LAS VEGAS — Altec Lansing makes different kinds of audio products, but until now, it hadn't dipped a toe into gaming peripherals. Considering the continually growing size of the gaming market, though, it should come as no surprise that the US company would want in.
But for a company just getting started in gaming, you wouldn't expect the breadth of the all-new Premier Gaming range Altec Lansing had on display during CES 2020. This collection of products includes accessories, audio and non-audio, for all three major game consoles, PC and mobile, boasting some unusual items and features, and apparently at a range of attractive prices.
Here's what to expect on the gaming front from Altec Lansing this year.
Gaming audio gear
Altec Lansing has introduced the Combat Buds in-ear gaming headphones for PS4, Xbox One and Switch, colored blue, green, and red respectively, although they’re all cross compatible, as well as featuring both an inline microphone and a detachable flexible microphone arm depending on how you want to talk to your teammates.
There’s also the Combat Buds Pro, which has a wireless neckband design instead, handy if you don’t want to be tethered to your controller.
In addition to the console gaming headphones, Altec Lansing also plans to offer charging docks for the controllers of all three consoles, plus other accessories like braided cables with reinforced connectors, which should stand up to much more punishment than cheaper leads.
It gets more interesting for PC gamers, where you once again have a choice of headphones and earbuds. Altec Lansing is looking to impress you with a full range of colorful peripherals.
To start with, there’s the AL series of gaming headsets, with the top of the line AL6000 headset (pictured above in its blue color option as part of the PlayStation-themed accessories) which boasts surround sound audio, a comfy foam-lined band design, USB or aux connection, an inbuilt flexible microphone, and the mandatory RGB lighting to show you mean business when you sit down to play.
If the inbuilt mike isn’t enough for you, there are two different kinds of USB microphones, aimed at streaming, podcasting or brightly lit VOIP calls. The simple version, called the FlexChat, has a small mike on the end of a bendy metal arm, allowing you to position it wherever you like, with a big obvious mute button in the center of the base for turning it on or off. The fancier version, which was so new that Altec Lansing hadn’t even named it in time for CES, also gets a pop filter and windscreen, which will help keep more unwanted noise out of what you’re recording.
Gaming mice and keyboards
You can buy a gaming mouse and mousemat from Altec Lansing — both peripherals feature RGB lighting — as well as two different keyboards, one with mechanical switches and another with semi-mechanical switches. The latter comes with dedicated volume controls, and also a slot to prop your phone up in so you can quickly glance down to read your notifications while you’re mid-battle online.
Eyewear for gamers
If you’re worried about straining your eyes from all this Altec Lansing-enabled gaming, the company is also introducing two pairs of anti-strain glasses with built-in Bluetooth speakers, which will hopefully let you play more comfortably for longer. There’s a standard square version (as seen in the image above), as well as a wrap-around pair that look more like a pair of sunglasses.
On the mobile front, Altec Lansing is pushing its Battle Grounds Slide, a Bluetooth gaming grip which sandwiches your phone between two halves of an Xbox-style controller. But the company's Free Play Qi was perhaps the strangest mobile accessory I’ve ever seen. A cluster of small suction cups attach the charger to the back of your Qi wireless charging-compatible phone for 10W fast charging.
The back of the Free Play Q also has a ring you can fold out for extra grip or to use as a stand. I can understand that if you don’t want your hand getting tangled in a charging cable, or want to put a grip on your phone, then perhaps this is a good idea, but the suction cups? I can’t decide whether it’s more ridiculous or ingenious.
All of these products will be launching in spring this year, with prices yet to be confirmed. So if you’re looking for a cost-efficient way to add to your collection of peripherals, or to kit your new console, phone or PC out with every accessory you need and more besides, then keep an eye on the Premier Gaming range.
Be sure to check out our CES 2020 hub for the latest news and hands-on impressions out of Las Vegas.