The ultimate Xbox gift guide for the 2018 holiday season
Deck the halls, friends, for the holiday season is nearly here. Again. Soon, we'll be
spending time with our loved ones ditching work, closing all the curtains, and gaming. With Christmas pizza, and hopefully, hard Christmas liquor.
In any case, you may be wanting to know where to splash the cash on your gaming loved ones this holiday season. We have some expertise in this area, and would like to make some suggestions!
Amazon Echo (opens in new tab)
★ Top pick
An Amazon Echo? For an Xbox? But why? You might be asking. Well, recently, Microsoft enabled voice commands through Amazon's voice-assisted Echo speakers for the US and the UK, allowing you to issue commands such as "Alexa, turn on my Xbox" and "Alexa, play Battlefield V" without lifting a controller. It can also link up with a television too, via the Xbox One's IR blaster. This is a great addition for any Xbox gamer's toolkit.
The Big One
This is a flagship gift for someone you REALLY love. The Xbox One X is the most powerful games console in the world, elevating the visuals of all Xbox One games. If you have a 4K TV, the latest games will look better than anywhere outside of a seriously high-end gaming PC.
The Smaller One
If you're looking for something a little more affordable, then perhaps a cheap and cheerful Xbox One S will suffice. Aimed at HD televisions, the Xbox One S sports 4K media playback, thousands of games, an IR blaster for TV control, and various other nifty features.
A personal touch
If you want something more personal, consider building an Xbox Design Lab custom controller. You can choose from all sorts of styles and colors, and include a custom engraving for that personal touch.
Step up your game
The Xbox One Elite Controller adds four configurable paddles on the back, different types of joysticks, extra d-pad options, and trigger locks for faster firing. It also sports rubberized grips for added comfort, and in the right hands, can seriously elevate your loved one's competitive play.
Officially licensed by Microsoft, Hyperkin revived the classic "Duke" controller from the OG Xbox, in all its bulky, hulking glory. Hyperkin did put some modernizing touches on there though, if for no reason other than to prevent it causing physical pain. This controller is a nostalgic beast, and is a perfect gift for long-time Xbox fans.
Currently our favorite wired Xbox One headset, the powerful, premium-feeling, but wholly affordable Elite Atlas is tuned for game sound. It's comfortable, it sounds amazing, and it's robust, with metallic pieces to ensure longevity. It also looks sexy, and features customizable speaker plates for future gift ideas. Pretty sweet. As a wired headset, it works across Xbox One, PC, mobile, and any other device that supports 3.5mm connectivity.
I own two of these, and simply cannot be without them. The Astro MixAmp TR Pro gives you greater control over your sound experience, regardless of what 3.5mm wired headset you choose to use. You can add mic monitoring feedback and control the levels at the flick of a dial, and also mix audio from a PC for voice comms, while feeding your Xbox game sound in via an optical cable. It's great for those who don't like Xbox Live party chat and instead prefer comms via PC, adding Dolby 7.1 surround and bass boost as an added bonus.
A faithful companion of mine for several years now, the Xbox green-branded Seagate Game Drive is a fun gift for any Xbox fan. Starting at 2TB, the Game Drive can add space for dozens of additional games, making it an essential piece of kit to beat the pesky 1TB of storage that comes as standard with current Xbox consoles.
Extra extra storage
While there are cheaper HDDs, if you're buying a gift for an Xbox enthusiast, they may appreciate the Xbox branding that comes with Seagate's licensed Xbox storage lineup. The Seagate Game Hub is a powered, vertical storage solution that adds capacity for dozens, possibly over a hundred additional game installations owing to a whopping 8TB of storage.
A functional filler
Xbox controllers are wireless and take AA batteries. There's a range of charging solutions for Xbox One controllers, but I've found the Eneloop batteries from Panasonic provide the most longevity. This charge pack comes with two pairs of AA batteries suitable for the Xbox One controller, allowing you to use one pair while keeping the other pair ready to swap.
Recharge like a pro
A personal favorite, the Snakebyte Twin:Charge X is a sound product for those who find the idea of messing around with AA batteries annoying. Using custom battery doors, the Twin:Charge X allows you to passively charge two Xbox controllers simultaneously, complete with a handy notification light. The capacity isn't as big as having two AA batteries, but if you want passive charging and a tidier playspace at the same time, look no further.
If all you want to do is watch a movie, using the Xbox controller can be a pain. That's where the media remote comes in handy. The media remote is always-on, ready to take your media control commands. It's also backlit, making it easy to find those buttons in a darkened room. If you're buying for someone who uses Xbox for Netflix or movies a lot, this is a great pick up.
Netflix for games
Xbox Game Pass is a new service from Microsoft, providing Netflix-like access to dozens and dozens of premium titles. It costs around $10 per month, and features huge blockbuster games from franchises like Halo and Gears of War. An Xbox Game Pass is a great way to try out titles before picking them up permanently, particularly since Game Pass subscribers get exclusive discounts. You can send Xbox Game Pass as a gift digitally.
To play games online with Xbox, you need Xbox Live Gold. Thankfully, it's not particularly expensive and also nets you up to four free games per month for Xbox One.Xbox Live Gold costs around $60 per year, and since the vast majority of Xbox owners want this, it's well worth considering.
Let them choose
You can buy Xbox gift credit digital keys from Amazon and Microsoft at various monetary increments. Most AAA "headline" games are typically $50 or $60 at launch, so bear that in mind if you plan to pick up a digital gift card. These cards also work for the Microsoft Store, for movies, PC games, and more.
Something for everyone!
A lot of the products I've used and tested personally, and if I had to recommend a couple above all others, one would be an Amazon Echo (opens in new tab). Alexa has totally supplanted Microsoft's own digital assistant, Cortana. While it'll never be as speedy as the native voice commands were with the old Xbox Kinect, Alexa is far, far more versatile. The second product I would recommend is Turtle Beach's Elite Atlas headset (opens in new tab). It has been quite a while since I've been so thoroughly impressed with the audio quality, style, construction, and price point of a headset. Turtle Beach really knocked it out of the park with that one.
Which ever you choose, as we head further into the holiday season, have a great time from everyone here at Windows Central!
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Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!
By Zac Bowden