That new phone you just bought—for yourself or a loved one—comes with a couple basic accessories out of the box, like a charger or a data cable. However, there are some extras that you still might want to budget for. These are the accessories we recommend to keep your phone safe, charged, and make them a little more useful.
A Sturdy Case
Arguably one of the most important accessories you can get for your phone is a good, strong case. Modern phones like the iPhone XS and Pixel 3 have glass on both the front and back of the phone which can get scraped, scratched, or shattered. In some scratch tests, the Pixel 3 even picked up scratches from a quarter in your pocket. The iPhone XS held up better in drop tests, but do you really want to tempt fate?
You’ll likely find more variation with this accessory than most others. For the iPhone alone, you can find fabric folio cases, basic clear cases, and even cases with a built-in wallet. Android phones tend to have fewer options because there are more of them, but companies like Spigen offer a wide selection of cases for most major phones on the market.
A Screen Protector
Every new phone promises better scratch resistance than the last. After they spend a couple years in your pocket or purse scraping against your keys, though, and any phone will look like it was attacked by raptors. A screen protector from companies like Otterbox or (again) Spigen put an extra layer of thin tempered glass on top of your display. If this protector gets scratched up, you can just remove it and add a new one. This is especially handy if you plan to sell your phone down the road. The fewer scratches on the phone itself, the higher the resale value.
A Fast and/or Wireless Charger
If you haven’t upgraded in a couple years, your new phone probably supports fast charging, wireless charging, or both at the same time. Fast chargers allow you to fill your phone’s battery in a fraction of the time as your old charger. Wireless chargers, meanwhile, let you charge your phone without plugging it in. Just set it on a charging pad and go.
Some chargers do both. Samsung’s Qi wireless charger can also quickly charge recent Samsung phones, iPhones, and more. The company also sells a propped-up charging stand that’s perfect for keeping an eye on your phone while at your desk. This accessory can be a little complicated because some phones only support fast charging, some only support wireless charging, and some support both. There’s also disagreement among companies about certain standards—for example, the Pixel 3 can use third-party wireless chargers, but will only fast charge with Google’s own stand for now—so be sure to check that any new chargers you get work with your phone.
An External Battery
No matter how fast or convenient charging your phone is, it can still die in the middle of the day. That’s where a good external battery comes in. There are dozens of these on the market so you can have your pick of the litter. Some, like Anker’s lipstick-sized charger come with a small battery, but fit easily in your purse or pocket. Others, like this one from Heloideo (my personal favorite) come with larger batteries and built-in charging cables.
Back-of-the-Phone Wallets, Magnets, and Handles
The back of your phone is quickly becoming prime accessory real estate. You can attach a wallet and keep your credit cards with your phone. With the help of a magnet inside your phone’s case, you can dock your phone in the car. The wildly popular and customizable PopSockets help you get a grip on your large phones and double as a kickstand. Or you can just get a dedicated kickstand. The only problem with the wide array of accessories you can stick to the back of your phone is that you only have so much room. You can have a phone wallet or a PopSocket, but if you really need both, check out a Monet wallet, which features an expandable finger loop for holding and propping, plus two card slots.
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