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Back to school 2018: The best video game gear

From consoles to gaming PCs to must-have accessories, because you can't study all the time.

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Dan Ackerman

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1 of 14 Sarah Tew/CNET

You can't study all the time, so make sure there's enough gaming between classes with these top picks for both console and PC gaming. 

Check out picks in every category in our Back-to-School 2018 guide, as well as great games for your nongaming laptop and the fastest gaming laptops, ranked.

Disclaimer: CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of products featured in this gallery.

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2 of 14 Josh Miller

Microsoft Xbox One X

The Xbox One X is a powerful step-up console that supports 4K, HDR and offers improved visuals and framerates for certain games. But only splurge on this step-up model if you have a 4K TV to use it with. 

Find it on Amazon.

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3 of 14 Sarah Tew/CNET

Microsoft Xbox One S

It's 40 percent smaller than the original, can do 4K video streaming (but not 4K gaming) and even costs less. If you don't have an Xbox One, this is the one to get unless you going full 4K/HDR with the more expensive One X model. 

Find it on Amazon

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4 of 14 Sarah Tew/CNET

Sony PlayStation 4 Pro

Sony has a step-up model of the PS4, called the PlayStation 4 Pro. If you're buying a PlayStation 4 for the first time, the Pro is worth it for its larger 1TB hard drive and new Pro-enhanced games like God of War. 

Find it on Amazon.

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5 of 14 Aloysius Low/CNET

Sony PlayStation 4 Slim

For bargain hunters, the slimmer version of the PS4 is essentially the original console in a smaller body, and is often on sale, especially around holidays. 

Find it on Amazon.

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6 of 14 Sarah Tew/CNET

Nintendo Switch

It may be the greatest dorm room game console of all time. The brilliant Nintendo Switch brings back same-room gaming with it's clever mini-controllers and tons of multiplayer games. 

Find it on Amazon.

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SNES Classic

Anyone looking for a deep dive into the best of retro gaming will find a ton of classics here, from Mario Kart to Punch-Out to epic RPGs like Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Secret of Mana. 

Find it on Amazon.

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8 of 14 Sarah Tew/CNET

Razer Blade

For the new version of Razer's flagship laptop, the 14-inch display in the Blade gets an upgrade to a 15-inch screen, with a much thinner bezel around the screen, which gives the new Blade a more modern look.  It's also a killer slim gaming laptop, thanks to an Nvidia 1070 GPU.  

Find it on Amazon.

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9 of 14 Sarah Tew/CNET

Origin PC Eon15-S

PC-building company Origin PC is known for its massive and massively powerful gaming rigs. Fortunately, the company now makes a very powerful slim gaming laptop as well, and it even has an optional 4K screen.

Find it here on Amazon.

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10 of 14 Sarah Tew/CNET

Acer Nitro 5

Save a bit of money on your gaming laptop (good for schoolwork, too, of course). This Acer combines a mainstream Core i5 processor, with a decent Nvidia 1050Ti GPU, and can be found for under $800. 

Find it on Amazon.

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11 of 14 Sarah Tew/CNET

Asus ROG Zephyrus

This fun, slick-looking gaming laptop is just 19.9mm thick, even with a high-power graphics card and six-core CPU. Asus calls the cooling solution an Active Aerodynamic System, or AAS, and it's a bottom panel that lifts up when the laptop's lid is open, exposing a hidden vent used for cooling.

Find it on Amazon.

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12 of 14 Sarah Tew/CNET

Dell G3

Dell has made some excellent budget gaming laptops over the past couple of years. Now these system move from the Inspiron line to a new "G" series. For under $1,000, you can get some great mainstream gaming performance in a decent dorm-friendly design. 

Find it on Amazon.

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13 of 14 Sarah Tew/CNET

Amazon Basics mouse pad

Get in on the trend towards mega-mouse-pads, for less. This 15x17 mouse pad is under $12. It's on the thin side, at 2mm thick, but otherwise, I loved the feel. Name brand versions can cost more than $30. 

Find it on Amazon

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14 of 14 Sarah Tew/CNET

Lenovo Star Wars: Jedi Challenges

Want to know what all the cool kids are doing in the quad? Rocking some reasonably priced augmented reality headset action, complete with a prop lightsaber, of course. Slide your own phone into this AR rig and get a friend involved for the new two-player modes. 

Find it on Amazon.

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