Whether it’s for communications, social media, work, or entertainment; we all spend more time on our phones than we’d like to admit. To reflect this, there are oodles of gadgets and accessories available to optimize, protect, or just “pimp-out” your phone these days.
That being said, there is also a massive market for cheap, gimmicky phone accessories that are not even worth considering (Gojo Handsfree headset, we’re looking at you). So, we’ve compiled a few of the most essential mobile accessories to optimize your phone and we’ll also fill you in on a few gimmicks to be aware of.
Phone accessories for watching movies
Nowadays, our phones come with full HD displays which greatly enhance movie and show viewing, but our phone’s built-in speakers typically leave a lot to be desired in terms of sound quality. Also, watching movies is meant to be a comfortable and relaxing experience which can be more difficult to achieve with your phone, seeing as you need to either dedicate one hand to hold it for the length of the movie or rig some kind of improvised stand that your phone will probably slide off of anyway.
Therefore, when it comes to phone accessories for watching movies, we recommend investing in two things: a pair of Hi-fi audio Bluetooth earbuds with long-lasting battery life, and a versatile phone stand that can be used on a surface or in bed.
Immersive Sound Quality
There are so many great quality headphones to choose from, but we found that what matters most are headphones that can produce high-definition stereophonic sound. For the uninformed, stereophonic sound, usually just called stereo, is what gives you that multi-directional and 3-dimensional audio experience. It’s the technology that makes you feel like you’re inside of the audio mix, giving you the illusion that some sounds are coming from behind or far away. Stereo sound allows for a much more immersive experience, which is especially awesome when you’re watching a really intense movie.
In addition to high-quality audio, you’ll want to make sure you stick with Bluetooth earbuds to get the most comfortable and convenient experience. You won’t have to worry about accidentally unplugging the chord, and you’ll be able to change your position more freely.
So what headphones are best for watching movies on your phone? A lot of that comes down to personal preference, but I’m a big fan of Snapods because they have fantastic Hi-Fi audio quality, cVc 8.0 noise cancellation, a 4-5 hour extended battery life, and are designed with Qualcomm Truewireless Stereo Plus technology. They also have a handy carrier that snaps onto the back of your phone so that you don’t misplace them.
Versatility and Comfort
I’m sure I’m not the only one who starts their day by watching a show on my phone while I eat breakfast. What’s better than some Seinfeld reruns to start the day? The problem I often have with this is finding a way to position my phone so that my hands are free while also not draining my battery before even leaving the house.
These problems are instantly solved by using a versatile wireless charging stand, like the Belkin Boost Charging Stand. This kind of stand can be propped on a tabletop or on your bed and you can also rotate it to suit the position you’re most comfortable in. This stand charges your phone wirelessly, so you won’t need to worry about draining your battery or being near an outlet. You can simply enjoy a movie wherever you’re most comfortable, whether you’re sitting at the table eating breakfast or lying in bed.
- Gimmick: Screen Magnifiers.
Screen magnifiers are meant to enlarge what you are viewing on your phone, making watching movies or shows more enjoyable and supposedly better for your eyes. In reality, the enlarged image you see with a screen magnifier will be warped around the edges and have lower fidelity, which is arguably bad for your eyes as well; and besides, if you’re looking to watch a movie on a larger screen, why not just use your laptop, tablet, T.V. or any other viewing device? Take my advice and don’t fall for the screen magnifier gimmick.
Phone accessories for your car
We advocate for minimal phone usage while driving, but there are two must-have phone accessories for your car: a magnetic phone holder and a dedicated charger.
Stable and Snappy
Why use a magnetic phone holder as opposed to a regular one? Simple; regular phone holders can be really finicky and annoying to use. It can be tedious just trying to get your phone onto it and even when you do, they like to tilt downward or even drop your phone just from going over a speed bump or pothole.
Magnetic phone holders are much sturdier and simpler to use. You don’t need to adjust the width or length of the holder, just slap that baby on there and you’re good to go. A good-quality magnetic phone holder will have a powerful magnet that will not tilt or drop your phone. And yes, magnetic phone holders are safe for your phone. They will not damage your phone or mess with its function in any way.
Keep charged on the road
Your phone’s GPS is saying you’ve got another 7 miles to go but you’re getting the dreaded “20% battery remaining” notification. Rather than risk being stranded with a dead phone on the freeway, think about getting a dedicated charger for your car. You can always use a regular USB cable to charge your phone in your car, as most car models these days have USB ports installed on the console, but unfortunately, they tend to be inefficient at charging your phone, especially if you have more than one app running at a time.
A trusty cigarette lighter charger is still your best option when it comes to a phone charger for your car as it can provide more power to your smartphone than the USB port on your car’s console. Just make sure to unplug it if you are idling because they can drain a smaller car’s battery in around 30 minutes.
- Gimmick: Bluetooth Car Speakerphone
Look, I drive a 2012 Volkswagen Polo and even my car has Bluetooth support. Unless you drive a truly old whip or you actively sought out a car that doesn’t have Bluetooth support, I strongly recommend that you don’t consider this kind of device. It’s simply obsolete.
Smart Phone Camera Accessories for Better Photos
The cameras on cellphones these days are pretty incredible and are getting better each year, but there are still a couple of ways to optimize the way you take photos with your phone: multi-functional stands and a portable LED light.
Up Your Photography Game
A multifunctional stand can be used as a tripod or selfie stick. It will allow you to stabilize your phone for both pictures and videos and it will also let you get better angles for close-up and long-range shots. In addition, they typically come with a shutter-mode compatible remote control so you can include yourself in the frame from a distance.
Lighting is a crucial element of photography, but there is only so much photo editing, filters, and your phone’s camera flash can do. Portable LED lights vastly improve the lighting of your photos, especially if you’re taking pictures at night or in a dimly lit room. They are an essential accessory for live streamers and bloggers because they greatly enhance close-up photo and video quality. Portable LED lights usually clip onto your phone, have 360° rotation, and can be charged with a USB cable.
If you’re really serious about improving your phone photography skills, these two accessories will only get you so far. If you want to take it to the next level, check out our expert tips to up your phone photography game.
- Gimmick: Lenses for phone’s camera.
Most smartphones in 2022 come with multiple near DSLR level photo quality cameras and attaching a $30-$50 dollar lens doesn’t do much to enhance image quality any more. Perhaps they are worth considering if you are really into fish-eye or wide-angle shots…. But you will need to remove your phone case to attach most of these lenses, leaving your phone more vulnerable to damage. So, in my books, lenses for your phone’s camera aren’t really worth it.
Phone Charging Accessories
It goes without saying that a phone charger is the most crucial phone accessory. Some smartphone companies produce better batteries than others but regardless of the make or how you use your phone, you’re going to need to recharge it at some point in the day.
In order to stay on top of your phones battery life at home or on the go, you’re going to want to consider these two types of charging accessories:
- Portable Wireless Solar Power Bank. This is a must-have phone charging accessory for people who spend a lot of time outdoors. As the name indicates, a portable wireless solar power bank draws its power from sunlight and it doesn’t require a cable connection to your phone in order to work. Skeptical about solar power’s charging ability? The Multifunctional Solar Power Bank by Riapow can deliver up to 8 full charges on the iPhone 11 before it gives out. You can also charge 4 devices at full charge speed at the same time and it also supports USB C in case you want to charge indoors.
- Multiport Charger. Multiport chargers support anywhere from 4-8 devices and typically come with both standard USB and USB C ports. Multiport chargers save outlet space as they only use one socket, so you can conveniently have a dedicated outlet for charging your devices. You no longer need to charge your iPhone with MacBook charger, now you can charge them both simultaneously at a single outlet.
Our phones are one of, if not, the most personal objects in our lives. We rely on them for their utility and we can also stylize them to express ourselves. However, given the fact that they are such delicate and expensive pieces of hardware, it is paramount to be mindful of ways we can protect them and ensure their longevity.
There are really only two ways to effectively protect your phone: apply a screen protector and get a quality phone case.
As for screen protectors, the age-old question is: How much should I spend on a screen protector?
The long and short of it is, you should spend around $10-$20 dollars on a screen protector. Screen protectors are made of two different materials, plastic and glass. Plastic is cheaper but can affect the display quality of your screen and doesn’t hold up well against finger oils and smudges. Glass protectors are more expensive but don’t affect the quality of your display and are more durable and resilient to oils and grime.
For around ten bucks you can get a decent screen protector, like Supershieldz Tempered Glass Screen Protector, which offers both durable screen protection, consistent display resolution, and it doesn’t break the bank. If you’re an Apple user, you can check out one of our iPhone screen protectors which have all been designed to protect any given iPhone model.
A screen protector will help prevent your screen from cracking, dirt, and oils, but it can’t do much to protect the more vulnerable parts of your phone. Phone repair experts say the most common cause of cracked phone screens is impact at the corner of the phone. To get the best all-around protection for your phone, you’ll need to get a good phone case that will reinforce those corners in addition to a screen protector.
Phone cases come in all shapes and sizes and are made from almost any material you can imagine, but not all phone cases are made equal. Here is what you should look for in a phone case:
- Shock-absorbent material. As previously mentioned, impact at the corners of your phone is the most common cause of screen cracking. Shock-absorbent materials, such as rubber or silicon, do the best job at protecting your phone’s weakest points. Avoid materials such as plastic or other hard materials which will transfer the impact directly to your phone.
- Waterproofing. A lot of waterproof cases are big and bulky, but aren’t as necessary these days because most phones come with a decent amount of water resistance. That said, the speakers, charging jack, and headphone jack are less capable of protecting your phone’s hardware from moisture. So, when pondering what kind of phone case to buy, make sure you consider a case that can help protect these water-sensitive features of your phone.
- Custom Photo Cell Phone Case. Okay, this is purely for aesthetics and won’t help to protect your phone, but it’s an important factor when buying a phone case nonetheless. We interact with our phones so much, you might as well fit it with a design that you find visually pleasing. You could literally spend days browsing mass-produced phone case designs, or you could get a custom photo cell phone case. Custom photo phone cases will cost you about $20-$30, you can choose pretty much whatever photo or design you’d like so you can have a truly customized look for your phone. Some of the most common ideas for custom photo phone cases are pictures of pets, family, and avant-garde selfies. And don’t worry! Custom photo phone cases can also have protective qualities so you won’t have to sacrifice safety for style!
That about wraps up our breakdown of must-have cell phone accessories for 2022. Although we left charging and protection accessories for last, they are probably the most important accessories to keep in mind, so definitely start with those if you’re looking to optimize your phone. As a final reminder, remember to watch out for gimmick phone accessories, they’re usually cheap and well-advertised, but they’ll most likely just end up collecting dust somewhere in your house.