TSA’s Christmas Gift Guide Extravaganza!

As Christmas approaches, we thought it would be nice to take a look at some of the extra little accessories and peripherals to go with your console. We’re sure you’re all making lists to Santa, and it’s always good to get something gaming related, so we wanted to help you to decide what you’d like to find under your tree this year.

We’ve made a list (and checked it twice) and written up our thoughts on the products below – which have all been tested by us. There might be another list or two coming as well and if there is anything else accessory or peripheral related that you’d like to know about, just leave us a request in the comments and maybe we’ll try to get a look between now and the big day!

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Tritton AX-180Gears of War 3 Tritton Headphones

These liveried Tritton AX-180 headphones are sold as Gears of War Stereo Headphones for the Xbox 360. The unbranded version can be used with the PS3, PC&Mac (in Europe) or the Xbox 360 but these ones seem to be restricted to Xbox 360 only. I certainly experienced noise in them that made them unusable as a headset on my MacBook Pro. In fact, the microphone and USB output weren’t even detected at a system level, only the audio jack plug functioned.

For the purpose they’re advertised, these do an admirable job. They give good stereo output that is probably roughly comparable to dedicated headphones in a similar price range but with all the added leads and plugs required to get them working well through the 360 too. They’re wired so if you’ve got a pet dog or a toddler in the room, they do provide a tricky trip hazard but there’s a nice long cable (13ft).

They’re extremely comfortable to wear for long periods too and the in line volume controller has separate dials for game audio and for voice chat, which is clear and unbroken but very definitely low quality – as voice chat usually is.

They were expensive when they first came out, with an RRP of around £90 but they can be picked up for much less now if you shop around (and can find them!)

Gioteck Dual Fuel Ammo BoxGioteck DualFuel Ammo Box

What the AmmoBox does is essentially charge up your controllers, as well as act as a storage unit. Available in both Xbox 360 and PS3 flavours, the first thing you’ll notice is the styling of the AmmoBox. Big enough to house two controllers, it has been designed as a lifelike replica ammunition box, which means a sturdy, metal finish and a lovely chunky clasp at the front to lock it all up. The Xbox 360 version comes with two rechargeable battery packs included.

Now here comes the science bit. It’s the actual AmmoBox you connect to the mains, rather than the battery packs. As the PS3’s DualShock controllers already have an in-built battery, you have to place them onto the charging plugs inside the AmmoBox. The Xbox 360 version is a little bit fancier, as the battery packs included charge via contact touch, so all you have to do is place them inside the AmmoBox and they will charge up.

Charging times are stated as 2 hours for the PS3, and 4 hours for the Xbox 360 version, although when I did it the time was slightly less. There are lights on the box which pulse red or green, depending on whether the controllers are charging or not. I didn’t manage to get an exact time in terms of how long the battery takes to discharge, but it seemed at least on a par with other rechargeable products.

It’s a nice bit of kit, and useful for those who have an aversion to dust on their controllers. My main concern is one of pricing. At £29.99 for the PS3 version, and £34.99 for the Xbox 360 version, it’s a rather expensive prospect considering rechargeable packs can be picked up for a third of the price. [Dan Lee]

Gioteck Dual Fuel Ammo ClipGioteck AC-1 DualFuel Ammo Clip

This peculiar accessory feels like an expensive steelbook case. It’s essentially a cheaper, space-saving version of the accessory above. Pop it open and you get a central console with two little plugs to receive your thirsty controllers. They’ll sit happily on the opened out case and charge from a single USB port.

It’s difficult to judge recharge time, all my controllers are ageing now and their battery cycles will be different from brand new ones. I would estimate that they charged up in roughly around the same time they would if I’d just had them connected via the standard cable and they seemed to last just as long too.

This is one of those accessories that doesn’t really save time or space, although it does arguably free up one USB socket. It’s not essential, by any means, but it is a bit of fun, well made and functional. I think that makes it a pretty decent gift and at £15-£20, depending on where you shop, it’s a nice little stocking filler.

Official Sony PS3 Bluetooth HeadsetOfficial Sony PS3 Bluetooth Headset

Sony make excellent quality peripherals. The old style headset I’ve been using for a couple of years is a great quality Bluetooth headset that is worth double the price Sony sold them for.

This newly styled product refresh functions in much the same way but with a slightly sleeker, curvier, glossy look. It’s a single ear headset rather than headphones so your game audio will still have to come through your TV or sound system but these offer clear, crisp, albeit phone-quality, sound for all your voice chatting needs.

If you’ve got Bluetooth on your PC, this is equally at home working with Skype or any other VOIP program to make calls as well as being handy to pair with your mobile phone for when you need both hands free. It’s still a top quality headset that’s easily as good quality as the mobile phone Bluetooth headsets that sell for upwards of £50-£80. Well worth the £25 or less you can pick this up for.

Official Xbox 360 Wireless Bluetooth Headset Modern Warfare 3Xbox 360 Wireless Bluetooth MW3 Headset

Much like the official Sony headset, this Xbox headset is a solidly made piece of kit. It connects to the Xbox 360, of course, but also features Bluetooth connectivity so it will also pair with those devices.

This is just the regular Xbox 360 Wireless Bluetooth headset too, the only difference here is the fancy aged silver Modern Warfare 3 paint job and the charging dock. So if those elements aren’t particularly appealing, you might find the standard black version a little more easily. These are priced around £30-£40 now, which is a little pricey but seems fair enough given the build quality.

As for sound quality, it’s very good. Obviously, you’ll never get perfect audio through a headset, or through a VOIP service, but it’s clear and loud enough and when paired with a Bluetooth compatible mobile phone it works perfectly well too. Whether you’re comfortable prancing around town, talking to your dear old Mum with a Modern Warfare headset on is up to you.

Gioteck EX-05 Wireless Multi-format HeadsetGioteck EX-05 Wireless Multi-format Headset

This wireless stereo headset certainly feels solid. The plastic used has an almost black matte effect, which looks good. The headband has metal adjusters, which have a satisfyingly robust “click” when you ratchet the headband up and down. It’s not loose, but neither does it require the strength of several people of adjust it.

The headband is also made up of a mesh, rather than something more solid. Presumably this is to allow for greater airflow. The ear cups come with micro-fibre mufflers, which feel like Alcantara. They certainly fit my ears very well indeed.

The sound produced by the EX-05 is nice and clear, there’s enough bass produced without that ‘boomy’ effect. It’s a shame you can’t actually tweak the bass via the in-line controls though. When tested with Skype the mic returned fantastic results, with my voice coming across crystal clear.

The EX-05 is a great headset. It’s also priced well, starting at about £60 for wired versions and rising to £99.99 for this top of the range version (although prices may vary by retailer). If you’re after a stereo headset this is well worth a look. [Dan Lee]

Xbox 360 Aberdeen controller Modern Warfare 3Xbox 360 MW3 Controller

Another standard Xbox 360 peripheral, given the Modern Warfare 3 makeover. This is, essentially just the Aberdeen style controller with the rotating d-pad that allows you to set it to a raised profile for slightly easier traction.

It’s the best official 360 controller available, although that d-pad still isn’t good, and the nice distressed silvery finish that the Modern Warfare 3 paint job gives it is attractive enough.

It comes with a lengthy charging cable and a rechargeable battery pack too so it’s a decent spare controller, all things considered. It is a little on the pricey side, with an RRP of around £45. Obviously, that price can easily be beaten with a little exploration though.

Gioteck In2Link Module SystemGioteck In2Link Module System

You could be forgiven for thinking that, with another Gioteck product on the list, this feature is sponsored by them. It’s not, of course, but they do seem to have a much more significant presence in console accessories than anyone else, at least in the UK.

This is a clip on USB hub that extends the paltry two USB sockets on the front of the PS3 Slim into four. You can also clip on the optional controller charging module at the expense of one of the USB sockets.

I think this looks okay attached to the front of a PS3 Slim and the extra couple of USB ports are invaluable if, like me, you have PlayTV, an external hard disk packed with media and the PSEye camera all vying for USB sockets.

It’s another accessory that’s under £20 and I think it’s a little more useful than the Gioteck Ammo Clip. Depending on your situation, you might even end up thinking of this little module as invaluable.

Nyko Zoom for KinectNykon Zoom for Kinect

This was something I was considering for my Christmas list, until I bought myself one to write about here… It’s basically a wide angle lens that clips on over the top of Kinect and supposedly decreases the required space by around 40 per cent. My personal experience has been that it’s not quite as effective as that but it certainly does make things a little easier in a relatively confined space.

It’s easy to fit – it just clips on – and although it does detract from the sleek looks of the Kinect sensor, that’s a small price to pay in order to be able to play with two players where once you could only have one.

This is quite pricey at £30 but it’s also quite substantial and weighty. I had assumed that it was just going to be a couple of plastic lenses and a shaped plastic clip but it feels like there is definitely more to it that that. The lens construction looks solid and they are on springs to help them securely fit against the existing Kinect lenses, presumably to limit light interference.

All in all, this is a functional little extra and if you’re restricted for space it’s likely to make things a lot more accessible with Kinect.

So there you have it. Let us know if there’s anything else you’re interested to hear about and we’ll see what we can do. There are another couple of similar lists in the pipeline too so look out for those soon!

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30 Comments

  1. Regarding the Official PS3 Bluetooth Headset – GAME were selling these at £12.49 (half price) last weekend, so long as you bought something else in store – even if it cost £0.99. Like Peter said it’s probably worth upwards of £50.00, so £12.49 is a no-brainer. I bought 2 as Christmas presents for people! :)

    • That deal was only available if you bought Uncharted 3 or a PlayStation 3 when I picked that headset up! It was £24.99 otherwise, which is still significantly cheaper than a Bluetooth headset of that quality should be :)

      • Really, my wife bought a £7.99 preownder Wii game for a present, and we bought 2 with the same purchase! Guess we just got lucky? I nearly bought myself another one as a back-up for that price!

      • preownder = fail.

      • @Youles your speech impediment is now effecting your typing? Oh, how video games rot our brains…

      • What are you not speaking? :p

  2. Suited and booted. Awesome. :)

  3. So for the Gioteck In2Link Module System, am i right in saying that it adds one extra usb port right?

    Two would have been nice if i am honest, but i could do with an additional one either way.

    • I think it adds two, but it also comes with a controller charging unit that takes up one of the extra slots, so reduces you down to 3 when in use.

    • if you just plug the USB bit in, it turns the two in the front of your PS3 slim into three and there’s a fourth on on the side of that module, which the controller charging module plugs in to. But if you leave the controller charging module off, you end up with 4 USB ports where there were only 2.

      • Ah, thanks CB – Couldn’t see the fourth port from the pic.

  4. think i’ll get myself the Gioteck In2Link Module System. been looking at a few of these things on eBay but never had the bottle to buy one from Hong Kong or China.

    • Yeah, me too – I only want it to be lazy though (or more lazy than i am already anyway!), as it does bug me to have to get up & either unplug my camera (which is shockingly under-utilised by the way) or my charging pad just to charge my headset!

  5. This is also pretty good, and can save you USB slots that you use for charging:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sony-PlayStation-AC-Adaptor-PS3/dp/B001PO5L4K/ref=sr_1_23?ie=UTF8&qid=1323687106&sr=8-23

    Bonuses are that it’s a PS3 licenced product, and you don’t have to keep your PS3 on to charge any of your USB devices.

    • Thats pretty nifty that, I’ll be keeping an eye on that as something to spend any Xmas money on

      • I’ve got one. Use it all the time. But it is a pain to switch off if you not using it, you can only turn it off at the wall socket. And it can get a bit messy with the two cables connected to it all the time, especially if you have the long ones in to reach you across the room.

      • Why is it a pain to switch off, the controllers (and most other devices) stop charging once their battery is full? :/

        Are we talking about different things as it doesn’t have a switch? :)

      • No, but’s it’s basically plugged in the whole time. Even though it’s not on it still sucks in electricity, bit like a HD or monitor PSU.

      • Oh I see. Yeah, not the sort of thing to leave on then! Still pretty useful though

  6. The official Sony Headset looks pretty sweet

    • Yeah. I’ve been thinking about getting a mic, and if I do buy one, this will probably be it.

  7. Nothing there interests me :(

  8. Any idea if the ammo boxes will let you plug in controllers that have to extra trigger extensions clipped onto R2 & L2?

    • I don’t see why not, the central arms are on springy hinges but the actual plug extends quite far so I would imagine your controllers would just clip in as normal but possibly not sit as flat as regular controllers when it’s all laid out.

      • Cheers CB, been looking at the ammo boxes for no other reason than they look pretty cool. Added them to the x-mas list of things to buy for myself.
        Cool article by the way!

  9. Watched the video on youtube back when it was uploaded, spoilers, lol. Some of the stuff sounds pretty interesting, considering getting some headphones. Kind of interested in the new Sony Wireless ones, but those Tritton ones might do? a bit cheaper I suppose, although they’re cabled…

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