You just love your cell phone so much you want to accessorize it to maximize its functionality and aesthetic appeal. And nowadays, there are countless opportunities to bling out your device. Of course, your budget may not allow you to go all-out and purchase every conceivable accessory in one fell swoop. Thus, some prioritization might be in order. We asked the most knowledgeable gadget gurus what accessories will offer the biggest bang for your buck. Learn more about the best accessories below.
What's your single favorite or coolest cell phone or smartphone accessory and what do you love about it?
Meet Our Panel of Gadget Enthusiasts:
Chelsei is the marketing director at GiftTITAN, the premier shopping platform. Use it to build an online gift list, get real-time local shopping alerts, or even plan your wedding!
"My favorite cell phone accessory is..."
The Shure Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone. In the digital world, we're always creating some sort of content.
This powerful microphone makes recording important moments a breeze! No need to get bogged down with poor audio quality. Sound like a pro and make awesomeness with this cell phone accessory.
Bristol is a publicist living and working in Boston at BIGfish Communications, a boutique technology PR firm. She is a graduate of Northeastern University.
"My favorite cell phone accessory is..."
The Energi Sliding Power Case for iPhone 6. This uniquely designed case gives your iPhone 6 the best of both worlds: protection and power. The 2-in-1 case includes a 3,200mAh rechargeable battery sleeve that will rapidly charge your iPhone 6 at 1.3 amps to more than double its battery life. Once your phone is charged, simply slide off the battery sleeve to use the protective TPU-lined inner case for enhanced drop protection.
Eric Brantner runs several blogs in a variety of niches. Some of his blogs get over 500,000 hits a month, mostly from organic search traffic. They've also been featured in USA Today, TIME, MSN, TechCrunch, Fortune, and other top publications. He's also been a freelance writer for ten years. He launched Scribblrs.com, a site where he shares his experiences and tips for those looking to start blogging.
"I absolutely can't live without my..."
iPhone case with the kick stand. There are many times when I am out working at a coffee shop or bar on my laptop, and I need a second screen. With the kick stand on my case, I can prop up my phone and use it as a second stream to look at as I type.
Caitlin is a freelance writer and editor and chief writer for the tech blog Watchdog Reviews. She’s spent the past 10+ years reviewing products and creating exceptional tech and lifestyle content for major Canadian and American news organizations. She has a special interest in smart home technology.
"My go-to accessory is..."
The Otterbox Defender Series Case for the iPhone. It's a quality protective case for your cell phone, and it's worth every penny. With two little boys, I need peace of mind that my device is protected in case they get their hands on it. With this heavy duty case, I know my device is safe even in little hands. They’ve dropped it, tossed it, and bumped it in more ways than I can count and there’s still not a scratch on my iPhone. Plus, it’s available in a choice of different colors so I can easily tell mine apart from my husband’s and swap it out if I’m feeling the need to change things up.
Ashley Turner is director of Gadget Valuer – one of America’s biggest gadget trade-in comparison sites. Launching in 2009, the founding team wanted to create a completely independent recycling comparison website after running an actual phone recycling site. Such experience in the recycling market means Turner is constantly in touch with the latest trade-in trends and consumer habits.
"One of my most favorite accessories for my smartphone is..."
Amour Charge. I personally go through cell phone charging cables really quickly, and I'm not alone. It’s no illusion that Apple charging cables have very short life spans with single threads on the Apple Support Communities forum regularly reaching 250,000 views. This cable solves that problem by providing a 100% stainless steel-woven cable that boasts aluminum housing to provide long-lasting strength. They are also available in up to two-meter-long cable lengths and backed with a lifetime warranty!
Chris is the Account Executive for OXYGEN PR.
"The coolest phone gadget I've bought in awhile is my..."
ZeroLemon solar charged battery. It's a battery that can charge all your gadgets, but it has a big solar panel on its front that can charge itself. It also has a flashlight.
I live in California and bought it as part of an earthquake kit. I heard natural disaster stories of everyone flocking to the few working power outlets there were to keep their cellphones charged, with nowhere near enough for everyone to charge their devices. So, something that can charge phones with the sun seemed super useful.
But it turned out to be a lot more useful, because I can go on hiking/train/plane trips and keep my phone charged. Even if the sun's down, the one I got (20k mAh) can charge my phone something like ten times just from its battery.
K.B. Lee, Founder and CEO of Ever Bamboo, first saw bamboo charcoal deodorizing and dehumidifying products while he was travelling in Asia in 2006. Spotting the opportunity for such products in US and Canada, he started Ever Bamboo in 2007. By 2014, over 500 retailers were carrying the products, and it was featured on The View as one of Whoopi’s Favorite Things in August 2014. In 2015, the brand expanded internationally to Australia and UK.
"My favorite cell phone accessory is..."
The Spiderpodium, especially when I’m traveling and renting a vehicle. It's perfect to use my iPhone or any smartphone as a GPS. I have one in each of my vehicles and then a spare one for travel.
Bryan Clayton is the CEO of GreenPal, which is best described as Uber for Lawn Care.
"My favorite cell phone accessory that I could not live without is..."
My Kinivo Bluetooth Hands-Free Car Kit for my car. Why does it matter? Because I need to learn, and the way I learn is through listening to audio books in the car.
It's great. Rather than listening to mindless music in the car, I just jump in and pop on the audio book that I'm currently working on. I'm able to get a little bit smarter every time I drive somewhere, without having to mess around with wires .
Lori is the founder and CEO of Cheekd.
"My favorite cell phone accessory is my..."
Flygrip. It’s an innovative design that helps you grip your phone and even relieves strain on your wrists. Since I’ve had it, I’ve never dropped my phone! And what I love even more about it is that you can use it as a kickstand in both horizontal and vertical orientations. My phone automatically becomes an upright computer screen. You can even customize the plate of it with your own logo.
Edwin Choi, the current VP of Marketing for Cellular Outfitter, spends his time ingesting as much content as possible. At CellularOutfitter, he established a data-driven, testing-oriented marketing team that more than quintupled company revenues over 4 years and continues to push the envelope in digital marketing.
"I'm all about items that are both functional as well as appealing to the eye..."
So, when I was shopping for my home I didn't compromise on either of those qualities. The Wolverine Retro Bluetooth Speaker And Radio is one of my favorite gadgets that I brought into my house because it combines new technology with a classic, vintage look that makes for an awesome statement piece. What looks like a collector's item that I might have dug out of an overpriced antique shop is actually a radio and speaker combo. As great as old-timey radios look, the audio quality is obviously lacking when compared their modern counterparts. With Bluetooth capability I can play the music I have stored on my phone or stream music with great sound quality, while still enjoying the timeless aesthetic from decades past.
Kamran is a blogger at Infosec, a researcher and a pentester. Kamran used to write blogs on information security issues and their prevention techniques.
"My favorite cell phone accessory is definitely my..."
SoundPEATS Qy7 Wireless Sports/Running Bluetooth Earbuds. The thing I love most about these earbuds is that they can be used while running or hitting the gym for exercise. The play time is up to six hours with a clear audio experience. These headphones work with select Android devices as well as iOS devices.
Muhammad Asfand Yar
Asfand is a Tech Blogger who writes tech and gadget reviews on his list site.
"I like pretty much everything about smartphone accessories..."
But if, in the worst-case scenario, I have to choose only one accessory for my Moto X Pure, I would go for an external battery pack without even thinking. Here are some of the reasons why I love my power bank.
Recharge your phone anytime -- For me, this is the single most important reason to buy an external battery. Imagine that you have no electricity source. Then all of a sudden your battery goes down and you scream, "Whhhhyyyyyy??" Now in that case, if you would have an external battery, there would be no need to panic. Simply plug your smartphone into your power bank, and you're done.
Not enough Battery -- Smartphones batteries are improving -- mine have 3000mAh. Heck, even then you'll probably need to charge your cell phone every night. Play some heavy games like Assassin Creed Pirates, and its battery life will become even shorter.
Recharge, faster -- Most of the good power banks have super-fast connections which make charging very fast.
USB ports -- Battery packs use USB ports which enable you to recharge them by connecting them to your PC or laptop. Of course, doing so will reduce your laptop's battery.
Adam is a technology expert working who has worked with a vast range of organizations such as police forces nationwide. Adam is now working with A1 Connect to provide unique telecommunication solutions to businesses and sole traders in the UK.
"As somebody who works with phones day-in, day-out, I get asked this question fairly often..."
Apart from the really obvious answers such as battery-charging cases and extra-long charging cables, I am a huge fan of almost anything that makes using phones easier or better.
Perhaps the coolest of the lot in my opinion are touchscreen gloves. I put off buying these for a very long time, as I thought there was absolutely no way that these things could possibly work. My word, I was wrong.
For some strange reason, I felt compelled to try them out on a cold winter morning, so out I popped. As random as it may sound, I sat at a bus stop (with absolutely no intention of getting on a bus) and attempted to play Angry Birds, not expecting too much.
To my previously unknown delight, I was doing it. Angry Birds in freezing conditions was now a possibility without having my hands go numb – success (kind of). Two hours later, I realized I was kind of too involved and dragged my almost frozen body off of that metal bench and headed home. Of course, all I was thinking of was when I was next going to destroy a few green, egg-stealing creatures of the swine variety.
I’d have been a fool to say these gloves were perfect without testing them further, and believe it or not, I am serious at times. My next morning commute was an opportunity to prepare a few spreadsheets for a meeting, so I reached into my pocket and the gloves were on.
I have larger than average digits at the best of times without adding a thick layer of material, so it was perhaps not a great idea on the surface. I was proven wrong for the second time, as I was able to perform tasks as easy as ever all while keeping Jack Frost at bay. Suffice to say, I was mesmerized by the quality of this product I’d once considered nowhere near good enough to use with a phone.
I’m not going to say that I wait all year for winter so I can use these gloves, as that’d probably come across as some kind of unhealthy obsession, and I already have enough of those. They’re also not going to set the world alight aesthetically, but what they are, they are great at.
I love them because they enable me to never miss out on using my phone, whether it’s sub-zero and snowing or wet and windy. They make the journey to and from work enjoyable (who doesn’t use their phone on these travels?) without having my hands feel as though they are two minutes from falling off and allow me to stay connected at all times.
Ben Thompson is co-founder at GitPrime where he leads design, marketing, and customer experience. He in a Y Combinator alumni, and an expert in product design, branding, and UX design.
"I swear by my..."
GorillaPod with a smartphone attachment. It allows me to use my phone to create high-quality, budget-friendly stills and videos. For photos, it comes through in low-light situations with a self timer, or for perfectly framed shots. The GorillaPod can attach to nearly any surface with surprising grip and accuracy. It’s so small that there’s never an excuse to leave it behind. I love how it turns your smartphone into a completely capable camera that is nearly indistinguishable from one that costs thousands more. Even if you’re also using a DSLR, the GorillaPod allows you to grab B-roll or multiple camera angles with your smartphone to make the production value appear to be much higher than it is. Throw in a Lavalier mic like the Audio-Technica ATR3350iS and you have an A/V setup that holds up to the most discerning audience.
Gene is a Co-Founder of GreenPal, which has been described as Uber for lawn care.
"My favorite cell phone accessory is the..."
Breffo Spider Podium. This little device allows me to non-permanently mount my phone (either landscape or portrait) into the vents in my vehicle. The adjustable legs are bendable to fit any device and will also allow me to dock my phone at my home as well.
Melih is the CEO of SmartFinds Marketing, a digital marketing agency based out of the Detroit Metro area.
"The one accessory I’ve been using for the past year is..."
Mega Tiny Corp’s anti-gravity case. It's able to help me in business by sticking my cell phone to presentation boards. It's great to use next to my laptop or desktop monitor as an add-on monitor. Generally speaking, this has helped me quite a bit with my business activities by creating new functionality for my cell phone. It has also been fun sticking the cell phone to a wall at a restaurant and having people look up wondering how the cell phone sticks to the wall!
Tucker Cummings is a tech editor at Heavy.com.
NOTE: The following information is excerpted from Top 10 Best New Accessories for Android Smartphones via Heavy.com.
"One of the best, must-have cell phone accessories is..."
The Fitbit Charge HR wireless activity wristband.
While the Fitbit line has come under fire a couple of times for wristband-induced rashes, these problems only affect a small number of users. For the majority of users, a Fitbit is a solid choice. This particular model offers continuous heart rate tracking. In addition, the band tracks calories burned, floors climbed, distance traveled, total active minutes, and steps. There is also a silent alarm feature, which is nice if you need to wake up earlier than your partner. Unlike some older Fitbits, this one provides call notifications and time right on the band.
If you’re still not convinced, check out our guide to Fitbit alternatives to see some other options that might work better for your lifestyle.
Another option? Rent instead of buy. Lumoid has a cool program where you can pick 5 devices from their Wearables Store, and try them out at home for seven days. This gives you a chance to check out a whole bunch of Fitbit competitors at once and find one that works for you.
Liane Cassavoy is a veteran technology and business journalist. She contributes regularly to PCWorld and has written about business issues and products for Entrepreneur Magazine and other publications. She is the author of two business start-up guides published by Entrepreneur Press.
NOTE: The following information is excerpted from The 15 Best Android Accessories via PCWorld.
"One of the best accessories for Android devices, particularly for active users, is..."
The Belkin Armband. You could hold your Android phone in your hand while you jog, or you could slip it in your pocket. But today's phones are bigger and bulkier than ever. So why not use one of Belkin's armbands to get your phone out of the way?
These carrying cases strap onto your upper arm, keeping your hands and pockets free. Belkin has been making armbands and cases for Apple's iPhone since the device came out, but now it's moving into the Android market with the recently announced EaseFit Plus Armband for the Samsung Galaxy S III ($25).
Thorin Klosowski is a writer for Lifehacker and author of Idiot's Guide to the Raspberry Pi.
NOTE: The following information is excerpted from The Best Actually Useful Phone Accessories via Lifehacker.
"One of our most favorite smartphone accessories is..."
If you're using your iPhone to record video or audio interviews, you've probably already noticed that the sound is absolutely terrible. The iPhone Boom Mic makes that audio a heck of a lot better. It clips into the microphone jack and holds itself up so it's pointing the right way. There's also two different settings, directional and super-directional, so you can try to focus in and record only the sound that you really want. It works great, sounds really good, and makes recording audio with the iPhone a little less tedious. Too bad it's iPhone only. But really, any condenser mix should do the trick regardless of what phone you have, this one's just nice because it's pocketable and mounts right on the phone.
Associate Editor for CNET, Nate Ralph is an aspiring wordsmith, covering mobile software and hardware for CNET Reviews. His hobbies include dismantling gadgets, waxing poetic about obscure ASCII games, and wandering through airports.
NOTE: The following information is excerpted from Must-have accessories for Android and iPhone via CNET.
"If hands-free is a must, consider the..."
Plantronics Voyager Edge. The call quality is impressive, and coupled with outstanding noise-cancellation capabilities. It isn’t quite as snug as theJawbone Era (another solid pick), but the compact size and nifty battery case make it a great choice.
A seasoned writer and professional photographer, Chris reviews cameras, headphones, smartphones, laptops, and lenses for Smartphones Reviewed. Educated in Political Science and Linguistics, Chris can often be found building a robot army, snowboarding, or getting ink.
NOTE: The following information is excerpted from 9 Essential Android Phone Accessories via Smartphones Reviewed.
"One of the most useful smartphone accessories for Android devices is..."
Not every Android phone is compatible, but if you have a compatible phone—like the Google Nexus 6, Samsung Galaxy Note 5, or any current-gen Motorola phone—Motorola's Turbo Charger will have you topped off in a jiffy.
If you're the kind of Android geek who has to have the latest and greatest Nexus hardware, you're looking for a different sort of fast charging. Your Nexus 5X or 6P uses USB-C, but not just any charger will do if you want to unlock those phones' Rapid Charging capability. Look though this comprehensive list compiled by Google engineer Benson Leung for guidance on which chargers to buy, from car chargers to wall units.
Where normal chargers will give you a slow trickle of juice, fast chargers up the amperage to fill your cell extremely quickly. (Just keep in mind your phone might get a bit hot in the process.) It should be an essential part of your kit if you're a power user or frequent flyer.
NOTE: The following information is excerpted from The Best New Accessories for Your Smart Phone via Travel + Leisure.
"Among my latest favorite cell phone accessories are..."
I just picked up the XSories Mini Deluxe Tripod ($29.99; xsories.com), and am in love. It works with just about any smart phone by gripping it via a spring-operated clasp and is perfect if you, like me, use your phone as your primary camera while out and about. It’s small enough that it can fit in your bag, or even a back pocket. It's super lightweight, and you can even bend the legs for even more flexibility with positioning it. Couple it with the Photo Timer app (free; iOS) and you can make sure the whole gang gets in the shot.
Another way to take your cell phone photos to the next level is to strap on the Photojojo Macro Cell Lens Band ($15; photojojo.com). It’s basically an elastic band with a lens attached to it; it fits just about any cell phone, and will improve the crispness of your close-up shots.
Alex has been an Android user since the Motorola Droid back in 2010. He's been a huge Android fan ever since using many of the most popular flagships. He's a fan of the Nexus line, and currently sporting the Nexus 6P. Among other various Android smartphones. Alex is a section editor for Android Headlines.
NOTE: The following information is excerpted from Featured: Top 10 Smartphone Accessories – Jan. 2016 via Android Headlines.
"One of the top smartphone accessories for 2016 is..."
A good pair of headphones can sometimes be a bit hard to find. Diskin has a nice pair of Bluetooth Headphones available, which feature noise cancellation. Especially good for flying across the country or the world. They also feature 16 hours of continuous playback, as well as a 33-foot Bluetooth range.
Simon is a journalist and photographer who has spent the last ten years working for national UK newspapers - but has never hacked a mobile phone - and specializes in writing about weird products and photography technology. When not writing for New Atlas, Simon is often found playing with LEGO and drinking far too much coffee.
NOTE: The following information is excerpted from The best smartphone camera accessories for 2015 via New Atlas.
"For photographers who want to get the most out of their smartphone cameras, one must-have accessory is..."
With a couple of odd-ball exceptions, smartphone cameras use fixed focal length wide angle (around a 28-mm equivalent) lenses. This means zooming in on a subject involves using image-deteriorating digital zooms, or moving with your feet.
Luckily for smartphone photographers who want to mix it up, add-on lenses can change your perspective. These include fish-eye, telephoto and macro lenses. And no, we're not going to suggest mounting a DSLR lens to your phone.
TripCase is a product of Sabre, a technology company that leads the travel industry. As such, we understand how pieces of a trip come together. Organizing your itinerary from different reservations can be complicated – we get it! Over the years, we’ve worked to make this experience as convenient as possible.
NOTE: The following information is excerpted from 5 Must-Have Cell Phone Accessories When Traveling via TripCase.
"A must-have cell phone accessory for travelers is..."
With almost every place on earth now home to an internet connection, there is just one other main factor that can come between you and getting your work done – the dreaded dead battery. First on every traveler’s accessory must-have list is then a portable recharger. These are a lifesaver on international trips.
These smartphone-sized devices are good for 3-4 phone charges or (depending on the model) 1-2 tablet charges. Go big with a 10,000 mAh charger to last you for days or sacrifice some milliamp hours for a credit card sized power bank that can fit seamlessly in your front pocket. Pre-load before your trip and dust off when your red light starts blinking.
Doug Aamoth is the former technology editor for TIME Magazine and currently serves as the Director of Technical Product Marketing for Sophos.
NOTE: The following information is excerpted from 5 Unique Cell Phone Gadgets for Under $50 via TIME.
"Among the many sophisticated cell phone accessories, one of the most useful is..."
You pride yourself on owning the most bleeding-edge smartphone that money can buy. Your car, on the other hand, is a 1990 Mitsubishi Mirage with a tape deck. A tape deck! Sure, you could hook your Galaxy S8 — that’s a thing, right? — up to one of those gnarly tape adapters, but this is [the 2000s], Jack. Let’s get with the program.
The StreamBot pairs to your phone’s Bluetooth connection and relays the audio to an open radio station. You can use it for music or as a speakerphone, and there’s a built-in USB port that allows you to charge your phone at the same time.