Top accessories for the past year
Looking at picking up something to complement your new Android phone over the holidays? The AC editors been using a whole bunch of different smartphone accessories without our devices in the past twelve months, and each of us have selected five of our favorites to round off 2013.
I'm kicking things off with a couple of cases, some replacement back covers, an essential wireless charging add-on and one of our favorite wearables of the moment. Check past the break to get started!
HTC One Double Dip Flip Case
With two ridiculously loud and bassy BoomSound speakers and a top-notch display, the HTC One is one of our favorite phones of the year, and one suited to audio and video playback. But like most modern phones, the HTC One lacks a kickstand, meaning you’ve got to hold it in front of you to get the full benefit of those speakers. The solution? HTC’s official flip case, which as well as protecting the front and rear of the device doubles as a kickstand.
Buy HTC One Double Dip Flip Case ($31.95)
Samsung Wireless Charging Kit for Galaxy S4
This year I’ve become more and more convinced of the value of wireless charging. Nothing beats the convenience of having a constantly-charging phone without worrying about wires and connectors. Samsung’s official wireless charging kit for the Galaxy S4 isn’t cheap, but it gives you everything you need to turn your GS4 into a wirelessly-charging beast. There’s a replacement back cover for the phone, which adds a little thickness to the device, and a bowl-like charging pad with an LED to indicate when everything’s working.
As the whole system is based on the Qi standard, the charging pad works just fine with other Qi-compatible devices like the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5. There’s also a version for the Note 3 which comes with a similar charging pad, and a different charging back for that device.
While the Pebble is only technically an accessory, it’s my top “companion device” of the year, and a sign that there’s a ton of untapped potential in the wearables space. Beyond notifications on your wrist — which can be hugely useful if you’re the sort that needs to be constantly connected — Pebble boasts highly customizable watch faces and built-in music controls. Third-party apps let you expand the watch’s functionality even further, and the upcoming app store should do even more to extend the feature set of the smartwatch.
Buy Pebble Smartwatch ($149.99)
Motorola Shells for Moto G
The Moto G comes with a nondescript black back cover out of the box, and that’s all well and good. But Motorola’s aftermarket “Shells” for the handset look and feel so much better. The shells come in a wide range of hues — our favorite is the soft-touch lime green, which adds a splash of color to our favorite budget smartphone of 2013.
Buy Motorola Shells for Moto G ($14.99)
HTC One Max Power Flip Case
The HTC One Max isn’t our top phone of the year. It might not even be the top device in its category. But we have to admire the insane genius of strapping a battery to the front of a flip case and attaching it to an already massive 5.9-inch smartphone that already boasts impressive longevity. Aside from the built-in 1,150mAh battery, the HTC One Max Power Flip Case performs the same function as the equivalent for the HTC One. It shields your phone from damage and doubles as a kickstand, which makes even more sense for a big-screened handset. If you’ve got a One Max, this is a compulsory purchase.
Buy HTC One Max Power Flip Case ($69.95)
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