(Pocket-lint) - You've got an amazing gaming machine and a dedicated play space to enjoy it in, but if you've already upgraded your gaming PC to the max, what else can you do to improve your gaming area? Other than adding a beer fridge, a foot massager and a fancy gaming chair of course.
We've been on the lookout for ways to enhance our gaming experience to make it just that little bit snazzier. Turns out there are a number of pretty awesome bits of kit you can add to your system to make it even more incredible. Some of them are even just software updates too.
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Philips Hue Light Sync
Philips Hue Light Sync also means you can easily set up Hue lights to respond to what's happening on your PC or Mac.
For gamers, this means immersive and reactive lighting which changes according to what's happening in the game you're playing.
If you already own Philips Hue lights then setup is a breeze. Simply download the Philips Hue Sync tool for your computer, connect it to your Hue bridge and then set up the entertainment area to include the right lights and you're away.
The settings here allow you to do everything from getting the lights to respond to general screen use, games, music and video, as well as adjusting how the lights respond to each. If you have a multi-screen setup you can choose your preferred screen for the app to respond to and even set up keyboard shortcuts for quickly switching between modes.
This setup works with any colour Philips Hue lights you have in your gaming area, so it's an easy setup to get started with.
If you don't have any lights currently, we'd recommend purchasing a Philips Hue LightStrip and Bridge kit. This is an excellent way to add back-lighting to your gaming area and really enhance your gaming experience.
Elgato Light Strip
- Ultra-bright, dimmable lights with 2,000 lumens
- 16 million colours and warm to cold white controls
- 3,500 - 6,500K temperature adjustment
- Controllable via Steam Deck
- Flicker-free PWM lighting
Elgato is well known for its streaming gear and the Elgato Light Strip fits nicely into this line-up. Designed to help creators make their content stand out from the crowd, it's a simple lighting system that is easy to control and offers not only bright lighting, but a variety of colour and warmth options to brighten up your life.
This light strip system sticks to any surface and uses Pulse Width Modulation to ensure the LEDs light in such a way that they don't produce a flicker on camera.
This means controllable, satisfying and eye-pleasing lighting for your video without the hassle and frustration of cheaper lighting strips. Naturally, the system is also controllable with Elgato Control Center from your PC or Mac, as well as from your phone with ease.
If you have a Stream Deck, it'll work with that too. What more could you want?
NZXT HUE 2 V2 Ambient RGB lighting kit
- Customisable RGB lighting strips for PC gaming
- Software controlled custom lighting options
- Up to 40 LEDs total
- Fits various size monitors
If you're the sort of person that loves bright, colourful backlighting for your gaming monitor, then NZXT has the solution for you.
The NZXT HUE 2 V2 Ambient RGB lighting kit includes RGB capable LED strips that allow you to backlight your monitor with ease. These strips come in different lengths with up to 10 LEDs per strip. You can also purchase different kits for different sized monitors so HUE 2 caters to everything from 21-inch monitors to 35-inch ultra wides.
The kit comes with cleaning wipes, a handful of LED strips, a control box and power cables.
These sticky-backed RGB strips are, for the most part, a doddle to install with easy to follow instructions show you where best to fit the varying length strips depending on your monitor size to get the most out of the lighting.
Once installed and plugged in, these lights can then be controlled via NZXT's CAM software.
Lighting options in there include numerous colour presets from fixed colours to breathing, fading, pulsing, or waving in a variety of colours that includes rainbow options.
The HUE 2 V2 Ambient lighting kit also allows you to sync with music and audio according to levels, bass or gain. If that's not enough, you can also take advantage of settings to respond to in-game goings on. This is also our favourite feature. Known as "Ambient mode" this setting changes the colours along the edges of the monitor to match what's on your screen. That means if there's a bright sunny day in the game world, you get a nice blue hue on the top of your monitor and a green grass glow at the bottom. That ambient lighting then increases or decrease in brightness and colour to match your surroundings. This feature makes for a surprisingly more immersive experience in your favourite games and really lits up the room nicely too.
This is an affordable lighting system that's a great addition to your gaming space.
- Customisable RGB lighting panels
- Google Home, Amazon Alexa and IFTTT compatible
- Works with Apple HomeKit
If custom lighting appeals, then Nanoleaf Lines are another excellent option for upgrading your gaming area.
These are customisable lights that offer diffused lighting by bouncing the light off your wall. With Lines you can create various patterns on your wall and spice up your gaming area.
This gives you the power not only to customise the lighting the way you want it via your phone, but also to control it with your voice or setup actions for the lights to react in certain ways - turning on at certain hours, turning off when you go to bed, etc.
On Windows or Mac, you can download the Screen Mirroring app and choose various modes to mirror the lighting and colours on your screen. There are various modes to choose from including bright, high impact modes and ones that are colourful but subtle.
Razer and Nanoleaf Chroma compatibility
- Razer Synapse compatible
- Lighting sync across multiple devices
- Dynamic lighting across various games
If you're interested in Nanoleaf lights and you're also a fan of Razer's gaming gear, then there's some good news as both companies have worked to make the tech cross-compatible.
Within the Razer Synapse software, you have the ability to select Nanoleaf as a compatible "module" once that's done you can then sync the lighting within Chroma Studio. This means you can make the Canvas light panels match the lighting on your keyboard, choosing from the various lighting effects and even customising on a panel-by-panel basis.
You can also opt to sync that lighting with Razer Chroma compatible games (the list of which is constantly growing) for a more immersive and interesting gaming experience.
Another interesting highlight of this integration is if you have Nanoleaf Canvas panels, you can also customise the touch functionality to carry out actions on your PC - launching programs, skipping/pausing/playing music, activating a button on your keyboard, etc.
Razer and Philips Hue compatibility
When Philips Hue Light Sync arrived, Philips partnered with Razer to tie the lighting into the Razer Chroma ecosystem.
This means if you own Razer gaming mice, headsets or keyboards that are Chroma compatible then you can pair these up with Philips Hue lighting in your gaming area. We did this with the Philips Hue light strip and a number of spotlights and the results were pretty impressive.
The setup is pretty simple too. Firstly you need to add an "entertainment group" within the Philips Hue app, then connect the Philips Hue module within Razer's Synpase 3 software. The software then talks you through pairing with your Philips Hue bridge and then you're pretty much ready to go.
Once it's all set up, you can adjust the lighting to your liking. More importantly, when it's turned on your Razer gear and Philips Hue lighting will respond dynamically depending on what Razer Chroma compatible games you're playing.
Playing Worms W.M.D, for example, the Razer gear we were using turned a nice shade of red when we were blown up by enemy worms while during normal play the main keys were highlighted in different colours to make them easily accessible.
This system not only allows for a lot of lighting customisation but allows for brilliant syncing across a number of devices. Razer also offers an RGB lighting system in the form of the Chroma Hardware Development Kit. This can be installed on your desk, inside your gaming machine or on the rear of monitors to offer some more synchronised lighting that's easily customisable within the Synapse software.
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