iPhone and iPad

Buying a New Smartphone? All The Accessories You’ll (Probably) Need

Christian Cawley 03-08-2015

Your new phone has arrived. It is shiny, precious, and packed with possibilities. It is also rather expensive. It sits alone, accompanied by a common charger, but little else.


It’s fair to say that this isn’t fair on your new smartphone, or you. You need to get the most out of this device, and without a slick charger, snazzy, versatile case, a screen protector and perhaps even a desktop dock or car dashboard holder, this isn’t going to happen.

Let’s take a look at what is available.

First: Buy A Case

Your new phone needs a case, something to protect the exterior from scratches and dents. Most cases, quite frankly, are rubbish, falling well short of what should be expected. Cases should keep hold of your phone, not add too much bulk, and protect from any damage that might be caused by passing a phone across a table top or dropping it.


In this age of multimedia streaming to smartphones, a new case should also enable you to enjoy content on your phone without forcing you to resort to building DIY stands How To Make Your Own iPod/iPhone/Smartphone Stand When you've spent quite a few bucks on your MP3 player or smartphone, the last thing you need is an overpriced accessory that you can easily make yourself. Plenty of individuals on the Internet have... Read More . Cases increasingly feature stands and systems to prop your phone safely, and cost little more than the less versatile alternatives. You shouldn’t need to pay more than $10 for a robust case that doubles as a stand.


Invariably, cases come with screen protectors. I personally find these dust-attracting pieces of plastic an absolute chore to apply, but there is a very good guide here on MakeUseOf that demonstrates how to perfectly apply a screen protector The Best Way To Apply a Screen Protector To Your Phone Or Tablet Have you ever seen someone’s phone with a giant bubble in the middle between the screen protector and the screen? Perhaps you’ve been that person or are trying not to be that person. Whether you... Read More . If your case didn’t ship with a screen protector, you’ll find something suitable in your local mobile phone store or online at eBay or Amazon.

If you’re working in a particularly hostile environment, or your everyday use involves lots of dust and sudden impacts, you might want to invest in your phone’s lifespan by purchasing a tough iPhone case The 5 Toughest iPhone Cases Money Can Buy Apple’s latest iPhone is surprisingly robust given its light weight but it’s only designed to survive minor drops in a friendly environment. Serious falls, dirt and water aren’t a factor, and that’s a problem if... Read More or ruggedized housing for your Android device The 5 Toughest Samsung Galaxy Cases Money Can Buy Smartphones aren't made to last. Sure, there are exceptions like rugged phones meant for outdoors, but those are outliers. When you buy a delicate Samsung Galaxy, cases are a must have. Read More . These cost considerably more than what you’ll find in the Sunday market, but they provide considerably more protection too.

A Fresh New Charger

With more and more methods to charge your phone, this comes down to personal preference. If your device is capable of wireless charging What You Need to Know About Wireless Charging Until our devices offer week-long battery life, charging on the go will remain a reality for us all. Read More then this should be your first option. The convenience that placing your smartphone onto a flat surface to charge brings (rather than messing around with cables and connectors) is considerable, and should not be overlooked.

If wireless charging isn’t for you, or your phone isn’t compatible, various other methods of charging are available 10 Smarter Ways to Charge Your Smartphone How do you recharge your phone? At a guess, I'd say you plug it into a standard charger, or even the USB port on your computer. The dull way. Read More , including emergency chargers that you can use when you’re away from your desk, or further afield.



Desktop docks usually charge your phone as well as keep it in close proximity, angled so that you can easily touch app icons and interact with messages, and you’ll find that these are increasingly packed with features as the price goes up. They’re perhaps not a must-have accessory, but they can prove useful for anyone who relies on their phone for video conferencing Best Smartphone Apps for Free Cross-Platform Video Calls It doesn't matter your platform -- from Mac to PC to Android and everything in between -- one of these apps will let you make video calls. Read More , for example.

Chargers can set you pack anything from $5 to $150 (or even more!) depending on your phone recharging requirements.

Keep Your Phone Close Whatever You’re Doing

It’s one thing to keep your phone in your pocket, but have you ever worn it on your arm? Usually employed by fitness fanatics and couriers, arm straps are a great way to keep your phone protected and close by, particularly useful for enjoying music as you run. The position of the arm strap on the upper arm also makes it easier to keep your earphones in, unless you’ve opted for a Bluetooth headset and the total hands-free solution.



Again, you should be able to find decent examples of smartphone arm straps for under $10, altough you may need to pay a little more for newer models.

For hardcore runners, triathletes and other sports activities, the Spibelt is a no-bounce sports belt with space inside for an iPhone 6 or Samsung Galaxy. If wielding your phone on your arm isn’t confortable, this just might be.

Mounting Your New Smartphone On Your Bike or Car Dashboard

If you need hands-free calling or are simply addicted to music or audiobooks stored on your phone Getting Started with Audiobooks: How to Finally Finish Your "Reading List" Audiobooks are a good way to tackle your reading list, but it can be difficult to get started with them. Let's make it simple. Read More or streamed, then you’ll need a method of securely holding your phone while riding your bike or driving a car.


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For the former, various smartphone holders are available that can be mounted to bicycle handlebars, ideal for using the device as a music player and as a sports/activity dashboard. Our previous look at phone mounts for bikes Want To Mount Your Smartphone On Your Bike? It's This Easy When was the last time you left home without your phone? We're in the age where we take our phones everywhere, and that includes while biking. Read More reveals some sturdy, reliable options. Naturally, you want reliable gripping and a tightening nut that won’t break the mount or damage your bike, so aim for the higher end of the price scale, around $20 and higher.

When it comes to cars, the cheaper the kit, the less reliable it is, both at holding your phone and staying stuck on the windscreen and dashboard. You should avoid anything under $10, and buy a device that is intended for your phone; at the same time, however, you’ll also need to select a mount or holder that suits your car. This might mean purchasing a mount with a long arm and suction cup if the windscreen is positioned beyond arm’s reach, for instance, or selecting one that can be attached to the car’s cooling fan outlets. You may even find favor with a phone holder that attaches itself to your phone’s CD player.


I’ve been using the device above for some months now, and Amazon are currently offering a 50% discount on its usual $24.99 price. The gel suction cup is particularly impressive, and allows you to attach the phone to even bumpy, textured dashboards, while the grip is compatible with the vast majority of smartphones.

Now, if you’re a driver, it’s worth reiterating the following: using your phone while driving is an offence. There is barely a civilized country in the world where this is not the case, so you will need to make sure that when you use a dashboard or windscreen mount for your phone that you don’t start prodding the display to change tracks while you’re driving.

To be safe, don’t use the phone while in transit, and pull over if you really need to do anything. It’s preferable to get your travelling partner to interact with your phone on your behalf, although if you need to make calls and your car has Bluetooth, this should be enough for you to call out or receive calls without taking your hands and eyes off the wheel. Incidentally, you can also use a dashboard or screenmount to secure your phone while you use it as a dashcam How to Make Your Own Dashcam For Your Car or Bike There are so many awesome uses for an old smartphone – but have you considered setting it up as a dashcam? Read More .

Other Accessory Options to Consider

If buying a new phone wasn’t enough of an outlay, you can max out your portable experience (and credit card) with accessories that will totally change the way you use the device. The most obvious example would be wearables, such as the Apple Watch for iOS users and Android Wear for Android phone owners.

These devices offer a new way of interacting with your phone, and being watches they’re permanently strapped to your wrist. For instance, you can make calls, send messages and even take photos with the Apple Watch How to Perform Common iPhone Functions on Your Apple Watch Some see the Apple Watch as little more than an expensive Bluetooth remote. That may be so, but you can use it to access a huge number of iPhone features without reaching into your pocket. Read More , and if you’re splashing out on this you might want to consider buying a dedicated case The 8 Best Cases and Covers to Protect Your Apple Watch Looking for the best Apple Watch case to protect or accessorize your device? Here are great choices for every kind of person and purpose. Read More .



Meanwhile the choice of Android Wear devices Which Android Wear Smartwatch Is Best For You? In the market for an Android Wear smartwatch? Let's compare all the options available now and make the decision easy. Read More continues to grow and once you have one synced with your Android smartphones you can call on a number of Android Wear apps 12 Android Wear Apps to Install Right Away on Your Smartwatch If you've got a brand-new Android smartwatch, here are the must-have Android Wear apps to install right away. Read More , from reskinned clocks and calculators to heart rate monitors. You can, incidentally, purchase standalone heart rate monitors that can be paired via Bluetooth to your iOS or Android smartphone, ideal for keeping costs down and avoiding conversations about the comparative irrelevance of smart watches.

And if the thought of all of that exercise hasn’t worn you out, there is one final kind of accessory you can buy that can be controlled using your new smartphone. Apple TV and Chromecast may be very similar Apple TV vs. Chromecast: Which Streaming Solution Is Best For You? You know you want either an Apple TV or a Chromecast. But which is best for you? We compare Apple TV versus Chromecast to find out. Read More  (despite quite different price points) but the great thing is you can control them both from an iPhone or an Android device, making the choice of which one to purchase much easier. Complete your mobile media experience with a portable Bluetooth speaker, ideal for short-term use at a moment’s notice.

What accessories do you use with your smartphone? Have we missed something that you would have included? Tell us more in the comments.

Image Credits: Phone Accessories via Shutterstock

Related topics: Buying Tips, Induction Charger, iPhone Case, Mobile Accessory, Wearable Technology.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Anonymous
    August 4, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    Not sure about a case for my Z1 - the Z series have a bit of a heat issue.

    Wrist strap - ESSENTIAL

  2. Anonymous
    August 4, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    I think instead, maybe screen protector? Though I also don't use those, but they are better than cases.

  3. Anonymous
    August 4, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    All of these are great except for cases. I hate cases.

  4. Anonymous
    August 3, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    I don't like any sort of case that makes my phone more bulky. My current LG G4 has a simple back cover that I only keep on in order to reduce the risk of scratching the camera lens. Since I keep my phone in my front pants pocket, anything more than that is simply unwelcome. I've been carrying mobile devices since the days of the Palm Pilot and Pocket PC and I've never broken or damaged one, but I've seen plenty of people with $100 bulletproof cases who still somehow managed to crack their screens, so I'm less than convinced of the value of using one.

    I think the right way to go with chargers, especially for new phones, is with the high wattage/high amperage multiport options that include support for Qualcomm Quickcharge. Put one of those by your night stand and another in the area where you spend most of your time at work and you're probably just about set.

    I also suggest getting a spare battery (or stupid little quick-charge doohickeys, if your phone is sufficiently misfeatured as to not have a replaceable battery) and one or two small extra microSD cards, if only for the odd occasion when it might be nice to use an empty card for something.