Smartphones have their limitations, whether it's a short battery life or weak speakers. But there's a quick fix: fancy cases, clip-on cameras, portable speakers, and chargers that can keep your phone juiced for days. The options are overwhelming, but we sorted through the junk and found the gems. Here are the 10 best accessories to use on your phone now.
Mophie Space Pack
Scratches and shattered screen be damned: Unless I'm snapping photos underwater or strapping it onto the handlebars of my bike, I'd rather not hide the artfully curved body of my iPhone beneath some bulky case. That'd be like making Kate Upton dress exclusively in baggy sweatshirts. My stubbornness vanished, however, once I snapped my iPhone 5s into the Mophie Space Pack and I became okay with my device's conservative dress. Why? The case boasts a battery that revives a phone twice, as well as offering an additional 16 or 32 gigs of storage space. This is a first – and a revelation for not only anyone with an overworked, often depleted phone, but also those sick of seeing the pop up notification constantly reminding you of your storage inadequacy anytime you try to take a photo or upload another song (the iPhone, frustratingly, doesn't allow users to upgrade its internal storage beyond the 16, 32, or 64 GB base models).
The case recharges via micro-USB. Once your phone is snapped in, you can siphon the case's battery life at any time by flipping a small switch on the back, where a four-level battery indicator also sits. In terms of storage, the case plugs into your computer via micro-USB and you simply drag and drop to put files onto it as though you were loading up a flash drive. Sifting through the content is no trouble, as a well-designed free companion iOS app catalogues the content into a system of pre-designated folders you can easily access. The additional space allows you to store up to 16,000 more photos, fourteen hours of video, or more than 9,000 songs. It's a fantastic idea and one that works near-flawlessly. I had no issue accessing or transferring files, and had both the battery life and the capacity to enjoy hours of content on a recent flight. Did the Space Case turn my phone into a pocket-stretching amorphous block? Sure. But sometimes style has to be compromised for substance. from $150 (16G); mophie.com
Days Tested: 10
Conditions Encountered: Several full battery drains and rejuvenations; hundreds of photos and videos both uploaded and played.
Nitpik: It's costly. If you don't need the additional space, stick with a standard battery pack.