After having owned an iPhone 4 for more than a year, I’ve found a few accessores that I consider essential.
As with any smartphone, the iPhone’s battery drains quickly since we don’t only use these devices as phones, we use them as GPS units, cameras, music players, web browsers, and countless other uses. By the end of a long day, the iPhone’s battery will probably be drained. There are a few ways to keep your iPhone’s battery juiced up throughout the day. First, small external batteries that plug into the dock connector can revive an iPhone from completely dead to fully charged. Second, consider keeping a cigarette lighter charger in your vehicle.
For external batteries, I’d recommend the Kensington Mini Battery Extender. It’s slim enough to keep in your pocket all day, and the included cover can be used as a stand.
A bulkier but significantly cheaper alternative to the Kensington Mini Battery Extender is the Stitchway UltraPower. The build quality and bulkiness is reflected in its cheap price, but at about $7 each you can probably afford to buy several and keep them in different places. In your car, your bag, etc. I wouldn’t suggest carrying one in your pocket all day as it’s rather bulky.
A third option for an external battery would be a case. The BOOST Case would be a great choice for that, since a case doesn’t hang off the dock connector, a battery case is the most compact option for keeping your iPhone in your pocket while charging. If you frequently run down your iPhone’s battery, you could keep the case on at the beginning of the day, until the case’s battery is dead, then remove the case and use the iPhone for the rest of the day. That would effectively double the runtime on your iPhone.
The best option for keeping your iPhone charged in the car is the Scosche reVIVE II which has two USB outputs, a 1A output for iPhones and a 2.1A output for iPads. Don’t worry, you can plug any device into that 2.1A output, they’ll only take as much current as they need. Since the reVIVE has two outputs, you can charge multiple devices at a time. You could keep a Stitchway UltraPower. plugged into to the reVIVE so it’s ready to go when you need it. Whatever car charger you decide to go with, don’t skimp on a Chinese made knockoff, I’ve used a few that would barely put out enough current to keep an old iPod charged, and today’s smart phones demand a lot more current.
The headphones that come with your iPhone have a built in microphone and volume controls, but the sound quality is significantly lacking. Upgrading to the Shure SE115′s will give you amazing sound quality. I’ve owned the older Shure E2C’s for 4 years now, and I can attest to the build quality of any Shure product. My E2C’s get used nearly every day and still look and sound like the day I bought them. Sound isolating headphones, like the Shure SE115′s act like ear plugs – they come with a few different inserts so you can use which one fits your ears best, and they completely block any outside sound. Since the ear canal is sealed, the bass response is significantly better, and the overall sound quality is vastly improved.
If you’re a physically active, cords are a hinderance. That’s where bluetooth headphones come in. The Motorola S305 Bluetooth Headphones are a great choice if you’re a runner or biker. They’re cheap enough that you don’t have to worry about them getting damaged by sweat or being dropped, but my pair has been very robust and sweat haven’t damaged them at all. They’re also very comfortable to wear, I have no problems wearing them on long runs. The sound quality is on par or slightly better than the headphones included with your iPhone. They also include a microphone, so you can use them to make phone calls. For the money, the S305 Headphones simply can’t be beat.
Speaking of running and biking, putting your iPhone in an arm band is the best option for keeping the iPhone secure to your body. I’ve been very happy with the Tuneband since I purchased it. It’s easy to slip your iPhone into the silicon case, and the elastic armband keeps it in place without feeling uncomfortable.
I usually don’t bother with a case for my iPhone, but I can definitely recommend any case made by Speck. The Speck CandyShell is a great inexpensive case that comes in a few different color schemes.
If you really want to go stylish, Grove makes some really awesome bamboo cases that you can get custom engraved, and as a bonus they’re made locally in Oregon, where I live.
If the back cover glass on your iPhone 4 is cracked, or the camera lens is scratched up, a new back cover is really cheap and takes less than a minute to install. I ordered this back cover since my camera lens was scratched up and unusable, and the installation is as easy as it gets. Simply unscrew the two screws on either side of the dock, slide the back cover up and it’ll pull right off. Put the new case on the same way it went off, and you’re done.
If you have any suggestions for more essential iPhone accessories, please leave a comment!