I don’t purport to know everything about teenage culture. But I do have two teenage nieces (both of whom I follow on Instagram!) who give me a basic idea of what goes on in that highly connected world. And a big part of it is the mobile phone, which is in their hands constantly as they message friends, play games, watch videos, and post to social media sites. With that said, great gifts for tech-savvy teens would be trendy smartphone accessories to use with their mobile devices, whether it enhances the look or functionality of the device, or both.
Trendy Protective Cases for Smartphones
If a teen or tween doesn’t already have a protective case, you should get one for him or her, stat. But even if they do, it’s nice to have choices and swap them out to fit your mood or occasion.
Always on trend are slim-fitting cases that offer good protection against bumps, drops, and scratches. The Samsung LED Fitted Soft Shell Case for the new Galaxy S10+ has a whimsical look that features LED lights on the back cover. They don’t need to be charged but look tres cool and fit right in with the “Galaxy” moniker of the device. The case itself fits snug to the phone and protects it from bumps, drops, and scratches. A teen can still wirelessly charge the phone through the case, too.
Some kids like specific imagery that reflects their own inside jokes, or likes. Look for the “thing” they like the most, whether it’s pandas, bananas, or camo designs, and find a case to match. If you aren’t quite sure, go for something funky and bold like the i-Blason Full-Body Glitter Bumper Case, available for the iPhone XR. It looks super cool but, most importantly, has cushioned corners, a shock-absorbent TPU bumper, and comes with a built-in, touch sensitive screen protector.
Since some of the latest smartphones come in fun and bold colour options, teens and tweens also want to be able to show off their choice, whether it’s a bright yellow iPhone 11 or a funky orange limited edition Google Pixel 4. So consider a basic transparent case like the Speck Presidio Fitted Hard Shell Case that won’t add any flare to the device, but does add a scratch-resistant coating that guards against scratches and UV damage.
Trendy Charging Smartphone Accessories
Judging from how often teens and tweens post to social media, it’s a wonder their phones last through a full day. A portable charging bank is a useful gift for teens that will make them the hero of the class when they can help others recharge devices at recess and after school, and keep their phones powered up all day. (Plus, mom and dad will love that the child can’t use the ‘my phone was dead’ excuse anymore!)
They probably won’t need anything more than a pocket-sized device that can offer one extra battery boost, but one like the Anker PowerCore 20100 is super small, yet can recharge a smartphone multiple times over, and even an iPad mini twice! The teen/tween can pop it into his backpack, and it’s there in case of emergencies as well.
For back at home, they’ll appreciate a wireless charger, which are all the rage right now for use with the latest Qi-enabled smartphones. They’ll love the Mophie All in One Wireless Charger that can recharge both a smartphone as well as a compatible smartwatch at once. It’s perfect for the desk at home in their room where they can get their homework done and still easily access the phone when they need it.
Trendy Audio Smartphone Accessories
If they have one of the latest devices without a 3.5mm headphone jack, they’ll especially appreciate a good pair of wireless earbuds to listen to tunes during break or study
time. Consider something like the Skullcandy Indy In-Ear Sound Isolating True Wireless Earbuds, which come in a trendy indigo finish and images of skulls on the buds. They can run for up to 16 hours per charge, ideal for break times, commuting to and from work, or quiey study sessions after school. They are also water-resistant and have an in-line mic for making and receiving phone calls.
Every student can appreciate a good portable Bluetooth speaker, and the Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 is perfect for teens and tweens. Available in a variety of colours to match their personal style, it is waterproof, shockproof, and dirtproof, so they can bring it virtually anywhere. It lasts for up to 20 hours and can recharge in just two. Control it from the top buttons or use the companion app.
The socially-conscious teen will like the House of Marley Get Together Mini, which is made from sustainable and recyclable materials called REWIND fabric and comes in cool finish options like denim. They can use it to play music in their room with friends, outside, or on the go since it’s easy to hold in one hand but packs a big punch in sound.
Beats by Dr. Dre is the trendy brand for teens and tweens. If you don’t want to fork over hundreds of dollars for a pair of Beats headphones, consider the cute Pill+ Bluetooth Wireless Speaker, which is, as the name implies, shaped like an oversized pill, and features the signature “b” logo prominently on the front. They can use it to play music, and as a speakerphone for calls. It runs for an impressive up to 12 hours per charge, while a handy fuel gauge keeps you posted when the battery is running low. A great feature teens will especially love: it comes with a USB input for using it to recharge the phone as well, or keeping it charged while the music is playing.
Other Trendy Smartphone Accessories
The cute Popsockets accessories are both handy and functional, and add a splash of fun to a smartphone, making them a perfect stocking stuffer gift for teens. The circular device affixes to the back of the phone, or phone case, then pops up to function as a kickstand, or to offer a better grip while you’re holding the device one-handed, like when taking those all-important selfies. Additionally, kids can get creative and do things like wind earbuds around them for safekeeping when not in use. They work with pretty well any brand and type of smartphone, as well as other mobile devices, like small tablets, e-readers, and even gaming systems with the Nintendo 3DS. They can be easily removed and re-attached as needed or desired. There is virtually every design imaginable, from solid colours to patterns and fun imagery. So even if the teen already has one, they’ll probably appreciate adding more to the collection.
A similar option are the adorable Case-Mate Balloon Dogs, which suction to the back of your phone to function as a kickstand or grip. They aren’t something you’d keep on your phone 24/7 like the Popsockets, but they are a conversation piece, and will have all the kids in class talking and wanting one, too.
Teens and tweens might not view physical photo prints as “trendy,” having grown up in the digital age. But they might appreciate getting cute, stickable ones that can put up in their locker, share with friends, or stick to the backpacks or notebooks. Get these from the HP Sprocker 200 Portable Photo Printer which uses special paper with ink already built in. Download the app, select and edit your photos, including adding fun filters, frames, emojis and more, and print. The 2” x 3” prints are perfectly sized for decorating a notebook, locker, or backpack. It comes with a 10-sheet pack, but you might want to pick up a few
extras to go with it so they can experiment right away.
Finally, you can never have too many charging cables. And teens and tweens want to be powered up 24/7. Get them one that will last, like the ToughTested Double Braided 6-foot Lightning Cable for iOS devices. It’s extra-durable with double-layer internal shielding and the braided cover prevents tangling when they throw it into their backpacks for school. Plus, it’s extra long so they can charge wherever they need to.
Check out lots more gift ideas for tech-savvy teens at Best Buy Online.