4 Accessories Every Android Owner Should Have
So, you have your new Android phone, tucked snugly inside of its OtterBox case for protection. But there has to be more to mobile life than just a phone in a case, right? Of course there is. There are a whole slew of accessories out there to help get the best experience possible with that shiny gadget stuffed in your pocket.
Let’s take a look at a few of my personal favorites.
1. A Bluetooth Speaker
Android/iOS: There’s a dang good chance that you’ll be filling your head with tunes directly from your smartphone, but what about times when you want to share your music? For those occasions, a Bluetooth (BT) speaker is a must have. BT speakers come in a wide variety of options — everything from tiny to huge, affordable to over-the-top expensive. I try to find the perfect balance between portability, sound quality and affordability. While that task can be a tough one, in my opinion the best bluetooth speaker is the BOOM by Ultimate Ears. It comes in at around $200, is splash- and stain-resistant and sounds pretty amazing. A worthwhile investment for sharing tunes no matter where you’re at.
2. NFC Tags
Android Only: This is one of those fun things that only Android users get to enjoy. NFC — which stands for Near Field Communication — is a really cool way to make your phone perform certain tasks automatically, just by touching it to a tag (if your phone supports NFC, that is — most modern handsets do). For example, let’s say you want to disable Wi-Fi, enable Bluetooth, and fire up GPS when you get in the car. Simply program a tag to execute these tasks using an app like Trigger, and slap the tag on the dash of the car. The next time you hop in your ride, just tap the phone on the tag and poof — it’s done. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, too. The things that can be done with NFC are nearly limitless with the right applications. You can pick up NFC tags on the cheap at a variety of places around the web. Oh, and for the car scenario above — Arkon even makes an NFC-equipped car dock. Boom.
3. A Game Controller
Android/iOS: So you like to play in your downtime, no doubt. In fact, I can’t think of a single person who doesn’t play games on their phone from time to time. If you’re looking for a way to really take that mobile gaming experience to the next level, you have to get a gaming controller. PowerA is probably the best name in the biz when it comes to turning your mobile phone into an on-the-go gaming rig, with its line of MOGA Power controllers for Android, and the all new MOGA Ace controller for iOS. The latter works on the iPhone 5, 5c, 5s and iPod Touch 5th gen, while the former works on essentially any Bluetooth-compatible Android handset. They don’t work with every game out there, so make sure to check the game listing before handing over the eighty-ish dollars to make one yours.
4. A Wireless Charger
Android Only: Charging your phone can be a drag, but fortunately for many Android users, it can also be as simple as tossing the phone on a mat and going on about your business. Many modern Android handsets support what’s called inductive charging, which essentially allows the phone to be charged by touch. The charging pads and docks can be kind of hit or miss, however, so make sure to pick up something from a reputable seller. I’ve been using the TYLT VU charger ($70) for the last several months and don’t have a single complaint about it. That said, there are more affordable solutions for a wireless phone charger out there — especially if you wait for a good sale to show up.
5. JamUp Plug and Software
iOS Only: It might be considered heresy by many Android die-hards, but I love my iPad. Not because iOS is better than Android (because I don’t personally believe that’s true), but because of the JamUp Plug and accompanying software. It basically turns the iPad into a fully-functional guitar or bass modeling amp (note: it’s also compatible with iPhone). Now, I realize that this is somewhat of a niche option, but it’s so good I just couldn’t ignore it in this post. If you’re a guitarist or bassist who uses iOS, JamUp is an absolute must-have for practicing. It’s been invaluable for me.
There we go — a handful of my favorite accessories for both Android and iOS. While I realize that not every option applies to everyone, I do feel like there’s at least one thing on here for every type of mobile user.