By Alisa Wolfson
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
|<STRONG>MarketWatch has highlighted these products and services because we think readers will find them useful. We may earn a commission if you buy products through our links, but our recommendations are independent of any compensation that we may receive.</STRONG>|
With Apple /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL -3.67% set to reveal its newest fleet of iPhones today, the highly anticipated launch might have you longing for a technology update. But most of you won’t take a bite at that apple: Younger smartphone users ages 18-64 keep their phones for about 33 months, while baby boomers hang onto their phones for three or more years, according to a Strategy Analytics survey released last month.
If you’re keeping your older phone, there are ways you can make it a little more useful and spiffier. MarketWatch asked experts about the most underrated iPhone accessories on the market. Here’s what they had to say:
Best portable charger: Anker PowerCore 5000 Portable Charger, about $18
This ultracompact charger provides over an entire replacement charge for iPhone X, or almost two charges for an iPhone 8, so you won’t have to worry about being out of commission. “The first few months of any new phone, the battery lasts a good long while, usually at least a day with heavy use. But they’re only designed to work like that for about a year, which doesn’t help those of us who replace our iPhones every two years. Regardless, I always carry an external battery with me in my backpack, carry-on or pocket,” says Tom Samiljan, tech contributor for Men’s Journal, tells MarketWatch. More than 3,300 people have rated this charger 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon and one customer commented, “I plugged my phone into the charger and my phone was fully charged in a very short period of time.” And, TechGearLab, an online review site gives it one of their top scores, calling it a “best buy” for its low price, portability and short recharge time. Read more about this product here.
Best camera accessories to improve your photos: 4-in-1 Cell Phone Camera Lenses Kit, about $25
Take pictures like a pro using this kit’s tabletop tripod, 18X telescopic zoom lens, 4K HD super wide angle lens, 15X macro lens or 198 degree fisheye lens. At the very least, you’ll increase your chances of ending up on one of those “Shot on an iPhone” billboards. Tom Samiljan, tech contributor for Men’s Journal tells MarketWatch, “Steadiness for videos is essential. Holding your phone steady while taking pictures in low light is never, ever a bad thing.” But Chandra Steele, tech expert and senior features writer for PCMag tells MarketWatch, one potential caveat, “If you’re thinking of getting one of the new iPhones, which are rumored to have a very different-looking camera setup than previous models, the lens might not be compatible.” Read more about this product here.
Best way to protect your eyes from blue light: Maxboost Screen Protector, about $15
Prevent Blindness, the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization, recommends using screen filters, which “decrease the amount of blue light given off from these devices that could reach the retina in our eyes,” their site explains. The thin, stain-resistant Maxboost Screen Protector helps combat eye strain and tiredness using its blue-light filter, while simultaneously protecting an iPhone’s screen from everyday scratches and scrapes. Customers love it too, rating this filter 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Read more about this product here.
Best workout accessory: Tribe Water Resistant Cell Phone Armband Case, about $10
Nearly 18,000 people have positively reviewed this polyurethane, Lycra and neoprene armband designed to securely hold an iPhone in place during exercise — and Wirecutter chose it as their budget pick for its comfort and stability. The encased band offers full phone protection and features an elastic band designed to flex, twist and bend while you run, hike or walk. Wirecutter says, “The standard-size original Tribe Comrade armband feels great on the arm, doesn’t pinch or bind, and stays put. It’s exceedingly simple to use, phones slide into the pouch easily, and they don’t move at all during runs. The Lycra-neoprene band also stayed rock-solid on our testers’ arms.” Read more about this product here.
Best inexpensive on-the-go charging cable: AmazonBasics Double Braided Nylon Lightning to USB A Cable, about $12
At just 4 inches long, this durable, Apple MFi (Made for iPhone, iPad and iPod) certified charging cable won’t get tangled, bent or frayed at the bottom of your bag. With copper wire and Kevlar for added strength, this cord can be used for iPhones, iPads or iPods. Nearly 3,000 people have given this cord 4.1 out of 5 stars on Amazon and it comes with a 2-year limited warranty. Read more about this product here.
Best way to prop your phone up to watch movies: PopSockets Collapsible Grip and Stand, about $10
Snap better photos, prop your phone up, or securely hold your phone with one hand by using this repositionable, reusable, collapsible knob that comes in a bevy of colors and designs, Samiljan says, “They help you grip your phone more securely but I particularly like using it to prop up my phone on an airplane tray table when watching movies or TV shows on flights. Plus, the company has figured out how to make them add a bit of style and personalization to your phone, rather than being just another random, bland, gray or black smartphone accessory.” With more than 4,200 customer reviews on Amazon, PopSockets can even be used on iPads and other brands of smartphones. Read more about this product here.