When we think smartphone accessories, we often immediately gravitate to cases, screen protectors, extra cables, and wireless charging docks. But smartphone accessories run the gamut, from devices to help you take better pictures (or even print them!) to mic attachments for vlogging and podcasting and more.
Looking for an out-of-the-box smartphone accessory to get for someone you love or to up your game and get more out of your mobile device? Here are some great ideas.
A pocket printer is the new 21st Century version of the Polaroid, which, not surprisingly, is one of the many brands that make them today. The idea is to snap a photo with your smartphone camera, many of which are good enough to rival dedicated digital cameras nowadays, then send it wirelessly to a pocket-sized printer to get a tiny, wallet-sized print. The prints usually appear on paper that has ink built into it with adhesive backing so you can stick them to a locker, notebook, or even the back of your phone case.
One of the newest models to hit the market is the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ1, which has automatic exposure that senses the level of ambient light and adjusts accordingly before snapping the photo, along with a one-touch selfie mode. Available in Terracotta Orange, Glacier Blue, or Chalk White for $160, the printer works with Instax Square instant film, which comes in packs of 10, and in Rainbow ($15) or Monochrome ($16).
From the brand that popularized the instant print, with a name that has become synonymous with them, there’s the Polaroid Hi-Print, which outputs credit card-sized 2×3 self-adhesive prints using the partner mobile app. It’s available for about $125 and uses paper cartridges that cost about $20 for 20.
A lot of vloggers, podcasters, and YouTubers use their smartphones to record footage. Why not, considering they are pretty great devices with amazing cameras and video recording capability. However, when you’re recording, particularly podcasts that rely on sound only, the audio quality is critical. There are tons of mic attachments that work with mobile phones, including the new Sennheiser MKE 400 Compact Shotgun Mic, which can connect to a smartphone or DSLR camera to amplify your voice and help eliminate background noise. It has adjustable sensitivity and is powered by easily replaceable AA batteries so you can keep recording on the go without having to look for an outlet to recharge. The MKE 400 costs $260, or you can pay $300 to get it in a kit with a Smartphone Clamp and Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod.
Portable Audio DAC
Audiophile sound usually doesn’t coincide with listening to music from your smartphone. You’re probably picturing yourself lounging on the couch in a dedicated listening room at home with a pair of high-end headphones connected to your stereo system, or a vinyl record spinning on a turntable. But the reality is that many people listen to music on the go. And when the choice is either don’t listen at all or listen from a phone, you might choose the latter. But you can improve the sound from a mobile device using a high-res DAC, like the Periodic Audio Rhodium. Available for about $60, it’s small enough to fit in a pocket and connects to a mobile device to feed improved audio to a pair of wired headphones.
While you can take notes on a tablet like a Samsung Galaxy Tab that comes with an S Pen, you can also leverage your smartphone and a neat reusable digital planner, like the Rocketbook Panda Planner. With this device, you can take digital notes and set goals using the templates, then sync with the Rocketbook app to upload the information to your favourite cloud service, like Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, Box, iCloud, or Slack, or even e-mail. Symbols on the bottom of each page serve as magic “buttons” for organizing your content. Great for students, executives, administrative professionals, or just Type-A individuals, the notebook uses patented technology with synthetic paper and a Pilot FriXion pen, marker, or highlighter. When you’re done, wipe it down with a damp cloth and use it again and again. There’s a regular size planner for about $50 or executive size for about $48, and each comes with a FriXion pen and microfibre cleaning cloth.
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