Doesn't really work without a mousepad
- Some people report shortened durability
- You need to use Razer software to get the most of it
Best gaming monitors
Playing games without seeing what's happening is quite impossible, wouldn't you agree? Then, it stands to logic that the less or worse you're able to see, the worse your gameplay will be.
Imagine playing Overwatch on 50% render scale against a person who is playing on 100% render scale - he can see you clearly and can precisely aim at your head, while all you can see is a blob of pixels.
Or, imagine playing on 40 FPS (Frames per second) against a person with 200 FPS. His monitor will show him almost 4 times more accurate current situation than your monitor will show to you, resulting in a really big advantage.
Bottom line - monitors matter almost as much as mice do. If you feel like your skills are quite good but for some reason you aren't able to get results, a monitor could be bottlenecking you.
Funny thing about gaming monitors is that there are really only 2 options:
- More expensive that almost everybody uses
- Cheap one that almost everybody else uses
Best gaming monitor of 2016 almost every Overwatch pro player uses.
Let me correct myself at first. This is a newer model of a monitor almost EVERY pro Overwatch player uses, because the previous one is not being produced anymore. Not a problem though, because this beauty is the same price and has better specs.
When I say almost every pro OW player, I mean it. BenQ Zowie XL 2430 is being played on by more than 70% of known pro players and that's fucking ridiculous! That understandably means there is a big chance this monitor is the best gaming monitor on the market right now. Who am I to argue with professional players?
Here are just "some" OW pro players using this bad boy:
PapaSmurf323, Cozen, winz, Tviq, aKmzzz, uNKOE, Re1nforce, Kn0xXx, vallutaja, uNFixed, Kruise, Morte, Gods, Seagull, EnigmaOW, milo51, Pookz, INTERNETHULK, cocco, harryhook, chipshajen, Taimou, Talespin and many more.
- 144Hz MONITOR: 1ms monitor with ultra-fast 144Hz refresh rate and smooth, real time response
- PC GAMING MONITOR: Adopted worldwide by most professional eSports tournaments and players, BenQ Zowie is the official gaming monitor of the MLG CS:GO Major Championship along with various MLG, DREAMHACK, ESWC, Intel Extreme Master, CEVO, Copenhagen Games, ESEA, UMG, EVO, ESL One events.
- ZOWIE eSPORTS FULL HD MONITOR: Black eQualizer for visual clarity in dark scenes, optimized for console eSPORTS game titles like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive CS:GO and Overwatch
- ADVANCED 1080p MONITOR with ERGONOMIC FEATURES: Specially-designed frame minimizes visual distractions, Low Blue Light and Flicker Free technology for reduced eye strain, Height Adjustment Stand for improved ergonomics
- PRO GAMING DISPLAY with S Switch to easily switch between saved settings, and a variety of input connectors, including D-sub, DVI-DL (Dual Link), HDMI x2, DP1.2, Headphone Jack, Mic Jack
If I had to compare playing on this monitor to playing on my old LG, I would probably say that it felt like eating a juicy medium burger compared to eating a handful of boiled dirt with some Legos added for good measure. I played a totally different game than I was used to! It was like I finally bought glasses for my bad eyesight, like I watched VR porn in VR and not on a PC (not that I do that, really...*cough).
I loved that BenQ added tactile buttons, not those stupid "touch" ones and the height adjustment system worked easily and smoothly. I had no noticeable input lag, no eyestrain, no confusion when playing Tracer. I suddenly knew what will my Christmas present be. I genuinely believe that BenQ Zowie XL 2430 is a top dog on the market and the price isn't so steep either! Sounds like a lie, but it isn't. Wow.
- 144Hz refresh rate with no dead pixels
- No input lag
- Jacks and connectors in abundance, everything you might need
- Epic picture sharpness and colors
- Power button sometimes a bit hard to press
- Height adjustment thingy feels a bit cheaper to me
- It can sometimes get a bit expensive
Affordable gaming monitor almost every pro Overwatch player that doesn't use BenQ Zowie uses.
The pros not using BenQ Zowie XL2430 use ASUS VG248QE. It's almost $100 - $200 cheaper on Amazon, so that makes it an affordable choice while still retaining the awesome pro advantages that only high end gaming monitors can provide. I feel like it might just be a personal or a design choice whether to decide on buying this one or that one. I'm saying it because I've had time to play with both of them and honestly, I didn't feel that much difference.
- Ultra smooth action with 144Hz rapid refresh rate and 1ms (GTG) response time
- Ergonomically-designed stand with Tilt,Swivel,Pivot,Height adjustment plus wall-mount capability for comfortable viewing position
- A comfortable viewing experience with ergonomic tilt, swivel pivot, and height adjustment
- Built-in 2W stereo speakers for an immersive home entertainment experience
- Featuring DisplayPort, Dual-link DVI-D, and HDMI ports for multi device connections
If you read the previous comparison to food or VR porn I made in the previous review of BenQ Zowie XL2430 you know what I was about to say here. If you didn't, go and do that for me, I'll wait right here, because I'm lazy and not interested in repeating myself. Honestly? I really don't see THAT much difference in performance between these two monitors, even if ASUS VG248QE is almost a hundred bucks or two cheaper. Maybe I'm not pro enough, who knows.
The reason why this monitor is that much cheaper is that while BenQ provides BOTH picture quality and awesome response times, ASUS focuses on response times. The picture quality (colors mainly) needed tweaking before I was content with what I was seeing and I missed all those jacks and other ports. A little bit of warning - I had to use DVI to get 144Hz output, since HDMI supports only up to 60Hz.
I was BLOWN AWAY by the difference between a standard 60Hz monitor and this one, AGAIN. I think they should stop selling 60Hz monitors, just as they don't serve you trash bin contents in restaurants, such is the comparable experience.
- Around 1ms response time and 7ms latency, which means no input lag whatsoever
- Very affordable and almost everywhere in shops
- Very nice design
- Colors need a bit of manual tweaking
- 144Hz output not available through HDMI
Best gaming keyboards
Before I delve into recommending the best ever gaming keyboards our beloved pro gamers use, let me relay some basic info about this piece of hardware to you - a knowledgeable buyer is the one who gets good deals, after all.
There are 2 types of keyboards:
- Silicone membrane - based
Now, the difference between the two is twofold - quality and price. Silicone keyboards are lower quality - there are some really good ones though and I'll show you which - but they are much cheaper. If you are looking for a cheap keyboard, yet suitable for gaming, the dream is possible to achieve.
On the other hand, 99% of pro gamers use mechanical keyboards for a reason. Their keys are not mushy and spongy, are responsive and stable. There is no worse feeling when you die in a game because your keybord didn't register your key press. Mechanical keyboards also live much longer than their silicone counterparts, so that's something to keep in mind too.
The problem is, there really isn't much difference except the keyboard being silicone or mechanical between all the brands if you don't care about how many nanolights the LED illumination has. I know I don't. So...I'll save you time and I'll just show you the top silicone and the top mechanical keyboard instead of listing 5 of each.
Best cheap and affordable gaming keyboard.
Pro gamers don't use AULA SI-859, but I've chosen to include it in this guide. Reason? Not everybody can splurge $100 on a keyboard, so I was looking for a good one that is cheap and affordable, while still performing on top. For the price, the value of AULA is downright insane!
- Special three color LED backlight, every backlight has four modes to adjust to
- Laser carving characters, cool backlight feature
- Non-slip design for the best gaming performances and comfort
- Ergonomic gaming design for maximum comfort and slickness
- Strengthened spacebar for maximum life and long hours of gaming
- Ultra-thin sensitive reaction and excellent handle
- Lockable/un-lockable WIN keys and corresponding LED light indicators to make games smoother
- Key pressing distance: 2.0mm
I wasn't expecting much from AULA SI - 859, since the price is so low, but in the end was pleasantly surprised. Key presses don't feel as much "spongy" as other non-mechanical keyboards and yet they are soft and quiet, very nice. There are dedicated media keys which I like and also a disable Windows key function. That one's important to me, since I sometimes press it in the middle of a firefight. The keyboard is stunningly illuminated with programmable colors and overall is very stable and sturdy. What I didn't like was the weird Enter shape. If you don't have budget, but still want to be on par with other gamers, this is THE keyboard to buy.
- LED illumination
- Sturdy, responsive, nice feel
- Insane price / value ratio
- Enter key
- Chinese manual :D
Best gaming keyboard in the whole world.
Used by best players in the world. Razer. Now you understand why I mentioned "just buy a Razer, dude" in the beginning, don't you? Razer just knows how to cook the best shit. This beauty is the number 1 bestseller on Amazon, has more than 1300 unique reviews and is hands down the best gaming keyboard in the world. If you want a mechanical keyboard, don't even look at the other brands - it's a few dollars difference and Razer BlackWidow just destroys the competition in comparison.
If you really really reaaallly want to get a second mechanical gaming keyboard recommendation, check out SteelSeries 6Gv2 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, used notably by names such as morte, Vallutaja and gods.
Or check these:
- Built around Razer's award-winning Mechanical Switches designed from the ground up for hard-core gaming. The crisp, tactile feel, responsiveness and consistency deliver a unique unfair gaming advantage.
- Extreme Durability- Razer mechanical switches are rated up to 80 million keystrokes and come with a 2-year warranty.
- Express your individuality and get the leg-up in games with Chroma backlighting and over 16.8 million color options.
- Fully programmable keys + 5 additional gaming keys with on-the-fly macro recording
- USB, 3.5mm headphone and microphone ports allow for easy cable routing
- Easy access media keys for convenient volume control and media playback
- 10 key rollover for extreme anti-ghosting
There are so many things to love about this gaming keyboard that I don't even know where to begin. Firstly I had fun with colors. I don't particularly care about them, but my job was to test it out and so I did. They say there are 16.8 million color options, but my man's eye can only see the basic 8, sometimes 16, so that's it for colors. Keyboard presses? Damn, smooth, responsive and clickity-clack. Macros. I don't use them, but this keyboard has them and it's fully programmable. BlackWidow also sports audio and microphone jacks.
But to be fair, there are some little issues too. Why is the USB port on the right side, where I keep my mouse? Also, the shiftable symbols are not illuminated for some reasons. Having said that, these are just small nitpicks and didn't impact my experience with Razer BlackWidow.
- 16.8 million color options (barfingrainbow.gif)
- Satysfing key presses, nice and sturdy, "clickity"
- It's really beautiful
- Fully programmable, Razer software included, profiles saved on cloud
- Audio and microphone jacks
- A bit loud, no "stealth" mode
- Non-standard function keys