Hello, everyone! In this continuing series, we'll be looking at some of the most essential accessories in a given situation or towards a certain purpose.
This week, we're going to be looking at which accessories excel when you're truly mobile. Whether you're a businessperson flitting from meeting to meeting or a parent with a busy schedule, these accessorises should keep you going without slowing you down.
Our example phone in this, our final blog in this series, is going to be the BlackBerry 9900. While our example accessories will be chosen to match this handset, I'll do my best to keep the advice broad enough to fit any other smartphone. Let's go!
Our first essential accessory this week is a quality Bluetooth headset. Headsets are brilliant for if you're often busy, as they allow you to continue working or driving while having a conversation. As well as answering and receiving calls, good Bluetooth headsets will also include additional functionality, such as controlling your music or allowing you to perform voice-driven activities like searches. Bluetooth headsets are also great for driving.
When you're looking for a Bluetooth headset, consider the brand. Creating a good bluetooth headset demands a good design team, and is more than just providing the appropriate specifications and technologies - the look and feel of the headset will be more noticeable than anything else. For that reason, going with a trusted brand like Jabra, Jawbone or Plantronics gives you a much better shot of receiving a well-designed product. As well as comfort and size, it's also important to look for essential technologies, like noise cancellation and MultiPoint.
Our example Bluetooth headset is one from respected company Jabra, and is called the Wave. It's comfortable to wear for a long period of time and has a fairly minimalistic look, with the bulk of the device hidden from view behind your ear. The headset also comes with the requisite technologies, including MultiPoint (connecting to two devices simultaneously) and wind cancellation, both of which are important for people on the go. The Wave is a mid-range Bluetooth headset, and comes in at under £40.
As you'll be out and about, you'll need a case that provides a good combination of size and protection - you don't want to be weighed down by a heavy-duty case like a Tank or Survivor, but you also want more protection than a simplistic silicone shell provides.
As I've mentioned before, going with a respected brand is a good step forward. You'll also what to check what material the case is made out of - metal is good for resisting crushes, but poor at absorbing shocks. Silicone is excellent at absorbing impacts, but also gives way quite easily and won't last as long. A good middle-ground is often includes elements of both for a better package overall.
One such case is the Otterbox Impact Series, which includes a silicone shell for shock absorption but also is lined with more durable materials around the corners, allowing for extra strength and protection. The Impact also isn't the bulkiest case, and should only add a few millimetres to your phone's size, ensuring it's still easy to take out of your pocket. The Impact costs just £13 too, making it a good place to start your case quest.
I've extolled the virtues of additional battery power before, and I'll do it again. When you're running on a tight schedule, you don't want a single missed charge to mean you can't use your phone. That's why I recommend picking up either an external battery, an extended battery or this - a simple second battery.
When you're looking for a second battery, it's really desirable to ensure that you're getting an original battery designed just for your phone - while third party batteries can be inexensive, they can also be of middling quality, and that's definitely not something you want on the one accessory that powers your whole smartphone.
Here we've got a pack which contains an original BlackBerry battery (the same as would be inside the 9900 as it came from the factory) and a Y cable. This double ended cable allows you to charge both your second battery and your phone at the same time, which allows you to make full use of whatever time you have next to a power point. At £30, it's not a bad deal at all.
Mirrored screen protectors are pretty cool - they work as normal until you turn off your phone's display, at which point they become almost a perfect miror. Aside for being an interesting novelty, they can also allow you to make sure you're looking your best when you're out and about - a great time saver.
When you're looking for a screen protector, brand names are less important - all you really need to ensure is that you're getting a screen protector that's built just for your model of phone, and that it has the features you want - in this case, a mirrored coating. The differences in quality between different brands is likely to be nominal, so after that point just go with the one that's available at the lowest price.
Here we're selecting the MFX MIrrored Screen Protector, which retails for less than £8 at most places and has all the qualities we desire - custom-built for the 9900, mirroring, and a low price point.
(Another good quality to have is an anti-glare coating, although I can't find such a screen protector for the 9900. This will allow you to work more easily in well lit conditions, like outdoors or under florescent lighting.)
When you're in meetings and at your desk, it's often desirable to keep your phone in an easy-to-read orientation. Traditionally you'd use a full desk stand that fits precisely to the countours of your phone and perhaps provide a charge as well, but to save space you can do a bit better - a portable desk stand of minimal size.
Choosing a portable desk stand is relatively easy; as there aren't any specifications here it's all about choosing one that is the most well designed. A good way to find out is to check consumer reviews, as these will likely point out any problems with the product you're looking at and give a good indication of its real world workability - many desk stands look cool at first glance, but turn out to be quite terrible at actually doing their job.
One portable desk stand that's passed the test is the StuckBuddy, which mounts a spherical stand via suction cup to the back of your phone. The use of suction technology makes the StuckBuddy relatively space-efficient and also means it's equally compatible with any device, from smartphones up to e-readers and tablets. At £5, it won't be difficult to replace if it's ever lost either.
So that's our entire setup - five useful accessories, totalling £96 in all. Most of this (£40) was spent on the Bluetooth headset, which could be replaced with a cheaper one if necessary, so this is definitely one of our cheaper outfittings. With all of these at your side, you should be well equipped to tackle the challenges ahead.
With this article concluded, we bid farewell to our series on mobile phone accessories. I'll be writing again on Sunday to inform you of the week's news, and some time next week for my next big article. As always, thanks for reading and please let me know what you think in the comments (and Kudos) sections below!
This article was written by William Judd, a freelance tech journalist and copywriter.
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