Looking for that perfect gaming-related gift for a loved one or friend? These 3 great products should hopefully give you some inspiration!
Gameband + Minecraft (£64,99)
By this point, even the most infrequent of gamers should have heard of Minecraft – the block-building game which has over the last few years it has taken the world by storm. It’s generated a vast fan base consisting of all ages and has inspired creativity in many. It comes as no surprise then, that there are some incredible toys and spin-offs themed around the game. So why not take it one step further and combine Minecraft with, say, a smart band? Say no more, as the Gameband + Minecraft will fit all of your needs. It’s essentially a flexible bracelet with a USB 3.0 port, which backs up your Minecraft worlds automatically. You can then plug it into another computer and have instant access to your worlds, without any faffing with complicated installations. It also has a red LED display and an impressive 20-day battery.
The LED display is activated by pressing a small button on the front. It can display the time, date and customisable animated sequences; you can use these customisable animations to mirror your personality or taste in any way you like. The band is made out of a fairly hard rubber which bends easily whilst still providing plenty of grip. Although the band doesn’t slide up and down my wrist, the lack of adjustments mean that it’s not the most comfortable wearable out there. This may be different for children however, as the band comes in multiple sizes.
Using the band is easy: you just detach it in the centre (revealing the USB 3.0 port), pop it into your computer, and launch the software. It’s compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux, and stores all of the files necessary for launching Minecraft. Once opened and updated, the game is actually pre-installed with a selection of interesting custom maps, ready to explore. Once finished, your worlds are saved onto the device and also backed up to the secure online servers. There is also a separate piece of software on the band which is specifically designed to customise the display and animations.
At £64.99 the Minecraft + Gameband isn’t exactly ‘cheap’, but it’s an incredible device for any Minecraft-obsessed player who wants to take their Minecraft worlds on the move. It’s a great gift for children and would make a perfect Christmas present. You can find out more and pick up a Gameband + Minecraft at www.gameband.com, or check out how it was made here.
Minecraft Action Figures (From £7.99)
Following on with a Minecraft theme, we have undoubtedly some of the coolest figures which have come out in recent years. We’ve had the chance to look at the Steve and Horse pack, as well as the Creeper pack. The Steve and Horse pack comes with a fully articulated Steve, articulated Chestnut Horse with removable saddle and bridle, hay block and apple. The Creeper pack comes with the articulated Creeper enemy, a block of TNT and gunpowder.
These action figures can be posed into many different positions, letting children tell their own Minecraft stories with their friends. Each of the figures are intricately detailed to mirror the game world nicely, with accuracies going down to every last pixel. They are made out of a very durable material so that children can play with them without any damage to the figures. There are many different boxes to collect and each come with new parts and facts about the game – these could potentially become huge collector’s items in the future. The Minecraft action figures retail from £7.99, and you can learn more about them and lots of other Minecraft products at Character Options.
Microsoft Band 2 (£199.99)
Although not necessarily a ‘gaming’ item, the Microsoft Band 2 can really help you improve your fitness game. The Microsoft Band 2 is a smart band designed to help you increase your fitness and productivity levels. It has 11 different sensors to track your heart rate, calorie burn, sleep quality, and plenty of different sports and exercises. To start with, it’s one of the most aesthetically pleasing bands I’ve used. There is a power button and an ‘action’ button on the side of the watch face, but apart from that it is controlled using only the touchscreen.
Using the Microsoft Band 2 is straightforward. You can raise it to your face to automatically switch on the screen to show you to the time and date. You can then view all of your ‘tiles’ (built-in applications), or statistics such as steps taken, calories burnt and heart rate. Opening one of the tiles is done with a simple tap, and then you can navigate them using the touchscreen controls. Overall the user interface is intuitive and efficient, meaning you can easily navigate it on the move. One of the best features compared to other bands and smartwatches is that it works with iPhone and Android, as well as Microsoft’s own phones.
The Microsoft Health app allows you to customise the colours and tiles, check through your daily insights and create custom workouts. Syncing your phone to the band also lets you push notifications, texts, calls, emails, and plenty of other data to your band. There’s a range of tiles which you can install onto your Microsoft Band 2, ranging from productivity apps like email and texts to social networks like Twitter and Facebook. There is also a selection of fitness-oriented apps for specific sports such as golf, running, cycling and general fitness.
Despite a few minor issues and features missing from iOS and Android, the Microsoft Band 2 proves to be a capable contender in the wearable tech marketplace. Compared to the more expensive wearables, the Microsoft Band 2 retails at a much more reasonable £199.99. Get ahead of the curve and find out more details about the Microsoft Band 2 on the Microsoft website.