Archives for

cell phone accessories

Best Bluetooth cell phone headsets available today (Updated for 2019)

Admit it, you don’t often think of accessories whenever in the market for a new smartphone or tablet. But if you’re wise, you remember to save a couple hundred bucks for a decent power bank, nice external speaker and especially a Bluetooth headset.

Best Bluetooth Headsets

ImgAmazon.com LinkBrandProductAmazon.com LinkPrice on Amazon.com
PlantronicsPlantronics Voyager Focus179.17
Sennheiser Enterprise SolutionSennheiser Bluetooth Headset124.99
JabraJabra Stealth Bluetooth Headset94.5
PlantronicsPlantronics Voyager Legend Wireless Bluetooth Headset62
SamsungSamsung Level U Pro Bluetooth Wireless In-ear Headphones54.98

bluetooth-headset

You don’t want to be pulled over and get a ticket just because you “forgot” to tell the wife you’re going fishing with the guys. Besides, talking on the phone while driving with only one hand on the wheel can be extremely dangerous.

Then there are those times when your multitasking abilities are pushed to the limit, and you simply cannot afford to occupy one hand with a device that can niftily sit in your trouser pocket. Finally, while you’re at it, why not grab a stereo headset capable of doubling as a crisp music listening contraption? That way, you’ll save on expensive headphones and kill two birds with one stone.

Bluetooth headset

Bottom line, everybody needs a Bluetooth headset, be it mono, stereo, ultra-cheap and simplistic or slightly pricier and adept at more than one task. And here we have the best options available on Amazon today, ordered from the costliest to the most affordable:

Motorola Moto Hint – $104

We could go on and on about this little guy’s controversial quality-price ratio, but at the end of the day, the equation is simple. If you own a Moto X phone, the Hint is a must-buy. If not, don’t bother. When paired with any other Bluetooth-enabled handheld, it’s “beautifully out of sight”, aka really tiny, but sketchy as far as call quality is concerned.

Moto Hint

When used with an X, it’s a lot more than a wireless earbud, delivering notifications directly to your ear, and sending text messages via voice.

Plantronics Voyager Legend – $69.99

The name is fitting, as this long-lasting, ergonomic, retro-looking, water-resistant appliance achieved legendary status and racked up a cool four-star review average from 3,000+ Amazon customers.

Plantronics Voyager Legend

Granted, it’s nowhere near as subtle as the Moto Hint, but triple mic tech can separate the user’s voice from 80 dBs of background noise, ensuring the cleanest conversations you’ve ever heard.

Jawbone Era – $69 and up

The masters of low-cost activity trackers ironically charge more for their “smallest, lightest headset” yet. But Era’s design is a winner, its range above-average (33 feet), and battery life respectable (up to 4 hours of talk time).

Jawbone Era

Obviously, it’s not meant for stereo music playing functions, however what it does it does exquisitely, eliminating background noise courtesy of NoiseAssassin 4.0 technology.

Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 – $59.99

Plantronics again? You betcha, and this time, they have a relatively inexpensive pair of wireless Hi-Fi earbud headphones for you, which you can hook up to literally any Android through thin air. The Go 2 is comfortable, compact, fairly stylish and, above all, a waterproof bluetooth headphone.

Plantronics BackBeat Go 2

It goes without saying you won’t get Beats Studio-matching audio excellence at 60 bucks, yet Go 2’s versatility makes it an uber-smart purchase.

Jawbone Icon HD+ The Nerd – $59.97

No, the name isn’t particularly inspired, but the part Bluetooth headset, part USB audio adapter stands out with killer noise reduction abilities, HD sound, solid battery life you can easily keep tabs on via your phone, plus seven different earbuds guaranteeing perfect placement in your ear.

Jawbone Icon HD+ The Nerd

BlueAnt Q2 – $50.89

It’s perhaps not as resourceful and convenient as the Moto Hint, but the Q2 also relies on voice control for a slew of basic operations. Just wirelessly connect it to your phone, slip it in your ear and, whenever a voice call comes through, you can say the magic words “answer” or “ignore”, and the headset will oblige.

BlueAnt Q2

Of course, if you don’t know who’s ringing, voice commands are useless, so that’s where the integrated Text to Speech engine comes in. If the number reaching you is stored in your phonebook, the Q2 shall announce the name before letting you decide if you’re too “busy”. Quite nifty, don’t you think?

LG Tone Pro – $44.89 and up

LG Tone Pro

Here’s another stereo headset that aims to help you not just by diverting calls away from your phone. It’s good for casual audiophiles too, and it can go on for up to 15 hours in continuous use while looking swanky and sophisticated. It’s (almost) the best of both worlds.

Motorola H720 – $39.99

Motorola H720

The H720 may strike you as old-fashioned at a first glance (and not in a good way), and it’s certainly not a Moto Hint rival. Still, it provides up to eight hours of uninterrupted conversation, as per the manufacturer’s claims, it boasts noise reduction and echo cancellation, and works with Samsungs, LGs, HTCs and even iPhones, not only Motorolas.

Jabra Clipper – starting at $32.65

Jabra Clipper

Probably the cheapest half-decent Bluetooth stereo headset these days used to cost $150, and that tells you everything you need to know about Clipper’s premium features. This bad boy can automatically switch between calls and music mode, it’s rain and shock-resistant, it alerts you of incoming caller and mobile distance, and even facilitates remote music control.

The accompanying earbuds are, according to a fair share of customer reviews, “dreadful”, but on the bright side, they’re very easy to replace.

Plantronics M50 Bluetooth Headset – $29.99

Plantronics M50

This is basically the poor man’s Voyager Legend, looking far less glamorous, renouncing water protection and easing up on the advanced noise cancelling technologies. Then again, the low price, 11-hour battery and 33 feet range have helped it cross the 6,000 customer review mark on Amazon and still keep a near-spotless four-star track record.

Mpow Swift – $29.99 and up

Wait a minute, it seems you can actually find an even cheaper pair of stereo headphones than the Jabra Clipper. Alas, the Swift isn’t extremely “complex”, plus it’s a little awkward from an aesthetical standpoint.

Mpow Swift

It’s ergonomic, comfortable and “stable” nonetheless, delivers an appropriate signal… for its price range, and lasts up to five hours of talk/playing time. Overall, it’s not the best, it’s not the worst product in the world.

Kinivo BTH240 – $24.99

Oh, come on, a 25 bucks set of large, sleek, foldable stereo headphones?!? What’s the catch? Incredibly enough, we can’t find one, other than the BTH240 isn’t waterproof, which isn’t surprising looking at the design.

Kinivo BTH240

Call and sound quality is reported as average at worst, the battery runs for a whopping 10 hours even in music playing, and you also get a built-in noise canceling microphone. No wonder 3,350 buyers gave Kinivo’s stellar item a weighted 4.2 star evaluation.

No-name black wireless Bluetooth 4.0 universal headset – $7.94

Forget big industry names like Motorola, LG, Jawbone or Plantronics. Amazon’s number one best seller in Bluetooth cell phone headsets is a product assembled by an obscure Chinese company probably headquartered in Shenzhen.

No-name Bluetooth headset

Worried for the possible shoddy quality of this thing? Then why not buy a couple? Half a dozen. A full dozen. At 8 bucks a pop, you can afford to replace them every other month. Funnily enough, you’re even promised “noise reduction”, “echo cancellation” and the design ain’t as bad as you’d expect. The final choice is entirely yours. 

Best Bluetooth Headsets

ImgAmazon.com LinkBrandProductAmazon.com LinkPrice on Amazon.com
PlantronicsPlantronics Voyager Focus179.17
Sennheiser Enterprise SolutionSennheiser Bluetooth Headset124.99
JabraJabra Stealth Bluetooth Headset94.5
PlantronicsPlantronics Voyager Legend Wireless Bluetooth Headset62
SamsungSamsung Level U Pro Bluetooth Wireless In-ear Headphones54.98

This week’s best deals on phones, tabs, wearables, accessories and apps – April 17

We might as well call this the Samsung Galaxy S6 promotion collection. The most exciting smartphone in Android history since… ever (?) reportedly got off to a roaring start at the box-office, and is fairly hard to come by in many brick and mortar US outlets.

Save Money

Things will likely get worse in the next few weeks, despite LG G4’s imminent debut, so we’ve gathered for you today a slew of Amazon listings that you can use to dodge the in-store frenzy. But of course, we have our budget-conscious handheld buyers covered as well, plus basic wearable enthusiasts and especially Android app bargain hunters.

Listen up, y’all, and listen good, because discounts galore:

April 17’s best smartphone deals

 

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, gold platinum 32 GB$300 with AT&T contracts; $815 outright (pre-order only; shipping April 27)

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, gold platinum 128 GB$500 with AT&T pacts; $990 outright (available April 27)

Galaxy S6 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6, gold platinum 64 GBstarting at $300 with Sprint

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, gold platinum 64 GB Sprint$400 and up

What we’ve selected here for you is far more precious than your typical $10 off “deal”. It’s a bunch of exotic flavors of the “next big things” that no one can deliver earlier than Amazon. Have at it, and remember, gold is best! Particularly when paired with enough digital hoarding space to store every episode of The Simpsons ever made.

Samsung Galaxy S6 factory unlocked, white – $754.94

Still not exactly affordable, the SIM-free metallic beast is a cool $100 cheaper than last week.

Samsung-Galaxy-S6-White

Samsung Galaxy S5 unlocked – $397 in black; $396 in white

If your reaction to a one-year-old high-end mobile is “Ew! No way!”, then this promo isn’t for you. Everyone else, consider this – HTC’s One M8 is $470 and up. And the S5 isn’t that bad, with waterproof features, a sharp Super AMOLED 1,080p screen and 16 MP rear-facing camera.

BLU Vivo Air – $189.97 in black; $199.99 in white gold

Say hello to the world’s slimmest smartphone. At 5.1 mm thin, the Vivo Air looks like it may crumble out of the blue. But all things considered, it’s pretty durable in addition to incredibly stylish and well-endowed in the photography department.

Blu Vivo Air

Motorola Moto G for Boost Mobile – $43 (67 percent off list)

This is the original model, so you don’t get LTE speeds or microSD support. At 43 bucks, consider yourselves lucky you’re getting a touchscreen. With 720p resolution, no less.

LG G2 AT&T unlocked – $211

It’s got Lollipop now, it’s cheaper than ever before, so you’ll want to look beyond its advanced age. After all, a Full HD display, quad-core S800 punch and 2 GB RAM are anything but 2013-reminiscent specs.

Tablet bargains

 

Lenovo A10-70 – $209

In the age of ultra-low-cost gear, it’s still not easy to find a half-decent 10 incher at sub-$250. Lenovo’s low-profile trooper qualifies, with 9-hour battery, KitKat software and a 9 mm waist.

Lenovo A10-70

Asus MeMo Pad 7 ME176CX – $125

Always a team player, always focused on squeezing the best quality out of the least pricey contraptions, Asus gives you quad-core Intel Atom speed, a respectable 1,280 x 800 7-inch screen and 16 GB internal storage for a little over a Benjamin. Not bad!

Wearable deals and steals

 

Jawbone Up2 – $99.99

Jawbone Up2

It literally just broke cover, and it’s already up for grabs. Forget savings, that alone is a fact worth mentioning. Also, the Up2 is sleeker and handsomer than its predecessor, offering the basics of fitness tracking in a long-lasting package.

Garmin Forerunner 220 heart rate monitor bundle – $259.99

It’s perhaps not the “smartest” watch as far as Android users are concerned, but sports addicts go nuts about “advanced” Garmin wearables, and for a good reason. Make that several reasons: built-in GPS support, high-res color display, stellar battery life, water protection, shock resistance, more sensors than we can count.

Jawbone Up24 – $33.69 used, very good condition

No better time to purchase older Jawbones than just as newer models debut. While you’re at it, why not score a pre-owned, mint-like smart band?

Accessories

 

Bastex Samsung Galaxy S6 Anti-Glare Anti-Fingerprint screen protector – $2.99

Bastex Heavy Duty hybrid armor case for Galaxy S6 – $6.99

Galaxy S6 case

Bastex Heavy Duty Galaxy S6 protective armor case – $7.99

No matter what various drop tests might try to tell you, the glass-and-aluminum GS6 ain’t indestructible. The screen can be a finger magnet too, and not in a good way, but in exchange for only 10 bucks, you’ll kill two birds with one stone.

Satechi Divoom Bluetune-Bean portable Bluetooth speaker – $16.99 and up

“Small enough to fit in one hand”, this baby is a little on the unattractive side, but it can last 6 hours between charges and packs “powerful 360-degree sound.”

Belkin Fusive portable Bluetooth speaker – $33.48 (67 percent off)

Belkin Fusive

At under one pound, the Fusive is extremely light for its size… and capabilities – 10-hour autonomy, 30 feet range, “room-filling”, distortion-free audio.

VicTsing wireless Bluetooth 3.0 waterproof speaker – $20.99 ($59 savings)

Another portable speaker? Is there something in the air or what? No idea, but the cool thing about this product is it conveys 5W sound in the shower.

Free Android app of the day bundle

Runtastic Pro

 

You all know and love these “routine” Amazon Appstore freebie accumulations, and this week in particular, you can find an impressive number of gems downloadable with no charge. Runtastic PRO for outdoorsy individuals. Virtua Tennis Challenge for Sega fans. Flightradar24 Pro for frequent fliers. Prince of Persia Classic. A Better Camera Unlocked. Splashtop Whiteboard, typically available for $34.99 (!!!), and so on and so forth.

Hurry though, as app promos tend to expire before you can take full advantage of them.

Got juice? Here are the best external battery power banks available today

We’ve all been there. Smack-dab in the middle of a critical phone conversation/argument with the GF or wife. An important business call. The longest, most rewarding Temple Run gaming session yet. Lost in traffic, trying to retrace our way back home on Google Maps. On the slowest train in the history of public transportation, doing everything possible to preserve our mental sanity on Facebook.

Android battery

All of a sudden, you see darkness. Just as she was starting to buy your excuse for forgetting about her birthday, just as you were closing the month’s biggest sale, a few feet away from a new personal record. Oh, and what was that, left or right at the next intersection? You’ll never know, because those lazy jerks couldn’t be bothered to put a decent battery on their latest “flagship”.

How could they when they made it thinner than a pencil and “lighter than air”? Heck, even the best of the best (we’re looking at you, Droid Turbo) can only enjoy limited continuous use. It’s an inconvenience we’ve begun to accept since phones became too smart for their own good. Smarter than their owners and manufacturers.

Android low battery

But it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s this magical universal accessory working as the answer to all your prayers. It’s called a power bank, portable charger or external battery and offers to prolong the life of your smartphone or tablet to the point you won’t be able to keep up with it.

And typically, these things are fairly cheap. Without further ado, here are the ten best such contraptions available on Amazon for literally any and all Android devices:

Second-gen Anker Astro Mini 3,200 mAh – $12.99 in black; $15.99 in blue; $19.99 in three other colors

Anker Astro Mini

For the record, we’re listing these in no particular order. So we’re not saying the Astro Mini is number one. But Amazon claims it’s the website’s top-selling external cell phone battery pack, and the glowing customer reviews leave little room for doubt.

4.5 stars from over 12,200 opinions. This baby is a must-buy. It’s incredibly inexpensive, tiny and light, resembles a lipstick tube (hello, ladies), and vows to add almost a full charge to a Galaxy S5 in no time.

Omaker Intelligent 10,000 mAh – $19.99

Omaker Intelligent

Another best seller (in touch screen tablet cases?!), with a 4.6 star average and whopping 10,000 mAh capacity, the Intelligent is slightly pricier, but it can juice up a tablet, any tablet, from 0 to 100 percent. Pretty impressive for 20 bucks, and the 2.1A charging speed is also quite staggering. Oh, yeah, there are two USB outputs as well. Double whopper!

Second-gen Anker Astro E4 13,000 mAh – $29.99 and up

Another Anker? Man, these guys are good. You can say that again, and close to 5,000 satisfied buyers will confirm it any time. It goes without saying 13,000 mAh is enough for a high-end slate and smartphone, and E4’s pair of USB ports let you easily load up two gadgets simultaneously. With up to 3 amp speed.

Anker Astro E4

Sufficiently light and thin to fit in the palm of your hand, the Astro E4 is also fairly robust, withstand drops and contacts with hard surfaces.

Third-gen RAVPower Deluxe 15,000 mAh – $39.99

They say bigger is better, and so this 15,000 mAh beast shines bright like a champion, with a couple of 4.5A USB connectors for synchronous two-tablet charging. Obviously not our slimmest contender, the Deluxe stands out nonetheless with iSmart technology, as well as premium A+ cells good for over a thousand charging cycles.

RAVPower Deluxe

RAVPower Luster 3,000 mAh – $12.99

Only got the one phone, a limited budget and favor portability and style ahead of muscle? The Luster might be the ideal choice for you, especially if you’re a lady who wants her external power bank to go unnoticed among typical make-up instruments.

RAVPower Luster

Lipstick-shaped, weighing less than 3 ounces and made from a long-lasting aluminum alloy, the Luster automatically detects and delivers the optimal charging current for your connected device, and is guaranteed for 500 cycles.

Xiaomi Mi Power Bank 10,400 mAh – $23.58 and up

Let’s be honest, Xiaomi entered this market with an unfair advantage over its lesser known competitors, having quite the reputation in the smartphone business for respectable, affordable products.

Xiaomi Mi power bank

Respectable and affordable is the best way to describe the Mi Power Bank, what with its outstanding aluminum casing, relatively compact form factor, optimized charging/discharging efficiency, stellar device compatibility (not just Xiaomis), and, of course, staggering capacity, as well as fast 2.1A acceleration. Way to branch out and bring your A game to this tricky niche, Xiaomi!

IOGear GearPower 11,000 mAh – $44.99

Does 45 clams feel a little rich for your blood? Then be sure to check out the 7,000 mAh model, available at $29.99. But hurry, quantities are limited. Back to the 11,000 config, it actually provides decent value for money, given the 12,000 mAh version is an exorbitant $62.95.

IOGear GearPower

And once again, customer reviews don’t lie – 4.6 stars for a simple, minimalistic, hefty external battery capable of keeping the lights on for two separate devices, courtesy of 2.1 and 1A USB ports.

Poweradd Pilot 2GS 10,000 mAh – $19.99

Whoa, now that’s an outstanding bang for buck factor! Think about it, you’ll be paying a dollar per 500 mAh energy. With 12-month worry-free manufacturer warranty, dual 2.1/1A USB connectivity, aluminum construction, auto detect technology and an attractive, lightweight design.

PowerAdd Pilot

Zilu Smart Power Basic 4,400 mAh – $15.99 in black; $17.50 in pink; $24.90 in white

Equipped with a handy LED flashlight, made from premium, durable materials and resistant to surface scratches, this somewhat bulky (given the capacity) accessory delivers more than a full charge for your Galaxy S4 or S5.

Zilu SmartPower

And it does so with 93 percent efficiency, temperature control, overvoltage and short circuit protection, plus a useful reset mechanism. Let’s not forget the extended two-year warranty, 1000 life cycles promise, and, oh, that incredibly low price point. Darn it, it’s getting harder and harder to pick just one.

AmazonBasics 2,000 mAh – $12.99; $14.99 with 3,000 mAh capacity

We realize this is no way to wrap up an exceptional list of uber-convenient, powerful smartphone/tablet accessories, but Amazon’s own petite line of power banks is affordable, low-profile and lightweight enough to be worth a shot, despite being, well, a smidge too basic.

AmazonBasics

Besides, if you’re wary of shopping brands you’ve never heard of, like Anker or Zilu, these things are Amazon-backed and certified. Plus, a USB cable and carrying pouch are included in the $13 and up package. Not so bad after all, huh?

That’s all for today, folks, so as usual, we’d like to get your feedback now. Own any of the above? Thinking of buying? Which one and why?