Accessories are great when you find some that make your phone or tablet do more, and that’s especially true with bang-for-the-buck options.

Phones and tablets are already very capable in their own right, but there’s always room for improvement or enhancement. Whether it’s watching content on a bigger screen, juicing up a battery or being productive, these affordable accessories are worth it.

Google Chromecast

By now, the Google Chromecast is a well-known device, and one you may have already used or owned. It’s a small, yet truly versatile dongle that only needs a spare HDMI port on your TV to help you stream a wide variety of video content through compatible smartphone apps.

The Chromecast lets you access over 200,000 TV shows and movies, 30 million songs, sports, games and radio stations. It works with iOS and Android phones, iPads and Android tablets, Windows PCs, Macs and Chromebooks. That kind of flexibility should serve you well when it comes to bringing content from the small screen to the big screen.

You do usually have two options with a Chromecast, particularly with Android devices. When you need to, you can mirror your phone or tablet screen to play onto your TV. It’s a great workaround for sharing photos or playing content from apps that aren’t Cast-enabled.

You may even have the chance to use the Chromecast on a hotel TV, or take it with you on vacation to use wherever you’re staying. At home or away, it’s easy to set up and connect to your Wi-Fi network to watch what you want.

Insignia 15000mAh Dual USB Power Bank

Taking a block of power with you can be a lifesaver, and that’s precisely what a power bank is for. If keeping your phone or tablet going for longer on a given day is important, this is one way to do it.

The Insignia 15000mAh Dual USB Power Bank is bulky, but it packs in enough juice to refill the average phone or tablet at least two or three more times. That’s handy when your device’s battery level hits a critical low and you desperately need to keep it on to finish a task or stay in touch.

There isn’t anything too special about this beyond that. It does come with its own 30-cm USB cable, though you can also just plug in your own. Any mobile device or small gadget that can charge through USB will work here. Both USB ports are USB-A with 2.1Amp output, so you can do two devices at once.

If 15000mAh is too much for you, you can always go for something with smaller capacity. They also come in 8000, 10000, 12000 and 20000, if you need even more power.

Adonit 4 Pro for iOS and Android

Using a stylus with a phone or tablet is often a personal choice, and if you count yourself among them, the Adonit 4 Pro might be one to look at. There is an elegance to it that makes it look like something more refined, rather than just a run-of-the-mill stylus.

It’s a single-piece design that uses a soft touch precision disc at the tip to reduce friction with phone or tablet screens. That gives it a fine point of contact, yet wide enough to feel like a fuller touch, the way a finger does. There are various other stylus’ you can try for artistic purposes if you like to draw, though the Adonit 4 Pro can do that job too. You can also write or jot down notes easily.

It has a lightweight aluminum body with a copper twist cap and a grooved pen clip to latch onto a pocket or bag. There is no way to attach it to a phone or tablet, so that clip will be crucial in making sure you don’t misplace or lose it. There are no electric components here, like a battery. It’s low-tech with the potential for a high return in usability.

It is compatible with a wide range of devices, including iOS and Android phones and tablets. That can be an iPhone, iPad, Samsung, Google, or whatever else you use with a touchscreen.

Flexible Cell Phone Tripod and Bluetooth Remote Control Camera Shutter

Photographers and self-respecting selfie experts may like what the CamKix Flexible Tripod with Universal Phone Holder and Bluetooth Remote Control brings to any table or flat surface.

This kit is made up of a flexible tripod, phone holder, remote control and cleaning cloth. The holder keeps the phone in place, while the remote pairs with the phone via Bluetooth to make it easy to shoot hands-free. Still photos and great video are less cumbersome that way.

The tripod’s legs are maneuverable, where you can twist them in any position to place it anywhere. That lets you wrap it onto a pole or branch, hang it on a fence or place it on an uneven surface to give your phone a great vantage point. The holder is pretty versatile, capable of dealing with phones that are between 2.24-inches and 3.18-inches wide.

You only need to pair the remote with the phone once, and it carries a range of up to 30 feet. It also works with any camera app you like to use, filling in for the shutter onscreen. Just press and the photo snaps.

 

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Editor Cellular/Mobile Technology
I’m a fortunate man in being able to do the fun job of following and reporting on one of the most exciting industries in the world today. In my time covering consumer tech, I’ve written for a number of publications, including the Globe and Mail, Yahoo! Canada, CBC.ca, Canoe, Digital Trends, MobileSyrup, G4 Tech, PC World, Faze and AppStorm. I’ve also appeared on TV as a tech expert for Global, CTV and the Shopping Channel.