Engadget's summer gear guide 2012: gaming

In the interest of keeping cool this summer, we've put together a list of the hottest products out right now. From smartphones to e-readers and everything in between, there's no time like the present to re-up that post-spring-cleaning stash. So grab a popsicle or a cold one and dive in -- the water's just right.

Engadget's summer gear guide 2012: gaming

The summer months are home to one of the most bittersweet events in gaming: the Electronic Entertainment Expo. E3 flaunts the year's biggest news in video games, exciting players with peeks at upcoming titles, glimpses of new consoles and soul-crushingly distant release dates. Need something to kill time with? We can help. Sony and Microsoft may not be unveiling next-generation hardware at this year's expo, but there are still a few things you can do to put yourself on the bleeding edge without a console. If you simply can't live without dedicated gaming hardware, however, you still have some options -- though you'll have to wait until the fall or beyond to get your hot little hands on Nintendo's upcoming Wii U. Read on, and we'll see what we can do about subduing your post-E3 anxiety.

Editors' Choice

Looking for something to lord over the competition at your next LAN party? Try the GTX 690, NVIDIA's flagship Kepler graphics card. The epitome of overkill, this $999 beast features two chunks of silicon based on the firm's latest GPU architecture, giving users the benefits of running a dual-card, SLI configuration with a smaller energy footprint. Too rich for your blood? Take a look at the $499 GTX 680 and $399 GTX 670 to melt your eyes without liquefying your assets.

Price: $1,000 at Newegg

If you're looking for the latest in console gaming, the PlayStation Vita is your ticket -- not to mention the industry's most powerful handheld to date. Dual-analog controls, a vivid, 5-inch OLED touchscreen and killer handheld graphics put the portable in a class of its own. Watch out for that battery life, though -- three hours isn't going to get you through even one state in that big cross-country road trip you were planning. If you're itching for a successor to the home consoles the Vita hopes to emulate, however, you'll need to wait for E3 and beyond. Until then, viva la Vita.

Price: $240 at Amazon

It may not be sporting NVIDIA's aforementioned Kepler silicone, but the MSI GT70 is still a heck of a gaming beast, flaunting an Intel Core i7-3610QM 2.3GHz processor, a luxurious 17.3-inch screen, an NVIDIA GTX 670M mobile GPU and one of the best keyboard and touchpad combos we've ever used. It's not the only game in town either -- PC manufacturers are building a new generation of gaming portables, from lightweight rigs like the Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3, to oversized behemoths like MSI's latest number. Sure, you may miss out on the geek cred of building your own gaming setup, but there's something to be said for the portability of a laptop.

Price: $2,000 at Newegg