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8 Accessories that Give Your Smartphone Superpowers (Part 1)

February 26 2018

Want to soup up your mobile phone? Rather than relying on apps for that (as we so often do), let's head down the road less travelled instead. Today, we're exploring the world of physical accessories that work with--and enhance--your smartphone.

Enter the World of Smartphone Accessories

That's right, we're ditching the digital in favor of things that attach to or sync to your phone and boost its functionality. And we have to say, there are a LOT of different types of mobile phone accessories--so much so that we've broken up this article into two parts.

Today, we're taking a look at accessories that enhance the multimedia capabilities of your phone, and make those photos and Facebook Live videos so much better.

1. Lenses

phone accessories lensesIt's true that today's smartphones have genuinely impressive cameras, but there's always room for improvement! In fact, one of the biggest drawbacks to phone cameras is that they're too high-tech. When you use zoom on your phone to make your photographic subject larger, all your phone is doing is digitally enlarging the center of the image. It's not a true zoom, and it often results in unclear, pixelated images. With optical (read: analog) zoom, the mechanics of the lens operates much like our eyes do, and the results are much crisper.

While our phones are not capable of optical zoom, there are multiple lenses on the market that you can purchase and attach to your phone. They don't only offer telephoto capabilities, either--there are fish-eye lenses, wide angle, macro, and so much more available today! Here are a couple suggestions to get you started:

  • Zeso Camera Lens Kit - This is a great starter kit that include a wide angle lens (good for shooting interiors), a macro lens (for close-ups on small objects), a polarizer filter, tripod, and a remote trigger.
  • WMTGUBU Telephoto/Macro Lens Kit - If you're all about zooming in, check out this kit. It comes with an 18x telephoto lens and a 16x macro lens, plus a tripod.

If you're looking for something higher end that a professional photographer might use, you can explore the mobile lenses and filters at this website.

When looking for a lens, check to be sure that it's compatible with your device. If you're on a site like Amazon, try searching the consumer reviews for reviews that mention your phone model to see how a particular lens performs.

2. Smart Watches

Forget the selfie stick--just pair a smart watch with your smartphone to trigger your phone's camera from a distance. Smart watches like the Apple Watch let you use your watch as a viewscreen for your phone's camera to frame the perfect shot. When you're ready, just tap your watch to snap a photo instantly or after a 3-second delay.

That's not all smart watches can do, either. From managing phone notifications to helping find a misplaced phone, smart watches and smartphones were clearly made for each other.

If you're in the market for a smart watch, look for one with the same operating system as your smartphone. This ensures that the devices will work together well. So, for example, look for an Android-based smart watch if you have an Android phone. iPhone owners should scout out Apple Watches for maximum compatibility.

3. Tripods, Holders and Stands

phone accessories tripodsIt's hard to keep our hands off our smartphones, but sometimes we need to--literally. Sometimes that's because we're driving, or taking photos, or using our phone as a makeshift computer screen or TV. Fortunately, there's a hands-free solution for each situation. Here they are:

  • Phone tripods - Keep your phone's camera still and focused by using a tripod. We're particularly fond of this bendy tripod for how it goes anywhere and lets you set up your phone from unique angles and perspectives.
  • Phone stands - If you use your phone in listing presentations, or just want to use it to watch a video (or record a live streaming video), consider getting a smartphone stand like this one or this fun, bendy one.
  • Phone holder for cars - A lot of states are outright banning any hands-on use of cell phones by drivers. This includes even seemingly driving-related activities, like checking Google Maps. To avoid being pulled over, invest in a dashboard phone holder. Some are bare bones holders, and others come with built-in microphones to improve in-car call quaity.

4. Mic

Rounding out our list of multimedia-focused phone accessories is the humble microphone. If you shoot any videos--whether that's a listing video or a Facebook Live video, you should be using a quality microphone to capture the best, most clear audio possible.

What's next? Read Part 2 to learn about more accessories that can give your smartphone superpowers.