It's new phone season — new handsets are releasing every few weeks, we're seeing endless software updates, and the holidays are right around the corner.
We asked our tech-obsessed writers and editors to give us the lowdown on their must-have accessories when they splurge on a new device. Check out the list below and leave your favorite cases, battery packs, and other accessories in the comments!
Jake Peterson, News Writer, Gadget Hacks
Apple might make my favorite smartphone, but their cables are notoriously short and flimsy. That's where a nylon braided cable comes in handy. These are way sturdier than Apple's spaghetti-string wires, something that's readily apparent the second you hold it one your hand. I recommend springing for the lengthier cable as well. I like Anker's 6ft braided cable ($12.99 on Amazon). No more pulling the plug out of the wall just to browse Instagram on low-power mode.
Adario Strange, Editor, Next Reality
The Moment anamorphic lens for iPhone, Pixel, Samsung Galaxy, and OnePlus smartphones could be the perfect add-on to take your indie filmmaker dreams and make the a reality. Using this lens, along with the required M-series Photo Case ($39.99 on Amazon) or Battery Photo Case makes normal video look like it might be ready for the big screen.
Jen Welsh, Editor In Chief at WonderHowTo
I recently upgraded from my iPhone X to the iPhone 11 Pro Max (buy from: Amazon | Best Buy | Apple AT&T | Verizon | Sprint). Because the phone is so much larger and heavier, I knew I needed to invest in a real case and something that would let me grip on to the phone better when trying to type with one hand.
My husband and I use this iOttie iTap Wireless Qi Wireless Car Mount & Desk Stand in our car to charge and hold our devices in view when driving (the newer version, the iTap2, is available currently for $49.95 on Amazon, which uses a different plate setup). We've been using this setup for years and love it. But it definitely makes it harder to pick out a good case and accessories for the phone, as you need to attach a metal plate to the back of the phone.
I need a case that's thin enough to support wireless charging and the magnetic attachment to the iOttie mount, while also not having a huge bump. In the end, I settled on the Spigen Thin Fit case ($9.99 on Amazon), which has room for the iOttie's magnetic plate. To improve my one-handed typing and gripping, I chose a Phone Loops Phone Grip Finger Strap ($9.99 on Amazon), which feels really natural to use and is very secure since it's attached inside the case.
Jon Knight, Research Manager, Gadget Hacks
Before the end of the first day with a new phone, I must pair my go-to earbuds, the OnePlus Bullet Wireless 2 (which is currently $99 on OnePlus's website).
I have been using its predecessor for years, and the second iteration is only better. It has a longer range thanks to Bluetooth 5, longer battery life, and is one of the few earbuds I know that supports fast charging. It doesn't have any official IP rating, but from my personal experience, they handled my daily four hours workout session with ease.
Tommy Palladino, Contributing Writer, Next Reality
Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo True Wireless Earbuds ($49.99 from Amazon): For those who crave the freedom of true wireless but don't want to shell out for Apple AirPods, here is your alternative. Anker's earbuds connect without fuss, sound great, and are fairly inconspicuous.
Anker Roav SmartCharge F0 Bluetooth FM Transmitter ($16.99 from Amazon): In these days of smartphones without headphone jacks, connecting to car stereos that lack Bluetooth connectivity via the tried-and-true auxillary cable is no longer a viable option. Out of the many Bluetooth FM transmitters options out there, Anker's version offers the best combination of pairing speed, broadcast strength, and sound quality. A companion app for iOS and Android is needed to program broadcast stations and it offers some value-added features, like a parking space tracker.
Anker PowerCore Speed 10000 QC ($34.99 from Amazon): External batteries are a necessity for power users on the go. This battery packs ample power capacity and quick charge capabilities into a relatively small package.
Spigen Liquid Crystal Case ($12.99 from Amazon): So you want to protect your precious pocket computer, but you still want to see that sexy design? The Spigen Liquid Crystal case is as clear as its name implies, provides adequate protection from drops without being bulky, and keeps its branding subtle.
Google Chromecast ($35 from Amazon): In a mixed Apple and Android household, Chromecast is still the simplest solution for broadcasting streaming video and audio. The TV dongle carries even more benefits for those who opt into the Google Home...er, Nest...ecosystem. Sometimes you want a physical remote, where Amazon Fire TV finds favor, but when your family members or roommates misplace that remote, Chromecast is there to save the day.
Dallas Thomas, Editor, Gadget Hacks
Whenever I get a new Galaxy, I always snag a Samsung Clear View Cover ($39.99 from Amazon). They've released this case for every Galaxy S model since 2016, so it's a comfortable little piece of continuity for someone who upgrades phones quite a bit. I like them because they're super thin and don't add bulk to the phone, plus they have that signature Clear View cover that lets me see the Always-On Display.