Archives for

tablet accessories

Best mobile Bluetooth keyboard accessories for your Android tablet

Let’s be frank, we were all a little wary of tablet PCs when they first emerged as “laptop replacements.” Clearly, they had nothing on traditional computers in terms of power and productivity, merely standing out with compact form factors and, iPads notwithstanding, affordability.

Best Bluetooth Keyboard LinkPrice on
LogitechLogitech Bluetooth Easy-Switch K811 Keyboard179.5
LogitechLogitech diNovo Edge Keyboard695.98
1byone1byone Wireless Bluetooth Keyboardcheck price
OMOTONOMOTON? Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard13.99
EC TECHNOLOGYEC Technology Foldable Bluetooth Keyboardcheck price

Android keyboard

Only even the latter forte didn’t seem enough to make a stand against equally as cheap netbooks. Somehow, tabs took off nonetheless, bringing the demise of mini-notebooks and, for a few years, enjoying a swift popularity rise.

Now, the market is in a bit of a slump as conventional PCs show signs of resurgence, so it’s innovate or throw in the towel for OEMs like Samsung, LG, Asus, Lenovo, Amazon, Microsoft and even Apple. The struggling industry segment’s saving grace could well be keyboard accessories, given there’s virtually no way to further cut prices.


With phablets on the upswing, tablets can keep matching wits with jumbo-sized smartphones… and lose, or narrow the productivity gap separating them of laptops and desktops… and hope for the best. Here are some of your top universal keyboard accessory choices available on Amazon, as well as a few notebook-transforming contraptions designed specifically for the most popular Android tabs out and about:

EC Technology backlit Bluetooth keyboard – $18.99

Our least expensive recommendation wirelessly connects to any Android tablet or even smartphone known to man, plus iPads (boo!) and Windows slates (no one cares). It’s not fancy, it doesn’t send a very premium vibe, and the keys only offer decent travel and responsiveness, with almost no spaces between them.

EC Technology backlit keyboard

Still, it pulls off the basics of a portable keyboard accessory, it’s 7-color backlit, impressively light (0.37 pounds) yet respectably sturdy, as well as long-lasting, courtesy of an 800 mAh built-in battery.

Hype Ultra-Slim Bluetooth 3.0 Wireless universal keyboard – $19.99

At just 0.23 inches thin, this baby is the textbook definition of convenience, it’s available in seven different coats of paint and it’s also a lot wider than the EC Technology product, coming really close to your standard 15-inch laptop keyboard.

Hype Ultra-Slim keyboard

Once again, the key quality isn’t ideal and you’ll need 2 AAA batteries to power on the Hype, which is both a disadvantage and a strong point. A strong point because you’ll not have to remember to juice the cell up every month or so.

Anker Ultra Compact Slim Profile Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard – $19.99

Back in the day up for grabs at a whopping 60 bucks, the Anker Ultra Compact is, well, tiny, taking up “two thirds the space of a traditional keyboard.” Again, both a forte and weakness, as cramped space limits functionality.

Anker keyboard

Meanwhile, the 18-month warranty is sure a nice touch, and the rechargeable 800 mAh lithium battery promises up to 6-month autonomy based on 2 hours of daily use. Not too shabby… for 20 clams.

AmazonBasics Bluetooth keyboard – $31.90

AmazonBasics keyboard

Big, clean, straightforward, quick and quiet, the all-black AmazonBasics peripheral works with all Android 3.0+ devices, not just Kindle Fires. The 30 foot range is impressive, and the glowing reviews praise the speedy connection, responsiveness, accuracy and convenience of the Bluetooth keyboard. Sounds like a must-buy, unless you can afford one of the following.

EC Technology Portable Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard Ultra-slim Mini – $36.99

It’s portable, it’s foldable, ergonomic and versatile, squeezing right into your trouser pocket if you need it to. Of course, it’s congested too, so professional typists should look elsewhere for their business travel requirements.

EC Technology foldable keyboard

What’s truly remarkable about the second EC Technology item on our list is the aircraft-grade aluminum construction, ensuring “superior rigidity” and stellar endurance despite the foldable design.

Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device K480 – $45.99

In the market for a handsome, vigorous “full-sized” keyboard you can easily pair with your desktop, smartphone and tablet? You can’t go wrong with Logitech’s Windows, Mac, Android and iOS-compatible K480.

Logitech K480

This thing lets you seamlessly switch between three simultaneously connected Bluetooth wireless gadgets, offers a “familiar” layout with all the shortcut keys you’ve grown accustomed to use, and doesn’t require a third-party stand to hold your tab at the perfect angle for typing and reading.

Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard – $62.99

Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard

It might feel weird to mate a Redmond concoction with an Android, but one look at this keyboard, and you’ll realize it’s the best in its class. It’s large but not bulky, ergonomic yet not flimsy, lasts up to six months on a single charge and provides a detachable multi-purpose cover/stand. It’s more than a peripheral, it’s a device-changing accessory.

Fire keyboard – $59.99

Fashioned for “seamless integration” with Amazon’s newest Fire HDX 8.9, it also supports the Fire HD 6 and 7 and “other Kindle Fire HD and HDX tablets.” But that’s it. No full-scale Android compatibility here.

Fire keyboard

The ample touchpad, 4.8 mm wasp waist, various shortcut keys and 2-month “active use” battery are only some of this keyboard’s strong suits. If you really want to get the most of your Fire HDX 8.9 experience though, you’ll have to purchase the $70 leather origami case too.

Elegant, protective and stunningly versatile, the case and keyboard go together beautifully and transform your standard 8.9-inch tab in something that transcends mobile and desktop boundaries.

Samsung keyboard case for Galaxy Tab Pro/Note Pro 12.2 – $74.36

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro keyboard case

Yes, it’s costly, even after a substantial discount, but it’s surely worth it if you want to convert one of Sammy’s “professional” 12 inchers into a bona fide hybrid laptop. Rated at 4.5 stars by 72 mostly satisfied customers, the keyboard doubles as a shielding case and works like a charm for flawless on-the-go typing.

Samsung keyboard case for Galaxy Tab S 10.5 – starting at $81

Galaxy Tab S 10.5 keyboard

Possibly the best ever Samsung tablet deserved a matching premium 2-in-1 accessory, and that’s exactly what it got. There’s no trackpad here, so you won’t fool anyone into believing you own an actual notebook. But the keys are exquisitely well-spaced, quick to react, decently robust and the battery lasts for ages.

Logitech Type-S for Galaxy Tab S 10.5 – $76.40

Logitech Galaxy Tab S keyboard

Not content with Samsung’s proprietary Tab S 10.5 proposal for some reason? This 2-in-1 case/keyboard from Logitech used to cost $100, and for all the right reasons. It aims to guard your beautiful Super AMOLED gadget from accidental bumps, scratches and spills while offering “laptop-like typing” on a standard keyboard layout with Android shortcuts added in the equation. Tough call, huh?

Nexus 9 keyboard folio – $129.99

Hesitant to spend over a third of the top-notch Google tab’s price on a rudimentary “keyboard folio”? Well, that’s where you’re wrong. The multipurpose accessory is as versatile as these things come, not to mention stylish, light, slim and uber-productive in keyboard mode.

Nexus 9 keyboard

We know, we know, you’d have loved a touchpad, a little room between keys and, above all, a $30 or so price trim. But trust us when we tell you no universal keyboard will ever compliment the N9 as this does.

Best keyboards for Android tablets available today

They say laptops are for productivity, smartphones for voice and message interaction, while a tablet’s primary goal in life should traditionally be to keep you entertained on the move when a handheld feels small. But times are a-changing, and so, it’s no longer unusual to check out 1,080p, Quad HD or even 4K videos on a 5 to 5.5-inch screen, or see aspiring screenwriters type entire chapters of their hip dystopian scripts on portable slates in Starbucks stores.

keyboard Nexus 9

Some would be fast to point out Microsoft kicked off the trend of the convertible tab with its growingly popular Surface line, but ever since we can remember, Androids supported versatility-enhancing keyboard accessories too.

These days, the abundance of options on the market makes finding the best keyboard for Android tablets seem like the perfect topic for a future Tom Cruise movie, but that’s a good thing when you think about it. Choice is always nice, and today we bring you a slew of excellent OS-agnostic tablet keyboards, plus a few specialized models you can pair with the most popular iPad and Surface Pro rivals:

Best universal tablet keyboards

Hype Ultra-Slim – $14.99

Hype Ultra-Slim

The ultra-low price tips off a basic set of features here, and by no means is this the world’s best Android keyboard. But it’s not the worst either, and uses Bluetooth technology to wirelessly connect to an endless supply of Google-endorsed, Apple-backed, and Microsoft-manufactured devices. Including smartphones, and the greatest thing about it (besides its extreme affordability) is the ultra-slim 0.75-inch profile.

Arteck Universal backlit wireless Bluetooth 3.0 keyboard – $17.93

It lights up in need in 7 (fairly cheesy) colors, the brightness is adjustable on two levels, and it offers a neat auto sleep feature for reduced power consumption. Speaking of, the battery should last up to six months, so in addition to convenience, Arteck takes care of complete cable freedom.

AmazonBasics Bluetooth keyboard – $32

AmazonBasics keyboard

No, it’s not just compatible with the e-commerce giant’s Fires, and yes, it is a measly 0.7 inches thin. Granted, it doesn’t look special in any way, and lacks the advanced functionality that will make the next few contenders very hard to turn down.

Nonetheless, it’s whisper quiet, sports scissor-switch keys for effortless typing, and its speed is only rivaled by its accuracy.

EC Technology foldable Bluetooth keyboard – $32.99

EC Technology keyboard

If buying a featherweight like the above few sounds tempting, but you’d rather save space in your backpack than bulk, this flexible ergonomic contraption is the way to go. Despite fitting in your pocket when folded, it’s also “superiorly” rigid and robust, with a body made of aircraft-grade aluminum. Oh, and the keys look great, comfortable, and well-spaced.

MoKo aluminum tri-fold wireless Bluetooth keyboard – $33.99

It’s essentially the same thing as EC’s product, it looks identical both open and closed, it’s strong and handsome but actually promises longer 80-hour endurance (compared to 60h), thanks to a built-in 210 mAh rechargeable Li-polymer battery.

iClever portable foldable Bluetooth keyboard – $35

Another elastic devil, this one is praised in the overall positive Amazon user reviews (4.4 out of 5 stars based on 103 opinions) for its instant activation when unfolded, premium metal construction, good keyboard feedback, spacing and low noise.

Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard – $53.95

Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard

Arguably the best overall universal Android tablet keyboard, as well as the top choice for smartphones, iPads and Surfaces, Microsoft’s bad boy integrates stand and cover functions into the base keyboard. That means you can easily protect your slate from scratches and prop it up hands-free for the best possible typing and video-watching experience.

In terms of what the actual keyboard can do, it’s all fairly straightforward, with the addition of function keys atop the standard QWERTY layout, plus a battery you only have to charge after six months of constant usage.

Best dedicated Android tablet keyboards

Samsung keyboard case for Galaxy Tab S 10.5 – $75

Galaxy Tab S keyboard

The 10.5-inch Super AMOLED Tab S isn’t exactly a young buck anymore, and it’s still rather pricey, but especially when paired with a keyboard that fits like a glove, it’s a must-have for folks seeking an all-competent Android device.

Entertainment, gaming, document editing for work, anything you throw at the first-gen GTab S it can handle. The only fault we can find this beautiful accessory is the lack of a touchpad, despite there clearly being room for one. What the hell, Sammy?

Samsung keyboard case for Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2/Note Pro – $80

Samsung keyboard

Are the “professional” variants of last year’s Galaxy Tab and Note better than the Tab S? Hard to say, but they’re definitely larger, and so look even more like conventional laptops when docked. Of course, what we’re looking at here isn’t a very “smart”, very advanced keyboard dock, also lacking a trackpad (and space for it), but conveniently propping your 12-inch monster up and covering it in “standby” mode.

Nexus 9 keyboard folio – $150

Nexus 9 keyboard

This used to be cheaper, but then again, Google and HTC’s stock Android 9 incher used to be hotter. The good news is the actual N9 is less expensive than ever, so you may afford to cough up a Benjamin and a half on a magnetically attachable, wirelessly pairable accessory that radically improves the user interaction.

The keyboard can function for up to 5 months on a single charge, it folds into two angles for business and pleasure purposes, and when closed, the cover is nearly impenetrable. Sounds like the best of… all worlds.

Asus Transformer Pad TF103C-A1 – $205 bundle

Asus Transformer Pad

Wait, does 200 bucks really buy a tablet and a keyboard? With a touchpad and a laptop-style, full-size layout? If we’re dreaming, don’t wake us up before we get to try on the quad-core Intel Atom-powered machine for size, and see how it handles tasks both attached and detached.

Lenovo Tab A10 with keyboard – $269

Lenovo Tab A10

It was $30 cheaper a couple of weeks ago, when it secured an easy spot on our top seven list of the best inexpensive 10-inch Androids around. But it’s still not prohibitively priced, regardless of its advanced age and decrepit pre-loaded software, since it’s relatively sleek and slim, plus versatile, thanks to a flawed, cramped-looking yet convenient keyboard.

Best smartphone and tablet-compatible Bluetooth speakers money can buy

Regardless of their processors’ number of cores and clock speed, RAM count, camera megapixels, screen diagonal or resolution and battery size, most upper-tier Android smartphones and tablets nowadays come with fancy audio enhancements.

Android music

Dolby Mobile, BoomSound speakers, Beats sound augmentations, DTS systems, even Harman/Kardon special editions with Clari-Fi and LiveStage technology. Any idea what all devices using these “innovative” functions and capabilities have in common?

That’s right, they deliver sucky acoustics across the board. And don’t bother splashing the cash on a $500 pair of ultra-high-end Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 headphones with active noise cancellation. It won’t make a noticeable difference. Well, it will, but I think we can all agree spending $1,200 or so on a decent portable audio experience is a total waste.

Android headphones

Want the best of the best, the loudest, crispest, sharpest, most deafening, bass-filled music your HTC One M9 or Samsung Galaxy S6 can play? There’s only one solution to your pickle – a Bluetooth external speaker. Which is fully compatible with not just smartphones and tablets, but laptops and whatever else touts Bluetooth support.  Be sure to also check out the best bluetooth headset 2016.

So, basically, you won’t be buying a measly speaker. Some of our top recommendations below are outright home/travel entertainment systems. Others are just wireless and cheap. Here we go:

Best sub-$100 Bluetooth speakers


SoundBot SB510 HD – starting at $12.89 in grey/black

SoundBot SB 510 HD

To counter any favoritism accusations, we’ll list these first-class accessories from the least expensive to the costliest. Obviously, our opener isn’t much better than pre-installed audio systems on some flagship handhelds around, but its prime forte is water resistance.

That means you can listen to your favorite tunes in the shower or pool via Bluetooth 3.0, with a respectable connection range of 10 meter (32 feet) and 6-hour autonomy. All for the price of a fast food meal.

Etekcity RoverBeats T3 Ultra – $19.99

Etekcity RoverBeats T3 Ultra

This thing is tiny, but not tinny, and the nearly 900 customer reviews on Amazon tell you everything you need to know about its strengths and utter lack of weaknesses. It’s surprisingly loud for its size, comes with hands-free call answering support and up to 7 hours of life between charges. Obviously, it’s also usable while juicing up. The perfect travel companion? Why not?

AmazonBasics – $19.99 Ultra-Portable Micro; $29.99 Ultra-Portable Mini; $49.99 Portable; $69.99 Large Portable

AmazonBasics Micro Ultra-Portable

Now that’s what we call diversity. One size fits all? How about all sizes fit all? Starting with a somewhat awkwardly designed Micro model that tips the scales at, get this, 4 ounces while measuring 3.4 x 3.4 x 1.2 inches. How punchy can such a little guy get? 3W.

Not bad, since the 7.2 ounce Mini is exactly as rambunctious. Then you have a 6W Portable version weighing in at 1.2 pounds, and a Large 10W Portable with 1.6 pound bulk, call divert function and 8-hour battery life. As usual, Amazon’s own brand is a safe accessory bet.

Cambridge SoundWorks OontZ Angle Enhanced Edition – $27.99

Cambridge OontZ Angle Enhanced Edition

Compared to the $30 AmazonBasics Ultra-Portable Mini, this baby is heavier and larger, but it also lasts an impressive 12 hours on a single charge and stands out with a futuristic style, two “precision neodymium speaker drivers”, as well as above-average hands-free speaker phone capabilities.

DKnight Magicbox Ultra-Portable – $28.99

Amazon’s number one wireless & streaming audio system best seller is palm-sized (literally), designed to blend in no matter the background (that being a good thing), and capable of running on its own Li-Ion battery for up to 10 hours.

DKnight Magicbox

Total sound power is rated at an appropriate 6W, and if you don’t own a Bluetooth 2.1-enabled device, you can always use the 3.5mm port or standalone microSD card to render your melodies at tedious parties or while away from home.

Jawbone Jambox – starting at $89.99 in “Red Dot”; $99.99 most other colors

Jawbone Jambox

This barely makes the sub-$100 category, and as a direct consequence, predictably walks the fine line between casual and professional Bluetooth speakers. Aside from the simplistic but striking aesthetics, the “normal-sized” Jambox will no doubt catch the eyes ears of audiophiles with an output capacity of 85 decibels, a pair of proprietary, “highly sophisticated acoustic drivers” and ultra-small yet extremely apt dome.

Jawbone doesn’t even have to advertise hollow, meaningless numbers. Their reputation precedes them, and over 3,700 mostly satisfied Amazon customers give the Jambox a weighted average of four stars.

Best $100 to $200 external speakers for your Android


Bose SoundLink Color – $129

Bose SoundLink Color

Things are officially getting serious. Now, we know the SoundLink Color doesn’t look like much. It’s probably fugly by many standards, but it only weighs 1.2 pounds and measures 2.1 x 5 x 5.3 inches while delivering “clear, full-range sound you might not expect from a compact speaker.”

Marketing baloney? Maybe, although the producers are known for never skimping on quality since 1964. Besides, you can’t fool 1,500+ demanding buyers who claim this accessory is nearly five-star-worthy all in all.

TDK Life on Record Trek Max A34 – $149.99

TDK Life on Record Trek Max A34

Nowhere near as popular a brand as Bose, Beats or even Jawbone, TDK Life on Record offers a satisfactory quality-pricing ratio here, courtesy of A34’s rugged, water-protected, “weatherized” construction. And dedicated two front full-range drivers, and reliable subwoofer, and “dynamic audio performance”, Signature Sound tech, plus 8-hour battery.

It’s clearly a tad tougher to carry around than most of its rivals, at 3.6 pounds, but rain or shine, it stands beside you to put a smile on your face. Rock and roll, baby!

Beats Pill (newest model) – starting at $149.99 in white; $159.99 and up other paint jobs

Beats Pill

The ultimate portable speaker, this is vocally contested by many audio “pros”, but it’s easily the number one mainstream choice. It’s stylish, petite, incredibly easy to pair with phones, as well as fairly loud and powerful. Warning – it’s not the loudest money can buy.

Sony SRSX5 – starting at $164.51

Sony SRSX5

Don’t try to understand the name or design. Just keep your eyes on the 20 Watts (!!!) of power, rich 50 Hz to 20 kHz sound, convenient One-Touch Listening features, excellent range, hands-free calling functions and, last but not least, 8-hour battery. That’s amazing for such a forceful speaker.

Bose SoundLink Mini – $199

The customer review average isn’t a perfect five stars, but it’s phenomenally close – 4.8. And for all the good reasons. Cleverly made to look like a retro, miniature stereo, the SoundLink Mini brings the party to you, at home, out in town or in the car traveling to… wherever.

Bose SoundLink Mini

It goes on and on for up to 7 hours, has a range of roughly 30 feet, and the physical volume controls are such a simple, nice touch, we wonder why they aren’t “borrowed” by everyone.

Best $200+ Wireless Bluetoth speakers


Jawbone Big Jambox – starting at $208

Jawbone Big Jambox

It’s perhaps unfair to separate the Big Jambox from the SoundLink Mini for a pithy 9 bucks, although this bad boy’s towering size allows it to offer up to 15 hours (!!!) of continuous play. In addition to customary footprint-enabled audio, volume and bass improvements, the 2.7 pound big guy also adds something called LiveAudio tech in the equation for, you guessed it, immersive 3D “live” sound.

Logitech UE Megaboom – $299.99


Maybe the “pricier is better” equation doesn’t always check out when it comes to Android smartphones or tablets, but accessories and especially audio tools greatly depend on production costs. The Megaboom, for instance, which unfortunately only ships “within 2 to 5 weeks”, could have never afforded to lay “freakishly amazing 360-degree sound” at your feet, plus “heart-pounding” bass, water resistance, 100-feet Bluetooth wireless range and 20-hour autonomy.

It’s the best of both worlds, compact and outlandishly powerful. In the illustrative words of its makers, it’s “musical mayhem on the go.”

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.


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?

The best accessories for the most popular Androids this holiday season

So you bought yourself a cool new phone, an inexpensive Android tablet and perhaps a cool, futuristic hybrid too. Got everyone you care about something special as well, yet it still feels there’s more to buy as long as retailers nationwide are having Christmas promos and yard sales.

Android Christmas present

But surely, there’s little left in the bank. After all, you also have to eat and living in a post-Christmas box isn’t the most enticing prospect. Good thing we’re around to give you the scoop on the hottest, cheapest possible Android stocking stuffers.

Accessories. Not smartwatch or activity tracker types, although those will work too. We mean cases, covers, external power banks, wireless chargers, screen protectors, car holders and so on and so forth. You know, the small but essential things mobile consumers tend to forget about until they actually need them.

Android Christmas ornaments

Well, we want you to be prepared for anything and everything, so we give you the best accessories money can buy this jolly holiday season for the best Android gadgets out and about:

Best Samsung Galaxy Note 4 accessories

First things first, we’re sorry to report Sammy keeps playing hardball with the phablet’s price – $734 unlocked, $270 on-contract at AT&T and Verizon. The good news is, if you know someone with a Note 4, chances are they couldn’t also afford a very wide array of appendages.

A solid Christmas gift idea would ergo be a 9-item accessory bundled kit from DigitalsOnDemand, typically available at $60, but slashed to $25 for the holidays. A couple of protective cases are included, a screen protector, stylus pen, car charger adapter, and travel pouch bag.

Galaxy Note 4 S View

Looking for something with a little extra pizazz? The S View Flip Cover is by far the safest bet. It’s slightly steeper, at $35 and up by itself, but man, it’s sleek and convenient. This $26 rugged protective cover is ideal for folks with slippery hands, and this $45 power bank not only comes with 5,000 mAh juice, but it also doubles as a media kickstand.

Samsung Galaxy S5

It may not be as sizzling hot as expected, and it clearly lost steam over time, but the S5 is today a more sensible purchase than ever, at $50 with Verizon, AT&T or Sprint pacts, or $518 in a factory unlocked flavor.

You don’t have to spend a fortune on accessories either, even the fanciest of them all going for just $79. That so-called Samsung GamePad is quite a unique little contraption, taking mobile game to unexpected heights of comfort.

Galaxy S5 case

A more traditional choice would probably be the $26 S View Flip Cover, a $30 wireless charging battery cover, or an extra-slim yet highly rugged $20 metal case from Verus. And let’s not forget wireless charger kits, available for as little as $35 (down from $100 back in the day), and spare battery chargers with OEM replacement cells, going for $31.

Feeling all warm inside as Christmas comes creeping in, and want to share your jolliness with the world? Then how about scoring yourself a $7 snowflake and Christmas tree-decorated case, or an $8 snowman-adorned cover from Head Case Designs? They’re cheesy, you say? Ah, we’ll allow it for one measly week a year.

LG G3 accessories

LG’s spearhead 2014 phone isn’t a must-buy just because it’s beautiful, powerful and large, it’s also amazingly cheap for what it has to offer. Namely, it can be had from Amazon at $405 free of contractual and carrier obligations, or one penny with Verizon, AT&T and Sprint pacts. You read that right, a penny. $0.01.

Now, accessories can never be as affordable, but incredibly enough, LG and Amazon sell one of those swanky Quick Circle window folio cases for $25. Much too sweet a deal to say no to, and the same goes for the $27 compatible wireless charging pad.

LG G3 Quick Circle case

What else? Well, you can always opt for a simpler, more straightforward, even cheaper $10 Supcase wallet leather case. Or the virtually unbreakable $18 heavy duty full-body rugged hybrid protective cover with a built-in screen shield and impact resistant bumper.

Last but not least, if you’re in a festive mood, this $8 Mr. Snowman snap-on hard back case cover is bound to put a smile on people’s faces. There’s also an $8 “Santa on His Sleigh” case, albeit it may be a little much.

HTC One M8

Much like with the Galaxy S5, time hasn’t been particularly kind on the once phenomenal M8. But the full-metal 5 incher is a bona fide steal these days, going for a penny with Verizon pacts, $30 on Sprint and AT&T, and $650 factory unlocked with a US warranty.

HTC One M8 Dot View

The accessory selection is almost too generous, and probably the all-around best-seller is the $9 Dot View Flip Case. A close second is this $20 Spigen drop and scratch-proof air cushioned cover in our book, and fitness enthusiasts can’t do better or cheaper than Shocksock’s $10 machine washable armband.

Clearly, a “smart wired” headset available at 7 bucks is hardly a top choice for pretentious audiophiles, but it’s so cheap it’s worth a try. And so is this $6 ArmorSuit MilitaryShield screen protector.

Google/HTC Nexus 9

The world’s trendiest Android tablet this holiday season has been a little hard to come by since it technically went up for sale, but it’s now in stock at Amazon both in 16 and 32 GB Wi-Fi only configurations, for the low, low prices of $350 and $430 respectively.

Nexus 9 magic cover

It almost goes without saying the best, smartest way to accessorize the Nexus 9 is by pairing it with a $130 keyboard folio that’s bizarrely “under review” on Amazon at the moment. If you hurry, you can grab it via HTC for 50 percent off, i.e. $65, or on Google Play at full retail.

Alternatively, the $35 magic cover is pretty neat too, although nowhere near as productive, while this $36 IVSO stylus pen-including ultra-thin keyboard portfolio case is fairly productive, but doesn’t quite “click” as HTC and Google’s official keyboard folio.

Motorola Moto G accessories

You didn’t really think we’d wrap this list up without showing some love for our most budget-constrained readers, did you? If you did, you were all kinds of wrong, as the Moto G and second-gen G continue to be amongst the Androids we really can’t recommend enough for Christmas presents.

The OG is $60 with no-contract Boost Mobile prepaid commitments on Amazon, and $72 for Verizon, whereas the 2014 edition costs $180 unlocked. The first-gen can be had unlocked too, at $160.

Moto G flip shell

$9 replacement shells in an assortment of snazzy colors are the easiest way of making the 2013 G feel personal, while Abacus24-7 lets you grab a leather wallet case for either the first or second-gen at just $7.

The $13 and up flip shells are exactly like their $9 counterparts, only they also cover up the display, and guard it against damage. Then you have extra-durable $14 grip shells, and a neat $7 combo pack consisting of a wall charger, car charger, micro USB cable and LED keychain light.

Power packs cost as little as $14 and can be paired with all Android devices, not just Motorolas, and the $145 Moto Hint is one of the most original takes on the wearable concept, breaking all-new ground for thus far rudimentary Bluetooth headsets.

Still can’t find the perfect accessory for your Android soldier of choice? Stay tuned on The Droid Guy, and we’ll be sure to update the roundup with more options for more smartphones and tablets. That’s a promise.

Sony interchangeable lenses spotted on leaked manual

A leaked manual shows more evidence for the rumored Sony interchangeable lenses for Android and iOS mobile devices. The manual shows the names of the lenses as well as illustrations for the same. They appear to match the purportedly leaked press photos of the lenses that Sony Alpha Rumors posted a few days ago.

Sony interchangeable lenses
Sony interchangeable lenses

The Sony interchangeable lenses have the model numbers DSC-QX100 and DSC-QX10. The former is the more high-end product, boasting of the components found on the Sony RX100M II camera. This lens features a 20.2-megapixel sensor and a Carl Zeiss lens with 3.6x zoom and f/1.8 aperture. It also offers a ring control. On the other hand, the DSC-QX10 offers components found on the Sony WX150 camera. This lens comes with a 18-megapixel CMOS sensor as well as a lens with an aperture of f/3.5 to 3.9.

Apart from these, both Sony interchangeable lenses pack a display panel which notifies the user of battery life and SD card information. Also onboard is a microphone, a dedicated shutter button, a reset button, a tripod mount, a power-on light indicator, a zoom lever, and a jack for various functions. The leaked manual shows each of these features on the DSC-QX100 and DSC-QX10 lenses.
If such leaks are accurate, then these lenses will be sophisticated accessories that will give users added control, and lead to presumably high-quality smartphone or tablet photos. Mac Rumors says that the camera hardware is valued between $400 to $750. However, they have no word on how much Sony will sell the DSC-QX100 and DSC-QX10 lenses for.

Sony is expected to reveal the lenses on September 4th in Berlin, Germany. Along with the lenses, Sony will unveil the Honami i1 smartphone, a smartphone which comes with a powerful 20.7MP G Lens rear-facing camera. It will also arrive with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset, a 5-inch 1080p Triluminos display, 2 GB of RAM, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, a 3,000 mAh battery and a thin form factor

via mac-rumors