These Are the Must-Have Accessories for All Your New Stuff
If you were lucky enough to snag a new device—a phone, a laptop, a TV, a tablet, whatever—the fun doesn’t stop there. Now you get to trick it out. Collected below are some of our favorite accessories for your personal electronics. Things we love, that we ourselves own and endorse. You can’t go wrong with any of this stuff.
You can’t have enough of these bad boys. They are the bobby pins of the electronics world: always getting shoved into couch cushions and buried at the bottoms of backpacks. Plan on losing at least a couple a year, maybe breaking one at some point, who knows?
The AmazonBasics Apple Certified Lighting to USB cable is the best back-up cable for recharging an iPhone or iPad. If you got a new TV, you’ll need at least a couple AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cables to connect your Xbox, Apple TVC, or Roku. Just need regular old USB cables? These Anker PowerLine Micro USB cables are great. For plugging your phone into the Aux input in your car, an external speaker, or some other stereo system, get one of these: iXCC Male to Male Auxiliary Cable.
Your new phone’s sweet battery life won’t always be so good. If you ever plan on hitting the beach, the woods, or anywhere beyond the safety of outlets, then you’re going to want to pick up some on-the-go juice for your new device. The Anker Astro E4 is a well-reviewed and inexpensive ($30) battery pack. It’ll charge most smartphones three times, and it’ll refill an iPad Air’s battery once. If you’d prefer a case with a battery built in, get the Mophie Juice Pack. It’s a protective case that provides one to three full re-charges of your phone. For something much cheaper and much smaller, try the Innogie eLite, which provides a little bit of juice. If you’ve got a laptop and a phone (and who doesn’t?), consider a Zolt charger. It’s capable of charging three devices at once, and it also means you can leave your power bricks at home.
See how pretty your new device is? Well it’s never going to look that way again. But you can keep it relatively close by wrapping it in protective gear. Keep the glass display scratch-free with a Tech Armor Screen Protector or a NuShield Screen Protector. The BodyGuardz Pure Screenguardz are made of glass, and feel really nice under the fingertip. For full-phone protection, it’s tough to find something more rugged than an OtterBox Case with a built-in screen protector. Another great option is a LifeProof FRE Cases, which also has a built-in screen shield.
Lenses for Your Phone Camera
Sure, your new phone’s camera is pretty damn good—but what if it could be pretty damn great? Accessory lenses will take your Insta potential to a whole new category of ❤️s. The new Photojojo Iris Lens Series is awesome, especially the way it lashes onto your phone. Aukey’s 3-in-1 clip-on lens kit is inexpensive ($16) and works with multiple models of phone. If you want to step up and take really amazing pictures, get a really amazing lens system like one of the options from Moment.
Earbuds! You will lose these. You will lose so many of these it’s stupid. Buried in bags, pockets, drawers—some will break, some will tangle to the point of hopelessness. So pick up a few cheapies to keep lying around for quick runs, short flights, whatever. Our current favorite is the Mrice E300s, which gives you really great sound for around $20. Another good option around $20 are the Brainwavez Delta earbuds. For around $12, you can get a pair of Panasonic RPTCM125Ks (and how about that name huh?). Chinese phone-maker Xiaomi also has some brand new $20 headphones that look and sound great.
Having your cheap, back up earbuds is so that your nice headphones survive, so you can break them out when your ears truly deserve a treat. The best-looking and best-sounding wireless cans we tested this year are the Master & Dynamic MW60s. The antenna is powerful, and the battery lasts all day. They’re also pricey ($549) but hey, splurge once in a while. Our runners-up for the year’s best wireless headphones are the BeoPlay H7 and the V-Moda Crossfade Wireless. If you’re looking for great headphones to wear while using your new PC, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50Xs are a perennial favorite, as are the Bowers & Wilkins P5 Series 2s. Our favorites for under $100 are these Sony headphones. You can see more options in our most recent roundup.
Trust this: The speakers on your new phone or laptop are not going to be good enough to fill a room—not even a small room. Invest in a Bluetooth speaker now and thank us later. The best portable speaker for just about anyone is the UE Boom 2. It’s $200, waterproof, and has amazing battery life. Oh yes, and it sounds fantastic for the size. You should also check out the smaller UE Roll with has a strap on the back for clamping it to your BMX or your Segway as you cruise the neighborhood. For listening around the home, the biggest, beastliest speaker is the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless, which in addition to Bluetooth also runs AirPlay and Spotify Connect. There are literally dozens of wireless speakers to choose from—here’s our most recent roundup.
Soundbars for Your TV
Got a new television? The speakers on it are probably just this side of terrible, so amp up your viewing pleasure with a nice soundbar. They can be fastened to the wall just below a wall-mounted TV, snuck into an entertainment center, or just plopped down on the table in front of your television. Some of the best cheap options are made by Vizio. Yamaha’s models are a small step up in price, but they sound great. Sonos makes a nice soundbar which, if you’re a Sonos person, is a no-brainer. The best one on the market to our ears is the new Motion Vision X from Martin Logan. It’s a 100-watt monster that’ll make Apocalypse Now feel like an actual trip to the Do Long bridge.
Styluses for Your Tablet or Phone
You may have thought the whole point of getting a touchscreen device was so you wouldn’t have to use stupid pens anymore. Wrong! They’re a great tool for artists, avid notetakers, and a great accessory for your new device. If you got an iPad Pro, you must get Apple’s Pencil stylus. The Wacom Bamboo line is a good place to start if you want something comfortable but inexpensive. The FiftyThree Pencil is a little more advanced, with an eraser on the other end, and a palm-rejection system. On the simpler end, we’ve got two more favorites. The extra-fat Studio Neat Cosmonaut and the extra-precise Adonit Jot Pro.
Apple Watch Bands and Charge Stands
Whoa, someone really likes you if you got an Apple Watch as a gift this year. Or maybe it was a self-gift—either way, what a snag. Now, you just need a couple things to go with it, namely bands and a charging stand. You’ll find some cool feminine and unisex straps in the Casemate Collection. There’s a wide variety of fun graphic styles to be found at Casetify, and you can personalize your strap there too. The Reserve Strap (still in pre-order) promises to charge your watch while you wear it. Huh! If you want a nice link bracelet but you don’t like Apple’s, try the Oittm Stainless Steel band. Or just bite the silver bullet and get yourself a genuine Apple Milanese Loop band. For charge stands, we like a few: the Kosta from BlueLounge, the Watchstand from Griffin, the various wooden options from Pad & Quill.
You’re goign to need something to protect your new workhorse. If all you require is some simple padding, the AmazonBasics Laptop Sleeve can’t disappoint (especially at $9). Inatek has some more inexpensive and stylish options. This fabric case from Plemo has an external pocket for a phone or Kindle. The Case Logic LoDo Laptop Sleeve has even more internal pockets, but it’s still cooly minimal. If you like Herschel’s backpacks, then you definitely need one of these.
Folios for iPads and Kindles
If you got an iPad or a Kindle, you should protect its fragile screen. Especially if you got an e-ink Kindle. And maybe a nice folio case will keep your dirty fingerprints from smudging it all up. For the e-ink Kindle, try Fintie’s Folio Case or NuPro’s Case. Amazon also sells many accessory cases for its many Kindle devices at the Kindle Store. For iPads, if you don’t like Apple’s options, some nice folio cases we like are the JETech Gold Slim Fit Folio Smart Case and MyCell’s case for the iPad Pro, which offers multiple viewing angles when you prop up the tablet to watch a video. If you like to type on your tablet like you’re using a real computer, we’ll point you to Logitech’s like of keyboard cases, all of which are stellar.
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