In the world of owning smartphones, half of the fun comes from the variety of accessories that you can pick up to enhance your overall experience. Many of you invest immediately in a case or car dock at the point of purchase, but there are so many other interesting add-ons that can turn your smartphone into something even greater. Let’s talk about 10 of those, ones that I can’t live without.
1. Faster microSD Card:
If you take a lot of pictures with your Android phone or download videos, files, and music, you need to upgrade your microSD card immediately. You see that little “10″ with a circle around it in the picture above? That means my microSD card has a Class 10 rating – or in other words, it’s fast. Probably faster than the card that came with your phone at transferring all of my media from phone to computer and back again. You see, as flash memory has evolved over time, like anything, it has gotten faster and faster. But not only that, we have seen the price drop with the speed and size increases. The Class 4 card that probably came with your phone can transfer at rates of 4MB/s. The Class 10 card I have pictured above, which costs around $30, transfers at up to 30MB/s.
2. USB OTG Cable:
For those who own a phone that doesn’t have a microSD slot to expand your internal storage and hold all of your media, then you should have invested in a USB OTG (on-the-go) cable yesterday. Most of these run under $5 (some under $1) and will allow your phone to do things that you probably never imagined. Want to connect a USB keyboard or mouse? You can do that with one of these. How about hooking up a microSD card because you ran out of internal storage? OTG cable all the way. Interested in gaming? Try hooking up a gaming controller. There is even an app that when paired with an OTG cable, will allow you to control your camera. Developers love OTG cables, so new uses are always popping up.
3. Portable Bluetooth Speaker:
There was a time when portable speakers were something to avoid. The battery life on them was atrocious, sound quality matched that of an 80s automobile stereo, and your options were limited. Today, speaker gurus like Jawbone and their Jambox line are changing the game. Using Bluetooth, you get hi-fi audio that’s portable and can last up to 10 hours before needing to be re-charged. They start at $199, but if you need quality bass and audio on-the-go, it’s worth the investment.
4. Portable Charger:
If you own a smartphone in 2012, you should probably pick up a portable charger to stash in a purse, backpack, or car. Just like microSD cards, portable chargers are getting cheaper while they improve. I use a Mophie Powerstation and a Spigen Kuel F60Q, both of which I would highly recommend. If you are ever out and about, and notice that your battery is close to the end, these high-speed chargers will get you back up and running without ever needing to plug-in to a wall. Most hold enough juice to re-charge your phone a couple of times.
5. Photojojo Slingshot:
Now that smartphone cameras have become of decent quality, I personally, use mine for almost everything. One thing that was missing though, was a way for me to hook it up to a tripod, so that I could take non-shaky video or timed pictures. And then everything changed when I was introduced to the Photojojo Slingshot ($20). It’s a handheld tripod that looks like a slingshot, yet holds almost any smartphone on the planet, including the big guys with or without a case (aside from the Note or Note 2). The Slingshot converts into its own stand if needed, has a swivel head to get just the right angle, and detaches from its own grip so that you can twist it onto a real tripod. Best $20 I have spent on an accessory in a long time.