Welcome to Engadget's holiday gift guide! Head back to our hub to see the rest of the product guides as they're added throughout the month.
This is an especially good year for gamers: With major consoles from Microsoft and Sony debuting just in time for the holidays, there are some pretty obvious items to add to the wish list. If hand-held gaming is more your thing, don't fret; we've got you covered, too.
On the Cheap
Don't just tell the youngsters how gaming used to be "back in the day." Show them with the Hyperkin Retron 5. Provided you still have all those old-school cartridges lying around, the Retron 5 boasts compatibility with a wide array of consoles like the NES, SNES, Genesis and Mega Drive. It can even play Game Boy and Game Boy Advance games as well. Unfortunately, the recent announcement of a delay until early 2014 means loved ones may have to settle for an IOU for now. -- Philip Palermo, Copy Editor
Key specs: Wireless Bluetooth controller, HDMI, compatible with several home and portable video game consoles.
Price: $100 in early 2014
The 2DS may not possess the 3D display that defined the current generation of Nintendo handhelds, but it's almost a steal at $130. With a quirky, wedge-shaped design, it allows you to enjoy Nintendo 3DS and eShop titles, as well as the huge back catalog of DS games. -- Jamie Rigg, Associate Editor
Key specs: Dual-display setup (one touchscreen), 3D camera, stylus, WiFi, 4GB SD card.
Price: $130 from Best Buy
A portable way to play PlayStation 4 titles? That's just what Sony's handheld, the PlayStation Vita, is made for. It's great for playing indie games on the go as well, and the dual touchpads improve the hand-held gaming experience. -- Joseph Volpe, Senior Editor
Key specs: 5-inch (960 x 544) multi-touch display, quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, front and rear cameras, dual touchpads.
Price: $200 on Amazon
A decent gaming PC with a new-ish NVIDIA GPU is a prerequisite for buying Shield, but if you're equipped, it's a worthwhile device for more than just PC-game streaming. I love using it as a portable video player, for instance. And though it's a bit unreasonable for the price, Shield makes a great portable music machine. -- Ben Gilbert, Senior Editor
Key specs: 5-inch (1,280 x 720) multi-touch display, quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 4 CPU, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0.
Price: $300 on Amazon
Money is no object
You could buy both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, dropping a total of near $1,000. Or you could buy the PlayStation 4, which offers a similar experience to that of Xbox One for $100 less. If you want next-gen games this holiday at a semi-reasonable price, the PlayStation 4 is your only choice. -- Ben Gilbert
Key specs: AMD Jaguar CPU, AMD next-generation Radeon graphics engine, 8GB of RAM, USB 3.0, Ethernet, HDMI out.
Price: $400 from Best Buy
Microsoft's latest game console may be a little more expensive than its competition, but let's be honest: You aren't buying it for Kinect anyway. The question isn't, "do I want an Xbox One?" It's, "Do I want to play Halo 5, Titanfall, Ryse or Forza Motorsport 5?" If you answered, "Yes," the Xbox One is your console. -- Sean Buckley, Associate Editor
Key specs: AMD 8-core CPU, AMD GPU, 8GB of RAM, 500GB of storage, slot-loading Blu-ray drive, Kinect motion sensor.
Price: $500 on Amazon
Intel's Haswell chips have drastically improved the battery life not only of mainstream laptops, but also of beefy gamer and pro graphics machines like the 17-inch Razer Blade Pro. Combined with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M graphics chip, 1080p display and a 256GB SSD, the main processor will handle pretty much anything you throw at it. At this price, you may as well throw in an amazing game like Dishonored to go with it. -- Sharif Sakr, UK Editor
Key specs: 17.3-inch (1,920 x 1,080) display, 2.4GHz quad-core Core i7-4700HQ processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M with 2GB of dedicated memory.
Price: $2,499 on Amazon
The holidays are a perfect time to jump on the noise-canceling headphone bandwagon, wouldn't you say? Sony's over-ears will blur out the real world with your choice of airplane, bus and office modes. Enter the raffle below for a chance to win a pair, and make sure to check out our giveaway rules.a Rafflecopter giveaway
- Entries are handled through the Rafflecopter widget above. Comments are no longer accepted as valid methods of entry. You may enter without any obligation to social media accounts, though we may offer them as opportunities for extra entries. Your email address is required so we can get in touch with you if you win, but it will not be given to third parties.
- Contest is open to all residents of the 50 States and the District of Columbia, 18 or older! Sorry, we don't make this rule (we hate excluding anyone).
- Winners will be chosen randomly. One winner will receive one (1) pair of Sony Digital Noise Canceling Headphones.
- If you are chosen, you will be notified by email. Winners must respond within three days of being contacted. If you do not respond within that period, another winner will be chosen. Make sure that the account you use to enter the contest includes a contact email. Social media contact details are not carried over into our system.
- This unit is purely for promotional giveaway. Sony and Engadget/AOL are not held liable to honor warranties, exchanges or customer service.
- The full list of rules, in all its legalese glory, can be found here.
- Entries can be submitted until December 31st, 2013 at 11:59PM ET. Good luck!
Sony PlayStation 4
Microsoft Xbox One