Did someone on your holiday shopping list pick up a new smartphone this year? Or maybe they have an older one but aren’t making the most of it. Either way, here are some great ideas for gifts that will help them get the most from their smartphone.

Otterbox case.jpgCases & Screen Protectors

Smartphone cases can serve multiple purposes. They help to protect the device from accidental drops, bumps and scratches. That’s the big one. Look no further than offerings like the Otterbox Defender series to see just how effectively your smartphone can be protected. A case can also add a fresh new look to a tired phone, or turn any smartphone into a stylish accessory.

There are also specialty cases with features ranging from being waterproof to doubling your device’s battery life with a built-in auxiliary battery (my wife swears by a battery case for her iPhone 5s) or even Lego compatibility.

Then there are screen protectors, specially formulated plastic film or even thin slices of glass that adhere to the smartphone screen to prevent the expense of a shattered display after an accidental drop.

Bluetooth Speaker

One of the best gifts you can get anyone who has a smartphone: a Bluetooth speaker.

With the exception of the HTC One M8 (which has dual Boom Sound speakers), playing music out loud on a smartphone isn’t the greatest experience. Tinny and low volume is the norm.

beats speaker.jpg

Add a Bluetooth speaker and suddenly the sound is good enough to be the focal point of the party. Many Bluetooth speakers are portable, with built-in rechargeable batteries, so they can take the sound with them.

Even if music isn’t their thing, Bluetooth speakers can often also be used for hands-free conference calling.

Morphie battery.jpgPortable Battery Packs

Anyone who spends all day on their smartphone knows battery life can be a challenge. And what about those long weekends when you don’t want to be lugging a recharger around?

Portable batteries are something any smartphone owner will appreciate.  

There are the cases with built-in batteries I mentioned previously. But there are also hundreds of external battery packs, ranging from something you can keep on a keychain or a tube resembling a lipstick to a phone-sized fast charger with the capacity and speed to fully charge a smartphone in just an hour.

Always keep one of these portable battery packs in your purse, backpack, briefcase or pocket and never worry again about smartphone battery anxiety.


Finally, one of the coolest ways for someone to get even more out of their smartphone —while having to pull it out of their pocket even less— is a smartwatch. These two devices are made for each other.

I had the opportunity to test a Moto X smartphone and Moto 360 smartwatch a few weeks ago. While the Moto X was a great smartphone, the Moto 360 made it even better. With the two paired, I no longer had to check the smartphone every time I received a message or notification —I just glanced at my wrist for all the details.

Moto 360.jpg

The smartwatch also supported Google Now, so I could ask about the weather (again, without having to fire up the phone), take voice notes, control music playing on the phone and it also doubled as a fitness tracker. 

Wearables have taken off this year, so there are plenty of different smartwatches to choose from, including popular choices like the Pebble.


Brad Moon
Editor Computing solutions
I’m a long-time electronics and gadget geek who’s been fortunate enough to enjoy a career that lets me indulge this interest. I have been writing about technology for several decades for a wide range of outlets including Wired, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, MSN, About.com, Kiplinger, and GeekDad. I’m in my 10th year as a senior contributor for Forbes with a focus on reviewing music-related tech, Apple gear, battery power stations and other consumer electronics. My day job is with the Malware Research Center at AI-native cybersecurity pioneer CrowdStrike.