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If you don’t have these smartphone accessories, you’re not living

by Danny Zepeda | February 17, 2018February 17, 2018 6:00 am PST

When you’re holding your brand new smartphone, you begin thinking about getting accessories to go with it. How about a new wireless charger? Or a new screen protector to keep the display free of scratches? Maybe a new cable to better compliment your phone?

There are so many accessories available, but how do you know which ones are worth it? I’m here to answer that question. I’ve been testing out some smartphone accessories to help you take your smartphone game to the next level.

I narrowed my list to six products tried to keep everything as affordable as possible. Another one of my staples for the list is to include accessories that are compatible with both iPhone and Android devices. Nobody is left out (for the most part).

Nomad Universal Cable

  • Price: $34.95
  • Note: Available in 0.3 and 1.5 meter length cables.

There’s a cable for everything these days. The iPhone requires a Lightning cable, while most Android devices come with USB-C. Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was one cable to rule them all? Enter Nomad’s universal cable. It combines all of those connectors into one tidy, good-looking cable. To do this, it uses microUSB extenders for the Lightning and USB-C ports.

The cable itself is durable thanks to its braided design, so it’ll last a long time. It’s a little on the expensive side, running $34.95, but it’s worth it to do away with the cable mess we are living in.

Buy Now: Amazon

OnePlus Bullet Earphones

  • Price: $19.99
  • Note: Come with in-line remote.

Count me squarely in the group that is never letting go of wired earphones with a headphone jack. That’s because they’re cheap, easy to replace and offer great sound—even though I have to use a dongle. My wired earphones of choice are the OnePlus Bullet Earphones. I bought a pair of these last year and can confidently say I’m never buying another pair of earphones again.

My preferences for earphones are in-ear design, resulting in better noise cancellation, sound quality and a more comfortable fit. The OnePlus Bullet Earphones checks each of those marks. Adding a hint of premium is the aluminum shell that has proven to be quite durable. As an added bonus, you also get in-line controls that work with iOS and Android devices. The Bullet Earphones cost $19.99, cheaper than Apple’s EarPods or other alternatives.

Buy Now: Amazon

Grovemade Wireless Charger

  • Price: $79.99
  • Note: Comes with cord wrap solution.

Grovemade makes one of the best-looking wireless chargers around. Donning a sleek cork pad with a stainless steel band at the bottom, it will look fantastic on your bed stand or desk. Grovemade didn’t stop with the charging pad; it also put attention on the cable and the cable management. A vibrant nylon braided red cable will stand the test of time and underneath the charger is a cord wrap that puts away any unwanted portion of the cable.

It comes in two colors, Light and Dark, and each looks great. I’ve been using the Dark one for about two weeks and it works beautifully. It’s a little expensive coming in at $79.99, but if you are looking for a wireless charger that will look as good as it works, this is a great option.

Anker Car Charger

  • Price: $9.99
  • Note: Comes with two USB ports.

Every new car now comes with a USB port, which is great for connecting your phone to play music or access Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. What it isn’t great for is charging a device. Take, for example, my Volkswagen; it charges my phone through a 0.5A capacity. That means it charges my phone super slowly. This is where the Anker Car Charger comes into play.

It offers two USB ports and a 2.4A charge capacity, much more powerful than the stock USB port of my car. The design looks great, too. It comes in a sleek color that has a bright blue LED light that lets you know it works and a red ring as a nice accent. You don’t have to break the bank to add needed functionality to your car.

Buy Now: Amazon

TechArmor Glass Screen Protector

  • Price: $7.95
  • Note: Fantastic quality with easy to install tools.

Glass screen protectors can be hit and miss. Some are good while other stink. TechArmor’s HD Clear Ballistic Glass screen protectors fall in the great category. I’ve personally purchased some of these for my iPhone and they work great. The glass feels just as smooth as the Gorilla Glass on the iPhone screen, something not all glass screen protectors can claim, and the fit and finish is precise. Installing the screen protectors is just as easy. TechArmor includes a wipe, stickers and cloth to keep unwanted dust away.

TechArmor sells the two-pack of its glass screen protectors for $7.95 and they come with the best warranty. If you manage to break both, getting replacements is painless.

Buy Now: Amazon

Nomad Bi-Fold Charging Wallet

  • Price: $99.95
  • Note: There are two versions: Bi-fold and classic layout.

This one is more of a bonus because it’s only for the iPhone and it is quite expensive. But even with those qualifiers, Nomad’s bi-fold Charging Wallet is a winner. It combines a premium Horween leather bi-fold wallet and a 2,400mAh battery with a Lightning cable neatly tucked it. That’s enough to top off most iPhones. Seriously, this wallet looks fantastic. It’ll look even better once some wear and tear adds a rich finish.

Unfortunately, it’s only for the iPhone; a version for Android with a USB-C connector is not available. iPhone users should take note and Android users should petition Nomad to make one for them. At $99.95, it’s a hard price tag to swallow, but when you consider that most premium Horween leather wallets run about the same if not more, Nomad’s wallet is a bargain when you consider you’re also getting the extra battery.

Buy Now: Amazon


Danny Zepeda

Born and raised in Southern California, Danny grew up on a steady diet Pixar, Star Wars and Steven Spielberg movies. Unbeknownst to him, this was...

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