Essential accessories for your smartphone!

So you've got your smartphone - now what....

Well, here goes! When you are getting you new smartphone you'll be "sold" on all kinds of accessories by the sales reps. Hey, they are only doing their job.

So before heading off down to the store for that gleaming all featured out new smartphone, consider a couple of things you may need to get along with the smartphone. This way you can be asking some REALLY good questions from the sales rep to test how good they are :-)

Charger

- Wall charger: One will come in the box and usually a standard wall charger - meaning a slow overnight charger. If you want to check it, you can check the output of the charger written on the charger body. Look for "Output:" followed by something like or "4.5V 0.85A" OR "5V 1A". If the charger has an output of 1A (1 Amp) or more, you have a decent "travel" wall charger. Ask how long it will take to charge the phone from empty. Most smartphones will have a battery of 2000mAh or more and believe me it needs all of it. Consider getting another charger for your office as this one will most likely be kept at home.
- Car/cigarette lighter charger: If you have a car or truck then it's a good thing to get a car/cigarette lighter charger. This you can use to charge your smartphone as you are most likely using it for navigation while driving or have connected it to the car audio system either via bluetooth connection or via the auxiliary jack to listen to music.
- Battery backup: This option is really just a HUGE portable battery with the appropriate connectors to charge your phone on the go. For the iPhone you have the like of the Morphie range of battery backup cases which allow you to slip your iPhone into the case. This option usually doubles the battery life on the iPhone. For Android OS devices you are better off with a stand alone battery. These type of batteries will take an overnight charge to be fully charged just due to the fact that the battery is so big. But at a pinch, they are a life save - literally!! There are some using a solar panel to help charge the battery - for now this option normally takes too long unless you are in the outback with cloudless skies - but then if you're in the outback, you're probably not going to get a cellular signal.

Headset

- Wired headset: In ear ear-buds come with most smartphones and you usually hate them or love them. As they are "in-box" headsets don't expect fantastic quality. There are a huge range of in ear ear-buds that are available from a huge number of manufacturers and here you have to consider what type of music you listen to and if/when you take calls with these wired ear-buds. Other things to consider for a wired headset would be noise cancellation and whether or not you would consider some over the ear head phones instead. Ah yes, you don't need to charge wired ear-buds or headphones at least those that do not have the noise cancellation feature.
- Wireless headset: Here we talk about Bluetooth headsets. If you dislike having wires tangling up everything than a bluetooth wireless headset is the way to go. But how it right there - stranger! Do you need a mono-bluetooth headset, or a stereo version or one that is mono but supports playing music (via the A2DP BT protocol) or an over the ear noise canceling bluetooth headphone. Again it really depends on your needs (over your wants)! If you are on the phone all day long you will want to have a bluetooth headset such as one of the following BlueAnt Q3, Motorola HX550, Plantronics Voyager PRO or the Jawbone ERA. The key feature of these headsets is their great background noise cancellation abilities - meaning your conversation can be heard always with any noise in the background. I carried out a long talk on the phone in the middle of rush hour in Penn Station using the BlueAnt Q2 - predecessor to the Q3. Other option comes in the form of stereo bluetooth headsets both in ear and on ear and add to that noise cancellation functionality. Here I recommend only products I have personally used and recommend.

Cases

- Fashion or functional: I have it on record that iPhone users buy at least 3 protective cases for their iPhones every year. They also buy a set of screen protectors. This trend flows across to the Android OS side of the fence. There are literally 1 million and 1 cases out there for ALL the smartphones out there either iOS or Android OS. The cases I have found to be reliable and good value and FUNCTIONAL are from Speck, Incipio, and OtterBox. In the early days I also put a screen protector on my smartphones but now with the latest Gorilla glass technology on the latest smartphones I usually test the screen out by taking my door keys to the screen which always gives the sales reps a slight heart attack :-) but Gorilla glass is true to their word on being scratch resistant so I stopped buying screen protectors. On the FASHION aspect I cannot help you. You will have to visit the stores and see what's the latest "fashion" in the Fashion line of cases. A special note on the FUNCTIONAL cases: there are now available tough cases that make your smartphone virtually waterproof for taking it to the beach, on the ski fields, or even a rainy day in NYC.

There you have it...

Having these extra essential accessories will help you make the maximum use of your new smartphone and keeping it running all day and night, in loud and quiet environments and have it protected so you're never out of touch and always in contact - hmmm...remember you do have the option to switch on the silent mode to get some down time.

Hope this helps and always happy to answer any questions you may have!

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