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Gifts for the graduating gamer

They've worked hard -- reward them with some gear to play hard.

Sarah Tew/CNET

For the graduate who's looking forward to Borderlands 3 or The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening more than a new smartwatch, feed their need for speed with a great gift to celebrate.

At a loss as to what will thrill them? Here are some suggestions to get you started, no matter how little -- or how much -- you want to spend. 

Disclosure: CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.

For the cutting-edge gamer: Oculus Quest

Sarah Tew/CNET

While the app library for Oculus' new headset is small, it's the best wireless option available -- perfect for remaining untangled in a small dorm room or bedroom. But it provides an immersive VR experience with great controls and full positional tracking -- no phone, PC or game console, and costs $400, which isn't bad. If they're more PC-inclined, the pricey $200 Razer Nari Ultimate (see at Best Buy) headset for PC or PS4 adds state-of-the-art haptic feedback for wholly immersive gameplay.

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For the gamer on the go: Nintendo Switch, SteelSeries Stratus Duo or Nimbus controllers

James Martin/CNET

For snatching moments between classes or on lunch break, get a portable console: the Nintendo Switch. If that's too expensive a gift at $300, a controller designed to work with a phone is a lot more affordable and still gives provides an edge when jumping into a quick battle royale. The $50 SteelSeries Nimbus (see at Amazon) is good for iPhone devotees, while the $60 Stratus Duo (see at Amazon) goes with a Galaxy -- or any other Android phone or Windows PC. 

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For the cable-free space: Logitech Lightspeed G903 mouse, G613 keyboard, SteelSeries Arctis 7 headset

Sarah Tew/CNET

When you're sharing space with a roommate, clutter is the enemy if you want to keep the peace. Logitech's sub-$100 each wireless mouse and mechanical keyboard (see at Amazon) play way above their price. And the $126 Arctis 7 wireless headset (see at Amazon) is one of the best around without being the most expensive one, too.

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For the budget-conscious gifter: Dell G5 15, Aukey KM-G6 keyboard, Logitech G300s mouse

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If you just finished paying the bills for higher education or are just embarking on that journey, the thought of another big outlay probably makes you shudder. The 15-inch Dell G5 is one of the best budget gaming laptops we've tested and it starts at only $900. Not a cheap gift, but a great value. If your budget only stretches to accessories, the Aukey KM-G6 (see at Amazon) is a terrific-feeling mechanical keyboard (I'm typing on it right now) with RGB lighting that costs less than $35. The Logitech G300s (see at Amazon) is a highly rated wired mouse for only $20 that's good for the righty or lefty.

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For the new professional: Razer Blade 15

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Razer's gaming gear is almost uniformly great, if pricey, and doesn't go overboard on the gaming bling. The $1,500 Blade 15 has the minimalist aesthetic to look at home in a sea of MacBooks, but is ready for mayhem after a long day in a new job. And the laptops are fast, despite being thin and relatively light.

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For the unconventional grad: Microsoft Xbox Adaptive Controller

James Martin/CNET

When you're in that demon-killing mood, you should be able to frag with the best of them. Help your favorite grad overcome the frustration of using mainstream game controllers. Microsoft's $100 Xbox Adaptive Controller maps all the typical controller functions to a design which requires less coordination to operate. While it works with an Xbox console, it also works with PC games.

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