Getting a new smartphone or looking to do more with your current one? That’s where the right accessories can make a difference.
There’s probably no more personal and oft-used a device than a cell phone. The sheer depth of what mobile devices can do is still evolving, but when there’s a need to protect them or expand on what they do, you have a range of accessories to choose from.
This isn’t so much about specific products, but rather product types. Let’s go over some of the most impactful.
As phones get thinner, lighter and more elegant, they’re also getting delicate. Cases are usually the first line of defence for any phone, though they vary in build quality and purpose. A thin and flexible silicone case isn’t going to feel or look the same than a rugged polycarbonate case. One is practical whereas the other is highly functional.
Others are so functional, they’re waterproof. Despite more and more handsets coming out with water-resistant designs, saltwater is one of those things they’re not built for. Waterproof cases are, and that’s why extra protection is necessary if you’re thinking of some underwater photos or video.
Cases do come in a variety of different materials, including fabric, leather, soft plastic and hard plastic. Some are fashionable, with specific branding, like Kate Spade, Ferrari, Viva Madrid and others. Some are opaque to show off a colour or design, others see-through to let the phone’s own colour and branding shine through.
With dozens of manufacturers and hundreds, if not thousands, of different cases to choose from, you have a case for any need or occasion to protect your phone.
A case is important, but a screen protector covers the most fragile part of the whole device: the screen. Some handsets have Gorilla Glass displays that are tough and resilient, but they’re not universal, and they can still be susceptible to the daily wear and tear of oils and fingernails.
It used to be that thin plastic covers were the primary protective option, but not anymore. Tempered glass screen protectors have been around a few years, and they keep getting better. And not only are they getting easier to find, they’re also made for a variety of different brands and devices.
Whether you have an iPhone, Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy or something else, there’s a good bet a piece of glass to keep that screen spotless isn’t far away. Like anything, a glass screen protector can’t guarantee that a phone’s screen won’t crack, but it does improve the likelihood that it won’t after an accidental fall. In some instances, you may be able to match a tough case with a glass screen protector to cover it on both sides.
A phone’s battery is its lifeblood. Once that runs out, the phone can’t do much without a charger. Newer handsets have been coming with quick charging cables and wall chargers to give them a boost in a short spurt.
That’s only part of how charging a phone has been changing. Wireless charging is now far more common, with many flagship devices supporting the feature. Whether you get a wireless charging pad that lies flat or is upright depends on what you’re looking for. Either way, the good news is that any phone supporting it works on any Qi-enabled wireless charger. It’s become an industry standard now.
What about when you’re on the go? Take a portable power bank with you. If you’re concerned about lasting a full day, or you want to make sure you can keep the phone going for a long time, one of these could be indispensable. Charging on the go isn’t easy when you have no outlet or port to plug into—something a power bank can solve right out of your pocket or bag.
The headphone jack is slowly starting to disappear from smartphones. In some cases, no headphones nor headphone adapters come with the phone when you buy it. You could always go the wired route through an adapter, but if you’re thinking of cutting cords out, wireless headphones abound.
Bluetooth is the dominant wireless protocol they work on, so this really comes down to what kind of style you’re looking for. Want to fully cover your ears with over-ear cans? Maybe wireless in-ear headphone with sporty designs to feel light on your ears during a run or workout? Or how about cutting the cord altogether and going with truly wireless headphones?
All of those, and more, are available, and they’re no longer niche. Every major headphone brand is in on the action, offering different designs, including Beats, Bose, Sennheiser, Sony, Jabra, Jaybird, Skullcandy and Monster, among many others.
Your phone is probably the primary camera you shoot photos with, so why not take that to another level? Selfie sticks are an easy one to consider, but other accessories can make taking photos fun and experimental at the same time.
You could try a tripod to position your phone for more interesting shots and different angles. Turn on the timer on your phone’s camera app, set the phone where you want to shoot from, press the shutter and let it snap on its own. You may be surprised at how good the result is. Tripods come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, some of which are flexible enough to wrap around objects. Bring the legs together and any tripod can double as a selfie stick.
If you really want to take video to another level by smoothing out your footage, a mechanical gimbal might be a way to go. Hands have a tendency to shake and move too much to stay steady, whereas a gimbal can feel smooth and effortless.
Phone lenses could sometimes use an optical boost, which is why lens attachments are available. Some of these come in kits with multiple lenses included, while others are single purpose. No matter what you go with, you’re bettering the odds that you’ll improve your mobile photography game. Good pictures are priceless, especially when you want to preserve great memories.
Check out all the different accessories made for cell phones, where there is more to browse through.