Instead of eyeing that Apple Watch for Mother's Day, give her something that will really get her heart pumping instead of just tracking it. She may not have as much time as she used to for gaming, but you can make it more fun by equipping her for those days when she can grab a few stolen hours to beat back a demon incursion or even let her join your squad in battle.
At a loss as to what mom might like? Here are some suggestions to get you started, no matter how little -- or how much -- you want to spend.
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For the mobile-gaming mom: Nintendo Switch, Steelseries Stratus Duo or Nimbus controllers
If mom's snatching moments here and there to indulge her gaming, get her a console she can carry: the Nintendo Switch. If that's too expensive a gift ($300), a controller designed to work with her phone is a lot more affordable and still gives her an edge when jumping into a quick battle royale while carpooling. The Steelseries Nimbus (see at Amazon) is a good choice if she uses an iPhone, while the Stratus Duo (see at Amazon) goes with her Galaxy -- or any other Android phone or Windows PC.
For the traveling mom: Asus Zenbook 15, HP Spectre 15 x360
When mom goes on the road for work, the Zenbook (see at Amazon) and Spectre are a couple of laptops she'll feel comfortable pulling out in a meeting but still will let her play some lightweight games in a hotel room at night. Both have a little more graphics oomph than a typical thin-and-light notebook, enough to power a platformer, puzzler or 8-bit adventure. The convertible Spectre is convenient for gaming at bedtime: Just flip it into the tent position, connect the controller and she can Gris until her eyes close.
For the cables-be-gone mom: Logitech Lightspeed G903 mouse, G613 keyboard and HyperX Cloud Flight headset
They may thrive on the gore of a slash-and-hack, but some will still shudder when they see the unsightly cables that enable their zombie-killing sprees. For the mom who likes an uncluttered gaming space, Logitech's sub-$100 each wireless mouse and mechanical keyboard (see at Amazon) play way above their price. And the $120 HyperX Cloud Flight (see at Amazon) is one of the lightest, most comfortable headsets you can find, but with sufficient battery life to make it through the war.
For the budget-conscious mom: Dell G5 15, Aukey KM-G6 keyboard, Logitech G300s mouse
If "why did you spend so much on me?" is a familiar refrain, reassure mom that you didn't with one these cheap-for-their kind presents. The 15-inch Dell G5 is one of the best budget gaming laptops we've tested -- and the design doesn't scream "I game!" -- 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 mom.
For the cool mom: Anything Razer
Razer's gaming gear is almost uniformly great, if pricey, and doesn't go overboard on the gaming bling. Mom would be proud to tote one of the company's laptops into a board meeting, and the accessories can be as tasteful as she wants -- or even pink, if that's how she rolls. There's also a Mercury White model of the Blade 15. And the laptops are fast, despite being thin and relatively light, so they're up for accompanying Lara Croft on her latest adventure.
For the unconventional mom: Roccat Kova ambidextrous mouse, Microsoft Xbox Adaptive Controller
When mom's in that demon-killing mood, she should be able to frag with the best of them. Help her overcome the annoyance of gaming in a world designed around right-handed people or the frustration of using mainstream game controllers. Like the Logitech G300s mentioned above, the Roccat Kova (see at Amazon) is an ambidextrous mouse that feels responsive and comfortable in women's smaller hands, comes in a snazzy white and costs less than $40. For more challenging input issues, 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.
CNET's Mother's Day gift guide
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