Something for everyone
Android accessories? iPhone accessories? Why not both? Let’s take a platform-agnostic look at the gear you should be using alongside your smartphone of choice. From battery chargers to cool apps, we’ve got you covered. There’s something for everyone here, so no fighting!
Of course, there’s a good chance I missed something you love -- be sure to share in the comments!
Headphones: MEElectronics A151
The name is a little unwieldy, but the MEElectronics A151 in-ear earphones are pretty sweet. They’re comfortable, offer decent sound, and will set you back only about $50 on Amazon. They’re also available with or without an inline mic.
Bluetooth headset: Plantronics Voyager Edge
Battery pack: Tylt Energi 10K
Who couldn’t use a little more juice? I recently checked out the Tylt Energi 10K and was rather impressed: the 10,400mAh battery is beefy enough to charge a smartphone four times, and its three USB ports will let you charge three devices at the same time. If all that power in the palm of your hand is a little too daunting, here are 11 more to consider.
Car charger: Anker USB 24W Car Charger
The two ports on the Anker USB 24W car charger aren’t created equal: the one labeled Apple features the pin configuration and circuitry required for Apple products to charge at their maximum rate. The one labeled Android allows non-Apple devices to charge at their maximum rate. In practice, this means you can charge both Apple and non-Apple gear at their maximum rate, simultaneously -- pretty cool, if you’ve got a lot of gear to keep charged.
Charging cables: AmazonBasics Cables
Charging dongle: Nomad ChargeKey
This clever keychain is actually a USB charger, in dongle form. Plug one end into your phone (it’s available in Lightning and Micro-USB forms) and the other end into a free USB port to keep your smartphone topped up. It’s also flexible, so you needn’t worry about charging your gear in hard-to-reach spots.
Media streamer: Google Chromecast
Looking to get on the Internet onto your TV? Look no further than the Google Chromecast. It doesn’t offer as many official channels as a Roku or Apple TV, but that’s OK -- between Netflix, YouTube, and HBO Go, all of my bases are covered. And if I want to watch, say, anything else in existence, the $5 Plex app (for iOS and Android) coupled with my PC has me covered. Better still, a Chromecast can be controlled by almost anything with a Web connection and a screen -- who needs a remote, anyway?
Media playback: VLC Media Player
How did playback video files before VLC? Who knows? The app that plays every file format under the sun made the leap to iOS some time ago and is now available on Android, too -- albeit in beta form. It’s also free, so grab it for those times when your phone or tablet’s stock media player just falls flat.
Streaming music: Spotify
Spotify is so, so great. Ten bucks a month gets you all of the music you could want -- or near enough to all of it, anyway. For just $10 a month, you get unlimited streaming on just about anything with a Web connection and speakers or a headphone jack -- or you could pay nothing at all and sit through the occasional ad.
Dash mount: Bracketron Mi-T Grip
There are a dizzying number of smartphone car mounts to choose from, but the Bracketron Mi-T Grip is a pretty good option. Its tacky suction cup will keep it fastened to most surfaces in your car, and the grippy claw will hold your phone tightly. Of course, options are always good -- here are a few more.
Camera mount: MonoPrice Camera Skate Dolly
There are plenty of smartphone camera accessories to choose from -- here’s a fine list of some of our favorites. I settled on the MonoPrice Camera Skate Dolly. Why? Because it’s a $20 skate dolly. How else are you going to get that panning shot of your stuffed animal collection, arrayed in all its glory?
Bluetooth speaker (under $50): Cambridge Soundworks Oontz
The Oontz (oontz oontz) might have a bit of a cringe-worthy name, but Cambridge Soundworks has a pretty good thing going here. It sounds good, offers over 10 hours of battery life, weighs a mere 10.1 ounces, and can be yours for about $50.
Bluetooth speaker: Logitech Ultimate Ears Boom
Have a bit more coin to spend? Check out Logitech’s Ultimate Ears Boom. It’s quite a bit pricier at $200, but it’s also decidedly lovelier and can pump out tunes for 15 hours on a single charge. The Boom also produces 360-degree sound, so you can leave it in a central location.
Fitness app: Moves
Do you like to move it, move it (sorry)? Check out Moves, available for iOS and Android. This app will track your steps and your whereabouts, giving you a neat summary of your daily and weekly activity. But if the thought of Facebook potentially having access to all of your location data rubs you the wrong way, there’s always the Fitbit app.
Extra storage: SanDisk Ultra microSD card
Quick -- how much storage is enough? You’re absolutely right -- there’s never enough! If you’re packing an Android phone, there’s a good chance you can expand yours with a microSD card -- a 32GB card can be yours for $20.