Mobile / Buying Guide

7 Mobile Accessories You Didn't Know You Needed

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It’s fall, and here at B&H that means one thing: Smartphone manufacturers are emerging blinking from many months of R&D hibernation and are facing the world with their shiniest and newest creations ahead of the holiday season. And while a spate of new flagship handsets is exciting, we all know that the best part of getting a new phone is tricking it out with the hottest apps and accessories. To help you choose some new hardware to complement your own device, new or old, take a look at the following.

FLIR ONE Thermal Imaging Camera

Thanks to thermoreceptive cells in their heads, certain snakes can “see” the heat radiating from their prey. While you hopefully don’t need to hunt your own food under cover of darkness, the thermal imaging capabilities of the FLIR ONE camera are handy nonetheless: it plugs directly into your smartphone and uses a pair of cameras to give you the ability to see in infrared along with the visible light spectrum. It senses temperatures from -4 to 248°F in increments as small as 0.18°F in 640 x 480 resolution, then overlays the temperature information with the visible light camera to produce a composite image.

FLIR ONE Thermal Imaging Camera for Android

Far more than a just a way to produce trippy images, infrared photography has real-world, everyday uses. Around the house, an infrared camera helps diagnose energy inefficiencies, overloaded circuits, or faulty appliances, and home mechanics can use infrared technology to figure out what’s wrong with the family car. And whether you’re out hunting in the woods or protecting your home, you can use the FLIR ONE to detect animals and people alike without giving away your position.

The FLIR ONE is available in two versions, one for Lightning-enabled Apple iOS mobile devices and another for micro-USB-enabled Android devices. iPhone 5/5s users can also use the first-generation FLIR ONE, which comes as a protective case for the device.

Screen Protectors

The proliferation of ultra-tough display materials like Corning Gorilla Glass has been a lifesaver to clumsy individuals like myself (high school nickname: Ol’ Land O’ Lakes Fingers*). But those surfaces are primarily designed to withstand cracking and shattering, not scratching. If damage from keys, coins, rocks, and sidewalks are as concerning to you as they are to me, it’s time to invest in a screen protector.

Gadget Guard Black Ice Edition Tempered Glass Screen Protector

Brands like iLuv and Gadget Guard produce a wide variety of products for a wide variety of phones, but there are two main classes of screen protector: Film protectors are made from flexible materials, tend to require a bit more precision in application, and are relatively inexpensive. Glass protectors are thin sheets of real glass (usually tempered for strength) that can be easier to apply but tend to cost more. Beyond that, features abound. Smudge- and fingerprint-resistant (also known as oleophobic), anti-glare, anti-blue light, rounded edges, you name it. Just apply it to your compatible device and go about your day with one less thing to worry about.

Lens Attachments

The cameras in our phones have evolved massively over the years, and photos taken with the 0.3MP pinholes of the flip phone era look like grainy security camera footage when compared with the shots we snap with the 10-20MP, 1/3" behemoths in today’s flagship handsets. But despite all those tasty megapixels, smartphone cameras still lack the interchangeable lenses and moving elements that enable DSLRs to change their focal length at will.

olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens for iPhone

Lens attachments like olloclip’s 4-in-1 for the iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus, and 6s Plus change all that, with user-swappable lenses that let you get up close and personal with your subjects, or as far off as possible. Simply slip it over the top of your phone to use its wide-angle lens for group photos and landscapes or its fisheye lens to deliver dramatic, immersive pictures. Each element can be turned around to reveal macro elements (10x and 15x) for detailed shots from a much closer distance than your iPhone’s stock camera will allow.

The 4-in-1 comes with lens caps, a carrying bag, three colored pendants, and a lanyard for safekeeping. It’s available in several color combinations and is compatible with front and rear cameras. If you don’t have a 6-series iPhone, don’t fret: Mobi-Lens’s Combo Pack comes with two lenses that clip to the front or back camera of most smartphones on the market, giving them wide-angle, macro, and fisheye capabilities.

Glove.ly SOLID Touchscreen Gloves

If you’ve been anywhere cold in the past decade or so, I shouldn’t need to explain just how great it is to have a pair of touchscreen-compatible gloves. They keep your hands warm while still allowing you to use your smartphone or tablet unimpeded (okay, I did explain it. Sue me.).

Glove.ly SOLID Winter Touchscreen Gloves

Not all touchscreen gloves are created equal, however. Glove.ly’s got a few styles of gloves, but the SOLID is my favorite. Like others, they’re fully conductive, meaning that you’re not limited to interacting with your device through a pad on the fingertips: the entire glove is conductive! The gloves are made from a wool blend material and are hand-washable, with hidden magnets that hold them together when it’s warm enough to forget about them in a drawer. My favorite feature, though, is the care label. It’s made from the same microfiber material as microfiber cloths, so you can clean your specs or screen on the go.

DiCAPac Waterproof Floating Action Case

Water is the smartphone’s mortal enemy. They go together like cats and dogs, like fire and ice, like oil and, uh, water. While smartphone manufacturers are starting to take notice (thanks, Apple!), most handsets are lucky to be blessed with rain resistance, much less full-on waterproofing. For those devices, immersion in water fries circuitry, invalidates warranties, and ruins days.

DiCAPac Waterproof Floating Action Case for Smartphones up to 5.7"

Instead of ensuring your phone’s security with a poolside bowl of uncooked rice, try the DiCAPac Waterproof Floating Action Case. No mere sandwich bag, it’s not only dustproof, but can be submerged over thirty feet below the waves for up to a half hour at a time. Its pouch design and three sizes (for phones up to 4.7, 5.1, or 5.7") ensure near-universal compatibility. And true to its name, an airbag on the back ensures that you won’t lose your precious device to Davy Jones’s Locker.

If you’re taking your smartphone underwater, there’s a good chance that you’re going to be taking some pictures or video. The Action Case has you covered with a clear, rigid polycarbonate camera window that lets you snap shots with minimal distortion. It also has reinforced corners for strength, a neck strap, and a belt clip. Take that, sandwich bag.

Mobile Storage

As someone who lives in a New York apartment, I know a few things about running out of space, namely, that it isn’t exactly ideal. And while I can’t knock out a wall to fit that reclining sectional (with cup holders!) into my living room, I can expand the storage capacity on my smartphone with ease. Read the B&H Explora article, Gaga for Gigabytes: Add External Storage to Your Smartphone, by my favorite Explora author, to learn all about smartphone storage expansion. I’ll be at home, holding my cup in my hands like a chump.

SanDisk 64GB Extreme UHS-I microSDXC Memory Card

PowerAll Deluxe Portable Power Bank

In today’s age, to be without a juiced-up smartphone is to be powerless and disconnected. The same holds true for our vehicles: if your car was manufactured after, say, the First World War, it likely uses an electric starter instead of a hand crank, and if you leave your lights on all night you’ll be going nowhere fast. To paraphrase Gay Talese, a smartphone with a dead battery is Picasso without paint, Ferrari without fuel—only worse.

PowerAll Deluxe 12000mAh Portable Power Bank

Thankfully, the PowerAll Deluxe Portable Power Pack covers you in both situations. It produces a jump-start current of 400A and comes with its own mini jumper cables so you won’t be left in the lurch. It’s also got a pair of 5V, 2.1A USB ports for charging phones, tablets, and accessories, along with a USB cable and adapters for a wide variety of devices. An integrated 86-lumen flashlight with continuous and SOS strobes helps you signal rescuers in the event of an emergency.

Available in 12000, 16000, and 32000mAh flavors, the pack is able to recharge even the power-hungriest of phones, many times over. There’s even a water-resistant shockproof model for complete peace of mind.

Now that you’ve got a waterproof, scratch-resistant phone with tons of storage that can be recharged on the go, take macro, wide-angle, and fisheye photos, and even see heat (while you stay warm), what will you use it for?

4 Comments

It would be nice if Olloclip jhad lenses for Android phones

I bought a cse from China for my Nexus 6P just because it had a belt clip. AND, the silicone cover fits way to tight to get out easily and the right side wing covers the volume buttons.

The nice cases have no belt clip just a tiny stand.

Time to understand customer's desires.

The Olloclip problem is there is no telephoto lense.

Hi John,

You're in luck! olloclip does make a telephoto lens in the form of the Active Lens for iPhone 6/6s/6 Plus/6s Plus, which pairs a 2x telephoto lens with an ultra-wide-angle lens. Hope this works for you.

-Max

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