Smartphone accessories seem to be just as much in the limelight as the phones they complement. This Techspirited article takes a look at some of the best accessories available in the market today.
According to popular market research company, ABI Research, the smartphone accessories industry is estimated to grow up to USD 38 billion by the year 2017.
Smartphones have pretty much dominated the tech space through most of 2013, and the coming year is expected to bring in even more innovations in this field. Manufacturers have gone all out to load their phones with the latest and most powerful hardware available. They have even experimented with different form factors, and have more or less settled on the candy bar form with a touchscreen on top. There seems to be little to differentiate between the top phones available in the market today. Software customizations are also an important factor, but then again, this is something that can only be experienced once the user gets his hands on the phone. It can be safely said that mobiles today, are as high-end as they can possibly be unless you are one who looks too much into numbers.
So, how do you make your high-end smartphone stand out from amongst all the cheap knockoffs available out there, or how do you make your mid-range phone look like its high-end sibling? The answer is not to do with the phone itself, but more to do with the accessories available for it. Without further ado then, here’s looking at some of the most amazing accessories available in the market today, that have really made their compatible phones stand out.
Oppo O-Click (Bluetooth Remote)
Chinese mobile maker, Oppo, is out to woo customers in the international market with their latest offering, the N1. The phone itself is very well-designed, but what makes it even more interesting is the O-Click, a Bluetooth accessory with some real cool features that comes along with the phone. It can act as your remote camera shutter, so the next time you want to take a picture of yourself, there will be less of your arms and more of you in the photographs. Just place the camera in the right spot, sport your favorite pose and click away using just your tiny remote. Apart from making you feel like Batman remotely controlling his bat mobile, the O-Click will also remind you to take it along wherever you go, notifying you if you move outside a preset radius from it. You can string it along with your bunch of keys and never worry about losing them again, just tap on your device to locate them. It can also be used the other way round, just in case you can’t seem to find your phone, click on the O-Click and it will buzz your phone. We find this to be a wonderful addition to a great phone. What makes things even better is the fact that it actually comes bundled along with the phone.
Compatible with: Oppo N1
Sony DSC-QX100 (Detachable smartphone camera lens)
Smartphone cameras have really come of age, and today, sport some fantastic lenses. Truth be said though, as incredible as the images captured by these phones may be, they still are a far cry from images captured by a DSLR. Apart from the fact that they have powerful lenses on them, DSLRs are also extremely easy to use. These days, smartphones provide a lot of camera settings, which give you more control over your camera, but are still rather cumbersome to use. This is where the Sony DSC-QX100 steps in. These are the first of their kind lenses which can be attached to your smartphone, and greatly enhance their imaging capabilities. In reality, the QX100 is a standalone camera sans the viewfinder. Your smartphone acts as the viewfinder and the device connects to the phone either over NFC (if your phone supports it) or via Wi-Fi. It clips on to your smartphone and gives you manual focus options, just like a SLR. It also comes with superior optical zoom, up to 10x. Images look nice and crisp and are far more detailed than the ones taken from your smartphone.
We love the idea of a carrying a detachable camera lens for our smartphone. However, if your phone does not support NFC, the pairing of the lens with your phone can be a real tedious task. All-in-all, the lens makes for a great add-on accessory and helps you capture some fantastic images from your phone.
Compatible with: Android (4.0+) devices
TYLT VU (Wireless phone charger)
These days, phones are more power hungry than ever, thanks to their superior processors and hardware. Although their processing power has gone up by notches, phones also seem to be trimming down on their waist sizes with devices that seem so thin that you’d have to be careful not to cut yourself with them. Sadly though, large batteries seem to be the carbs that mobile manufacturers are avoiding as they set out to achieve the thinnest waistlines for their devices. What this means is that you now need to charge most phone a lot more often. The alternative―wireless charging―makes charging your phone seem so much cooler! The TYLT VU is one such stylish charger with a cool form factor. Available in a variety of colors, the charger also acts as a stand for your phone so you can comfortably access your device as it charges. The VU is really fast and charges your phone from 10% to 100% in just under 2 hours.
The TYLT VU is a very efficient and good-looking charger which wonderfully complements your smartphone. It is needless to say that you would need to have a phone that supports wireless charging to use with the device. Wireless charging is a real cool tech, but one that is currently supported only by a handful of devices. Also, we wish phone manufacturers would rather spend their time packing in larger batteries into their phones, than expecting the customer to spend another premium on the wireless charger after already having paid one for their smartphones.
Compatible with:Devices with Qi charging
Samsung S-View Flip Cover (Flip cover)
No matter how much power your smartphone may be packing, if it does not have a screen to match up to it, it is just not good enough. Thankfully though, manufacturers these days have some spectacular screens that sit on top of their phones. Most of the flagship phones already pack an HD display, and have dazzling pixel densities that would really strain the ‘retina’ to tell the individual pixels apart. You, however, would always feel the need to keep your phone’s screen hidden away from the prying eyes of the world. A flip cover serves the purpose very well, but on the downside though, you are bound to miss out on most of your phone’s notifications. Samsung came up with a novel solution to the problem with their S-View flip cover. The S-View cover contains a small window, where you can see notifications on the screen. The high-quality cover itself is active, meaning the entire screen blacks out the moment you close the cover, and only the area around the window displays the notifications. The moment you open the cover the displays turns on.
The S-View covers are very convenient to use and replace the back cover altogether, unlike with the ones found on its competitors, where the covers sit over the back panel. The small window does a good job of showing the notifications without consuming a lot of power. However, it only shows you the time and other notifications, but does not give you access to any other phone functions.
Samsung Galaxy S4
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Samsung Galaxy Gear (Smartwatch)
How often has it happened that you get a notification on your phone while driving a car, and you just want to have a quick look at it without reaching out for your phone? Or imagine an important meeting, and you need to take a quick look at the message that you just received on your phone (it could well be football scores!) but don’t want to draw the wrath of your manager? Well, Samsung have you covered with their latest gadget, the Galaxy Gear. This smartwatch seems to be right out of one of the Bond movies, and apart from reading messages, it even allows you to make and receive phone calls, just like 007! Of course, it needs to be paired with your smartphone for all these functions. It even has a camera to record small clips which can then be transferred to the phone. And yes, it also tells time.
The smartwatch segment is only just hotting up, with Samsung calling shotgun with the Gear. The watch has some real nice features and also looks every bit as stylish. On the downside though, the software on board is far from perfect, and most of the features in true Samsung style, seem way too gimmicky and lack any practical application.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Samsung Galaxy S4
Samsung Galaxy S3
Klipsch S4i (II) In-Ear Headphones (Earphones)
The modern smartphone aims to replace most of your other electronic gadgets, with better features and performance. One such device is your portable MP3 player. Mobile phones these days pack quite a punch in terms of superior audio output and other enhancements. These can easily satiate the appetites of even the most demanding of audiophiles. Out of the box though, most phones are found to be lacking in the sound department, owing mainly to the substandard earphones that they are shipped with. Klipsch S4i (II) acts as a perfect panacea to this crippling disease that plagues these phones. These in-ear headphones are extremely comfortable and fit snugly in your ears almost completely eradicating the ambient noise. What you are left with is unadulterated high-quality audio with fantastic bass. The earphones are available in two variants―for Android and for iOS. They look great and also have hardware buttons which help you answer calls, control the music player and also the music/call volume. The flat cords ensure that they don’t get entangled the next time you pull these incredible earphones out of your pocket.
The S4i (II) is a great product and one of the finest in-ear headphones available in the market today. What makes them so popular is the fact that they are moderately priced, but deliver a premium performance.
Compatible with:iOS and Android devices
Jawbone Big Jambox (Bluetooth speakers)
They say there’s nothing quite like music to soothe your soul. With phones now supporting large memory cards, you can now carry your entire music library with you at all times. Most phone speakers, however, aren’t quite built to play music loud and clear as it is meant to be heard. If you are amongst those smartphone users who love their phone but don’t want to settle for their average speaker quality, the Big Jambox from Jawbone might just be the perfect device for you. The Big Jambox is an upgrade from the original Jambox, which impressed one and all with its phenomenal audio processing prowess. The seemingly larger-than-life iteration of this device raises the bar for sound quality on a wireless speaker to a dizzying height. Music lovers would really appreciate the clarity of the sound on this big yet portable speaker. The Big Jambox is available in some rather catchy colors that seem to do justice to the lively output of this device.
The Big Jambox is one of the best wireless speakers available on the market. However, this comes at a very high price point, and is rather clunky as compared to the original Jambox.
Compatible with:Bluetooth supported (3.0+) devices
There you have it, these were some of the most amazing accessories that have featured with smartphones in recent times. With the mobile wars hotting up, and more and more OEMs jumping into the foray, the accessories accompanying the newer phones are bound to be even more innovative. The year 2014 promises to be another wonderful year for the mobile industry, and we can’t wait to see what new surprises it has in store for us. Cheers.
Disclaimer: Prices mentioned are subject to change according to offer and location.