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.
Imagine two gamers facing each other in a duel with the same level of skill. One of them has a Razer gaming mouse and a 144 Hz gaming monitor. The other one has a stock mouse he got with his laptop and plays on 60 Hz monitor.
The first one will win 100% of times.
If you really strive to improve at gaming, if you really want to be the best, or just want a quick improvement and win more games, you need to invest into your hardware.
In this guide I recommend top hardware pieces in each category (mice, keyboards, headsets and monitors) I have tested, with their pros, cons and my personal experience.
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 funny 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 a cold warehouse, I got sick because of it and now every delivery courier in Slovakia thinks I watch granny porn, so I think I've earned it.
WAIT! How do I thank you for the good advice? Do you take donations or anything?
Each piece of hardware reviewed is being sold by Amazon. They are the biggest and most trusted e-commerce store, so I didn't bother about recommending you anywhere else.
If you want to thank me, add the product you're thinking of buying to your Amazon cart, even if you're not going to buy it immediately.
Because I get rewarded by a small percentage from every purchase if it's made in 24 hours. But, if you add the product to your cart, we get another 90 days to seal the deal!
This would be the best way to thank me for a good advice and I'll cherish your persona in my heart forever.
Think of it like buying me a cup of coffee or a beer :)
Best gaming monitors (144Hz)
If you're playing on anything worse than a 144Hz monitor, you're actively shooting yourself in the foot. A player with 144Hz gaming monitor will ALWAYS have a big advantage against a player with a 60Hz monitor and if they are of same skill, the player with the better monitor will win 100% of times.
Why is that? Because a 144Hz monitor outputs a shitload of tons of more FPS (frames per second) than a 60Hz one, which means that the 144Hz player sees more, faster and more precise. To top it, when you play on a 144Hz monitor you also aim better, because you are getting much more precise graphical information about who and what is where + with more FPS your aiming is calculated more smoothly, so you miss less shots or whatever are you trying to do.
I have never heard about a pro gamer using anything other than a 144Hz gaming monitor and that's for reasons mentioned above. This might sound like a cliché from a bad informecial, but:
When you change to 144Hz gaming monitor, you will aim and play better. You will be able to win games unwinnable before, undertake actions you couldn't before and you will win much, much more.
"I had three monitors before, all 17 inches or less with 60 Hz refresh rate. One day, when I did a LAN party with my coworkers I tried a 24 inch monitor with 144 Hz refresh rate and realized the huge difference it made. It was a tournament style LAN party and I won easily, just like that - so I immediately went home and did some research. I decided on the Asus VG248QE because it was one of the cheapest 24" 144hz monitors. Before, I had been stuck at 2800 SR with a 50/50 win rate. I'm now at 3100+ and even when I lose, I tend to be the top player on my team. It makes a huge difference if you have a computer that can put out a consistent 120+ fps."
If you can do just 1 thing in your journey to become a player who wins games all the time, invest in a 144Hz gaming monitor. If it doesn't work, feel free to call me at +421903976304 and scream at me. I don't care because I know it WILL WORK.
Before buying a monitor you need to know this
- 144 Hz output needs to be set up in Windows first
- 144 Hz output only goes via Display Port or DVI, HDMI doesn't cut it
- 144 Hz output needs to be changed in your game's video options under "Display Refresh Rate" or similar
- There is no reason to play on 144 Hz if your PC can't handle the game already, if this is your situation, consider upgrading your GPU and CPU
- If you're having headaches or feeling eyestrain due to prolonged gaming sessions, consider starting using gaming glasses to protect your eyesight - can't play blind
- If you find a dead pixel after starting the monitor, request a refund immediately!
Best gaming monitor of 2016 almost every Overwatch pro player uses.
This is a newer model of a monitor almost EVERY pro Overwatch player uses, because the previous one is not being produced anymore. Which is even better, because this beauty has the same price and better specs.
When I say almost every professional player uses this monitor, I mean it. BenQ Zowie XL 2430 is being played on by more than 70% of known pro players and that's completely ridiculous! That means this monitor is the best gaming monitor on the market right now. Who am I to argue with professional players?
Here are just "some" Overwatch 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 60Hz 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
- Can sometimes get a bit expensive
- $289 (24") - $560 (27")
- price depends on current deals, stock, chosen size and setup
Result: Go and add it to your Amazon cart right now. You can thank me later, when you'll be winning one game after another.
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 144 Hz 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. Don't forget to use DVI cable 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.
MORE READING: How to make the best website of 2017 in the cheapest and laziest way possible (I created this one in 4 hours and $30 with no coding or designer training)
- Around 1ms response time and 7ms latency, which means no input lag whatsoever
- Very affordable - 27" version almost $200 cheaper than BenQ 27"
- Very nice design
- Colors need a bit of manual tweaking
- $229 (24") - $299(27")
- price depends on current deals, stock, chosen size and setup
Result: Decide fast and add it to your Amazon cart right now - it's frequently out of stock. You can thank me later, when you'll be winning one game after another and have saved $200 bucks.
Best gaming mice
If you're really serious about improving as a player and winning more, combining a gaming monitor with a gaming mouse is the easiest, quickest and best thing you can do, hands down.
You just can't outplay someone with Zowie, Razer or Finalmouse using a stock Acer mouse that had been bundled to your laptop. Using the already used analogy - if you put two gamers of a same skill level against each other, 100% of times the one with a better hardware will win.
A good gaming mouse feels right in your hands, doesn't slip, doesn't stop tracking your movements when you make them too fast. A good gaming mouse has good buttons with nice clicks, slides smoothly and above all - is precise. With a good mouse you're able to adjust DPI and sensitivity to levels you're most comfortable with.
With a good gaming mouse you are a better player than your peers. Good news? Gaming mice are not that expensive, so you can probably buy them on a whim. Let's look at top 3 mice pro gaming professionals use.
Before buying a gaming mouse you need to know this
- Given the unique designs of gaming mice, be sure your chosen design fits comfortably into your hand. If not, return the mouse ASAP.
- If you use programmable buttons, pay extra attention to specs - you don't want to buy something you'd be not happy to use.
- DPI means Dot Per Inch and more is not always the better. You will have to set up this after buying a new mouse from scratch - it's easy though.
- There is no real difference between laser and optical sensors in high-end models, really. Don't listen to tech freaks who just want to rob you of all your money.
- Don't skimp on a mouse - it's not THAT expensive and a $20 mouse will be useless in your journey to become a killing-it player.
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
If you're playing in smaller spaces and lift the mouse often or you're left-handed, or need a mouse that fits perfectly, don't dilly-dally and throw Zowie into your Amazon cart right now. When you start playing with it, you'll be amazed at how much you've suddenly improved.
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
The lightest and most precise mouse on the market right now. If you're playing aim-heavy games and characters, add it to your Amazon cart right now and laugh at the headshots you've never been able to hit before.
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
What? Do you really need any more persuasion to get your paws on this piece of art? Here you go: "Shoot it into your Amazon cart with the speed of light."
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
Best gaming headsets
Overwatch is putting very big importance on its sound design and the sound is thus a huge part of your winning chances. If you can hear your enemy coming from around the corner or not will make a tremendous difference.
It then stands to reason that professional gamers use only the best headphones with clearest sounds. Here are 3 picks that pros use, but also that people like you and me love.
Things people like
- best audio quality
- smooth and sturdy build
- comfortable during long sessions
- awesome noise cancelling
Things people don't like
- the 7.1 function is apparently a gimmick
Things people like
- many customization options
- very good audio quality
- sturdy build
Things people don't like
- feels a little "plasticy" for some
Things people like
- very good audio quality
- comfortable during long sessions
Things people don't like
- they are plastic, but feel premium. Still, plastic.