Every year, major phone manufacturers such as Apple, Google, and Samsung hold elaborate events meant to introduce and publicize their upcoming phones. Well, buying a new phone is all well and good, but things don’t stop there. Once you’ve got the phone, you have to buy yourself a case (so you won’t crack that shiny new device the first time you drop it on the sidewalk), some earbuds, a charging stand — all sorts of gadgets.
The staff of The Verge is as prone to buying neat accessories for their phones as anyone, so we asked them what they were using to enhance their mobile tech. Here’s what some of them answered.
A fabric back with rubber sides
Nathan Edwards, senior reviews editor
Peak Design’s phone cases for iPhones, Samsung phones, and Pixel phones have a fabric back with protective rubber sides. They use built-in magnets for optional accessories like a tripod or a bike mount.
My favorite iPhone case. It looks good for how durable it is, and the magnets that help it connect to Peak Design’s SlimLink accessories also make it MagSafe (and Qi2) compatible. That’s great for iPhones, but Peak Design also makes cases for Pixels and Samsung Galaxy phones, so you can use those 10W “MagSafe-compatible” Qi chargers and get most of the thrill of MagSafe / Qi2 without waiting for Qi2 phones to ship.
Strong cases with weird names
Barbara Krasnoff, reviews editor
Cases for iPhones, Pixels, and Galaxy phones with both style and impact resistance.
I have to admit that, for years, I’ve been protecting my phones with cheap, vaguely transparent soft plastic cases — the kind that turn yellow after a couple of years. I always found them pretty satisfactory, and the only time a dropped phone actually broke was when it landed display down on a gravel path. (No saving it at that point.)
So I smiled politely when a friend gave me a Dbrand case as a gift for my Pixel 6 and put it on, sure that after a day or two I would simply replace it with its former case. Well, I was wrong. Having a sturdier case not only keeps the phone safer but also makes it better to use on a day-to-day basis. The textured sides make my phone a lot easier to grip and avoid even the possibility of drops, and the covers on the side buttons make them easier to find without looking. The patterned skin that came with the case was also great — especially considering the Pixel 6’s rather pale colors.
I do have to admit that the pseudo-postapocalyptic naming conventions for Dbrand’s skins — Warzone, Acid, Abusement Park — strike me as a little, well, off-putting. But hey, to each their own. The cases are still great.
A PopSocket for your cards
Kaitlin Hatton, senior audience manager
The PopSockets iconic phone handle also props up your device and now comes with a MagSafe-compatible case / wallet.
I hate carrying a bag or purse, and the best solution I’ve found to sidestep using one on a day-to-day basis is my PopWallet Plus. I just pop a couple credit cards and an ID in, attach it to my phone via MagSafe, and go. It’s strong enough to stay on my phone through most activities, though it does sometimes detach when I’m trying to squeeze it into a too-small pocket or if I hit it just right on an object. These issues are more so just because I’m clumsy, though.
A snap-on phone stand / wallet
Allison Johnson, reviewer
Moft’s phone stand and wallet sticks to the back of your phone, either by MagSafe or adhesive, and fits three of your most precious ID or payment cards.
I’m at the phone stand. I’m at the wallet. I’m at the combination phone stand and wallet.
An accessory that does two jobs instead of one is the best kind of phone accessory in my book, like Moft’s phone stand and wallet. It sticks to the back of your phone, either by MagSafe or adhesive, and fits three of your most precious ID or payment cards. It’s pretty low-profile when it’s closed, but you unfold it origami-style when you need a card or want to use it as a stand. Magnets inside keep it open or closed, and it’s sturdy enough to prop your phone up either horizontally or vertically.
You can also open it partway and put your hand through the loop to use it as a phone grip. That’s like, two and a half jobs out of one accessory, plus it looks nice. Not a bad deal.
Slow but very stylish
A beautifully stylized charging stand for your iPhone 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 and AirPods.
The Courant Dual-Device Charging Stand is made for those who prefer design above all else. When I bought this, I was frustrated with the look of other MagSafe charging options on the market, and finding this was a breath of fresh air. The catch is that it is not very fast. It’s not the charger I would reach for if I need a quick top-off, but it is the one I use to charge my phone overnight or while I’m just around the house. I get loads of compliments on the look of this, and it solves any ugly cord or charger woes. Being able to charge two devices at once has also really come in handy when I know I need both my work phone and my personal phone charged at the same time. Sometimes beauty must come above speed, and that is a worthwhile tradeoff to me.
An organizer for everything
Brandon Widder, senior commerce editor
A simple yet elegant desk organizer that is just right for propping up your phone or stashing your Apple Watch.
Yamazaki’s desk organizer isn’t a smartphone accessory, per se, but I’ve found it to be a more stylish resting spot for my phone than your run-of-the-mill Qi charging stand. The handy steel and wood desk organizer is great for stashing a pair of wireless earbuds and some stationery, and it’s outfitted with an arm that’s perfectly suited for holding a watch or two. The best part, however, is that the upper platform is situated further back than the bottom tray, which means you can rest a small notebook or your phone upright, thus making it easy to glance at texts, calendar reminders, and other incoming notifications.
I’ve always been a fan of Yamazaki’s understated wares, which honestly, often look a little more expensive than they are. The Japanese company, which started out making ironing boards more than 100 years ago, has steadily built an impressive collection of minimalist goods spanning everything from shelves to bread baskets, much of which is available in either black or white. Sure, the subdued color palette might be a little too Ikea for some people, but there’s something to be said about keeping things simple.
A 3-in-1 wireless charger
Jess Weatherbed, news writer
Charge your iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods all at once with this three-in-one charging dock.
I got this as a birthday present from my partner last year after several months of arguing over our sleeping arrangements. Something about me trailing the charging cables for my devices in the bed being “dangerous” and “extremely uncomfortable”… Anyway, after begrudgingly acknowledging my poor charging habits, I have to admit that having this on my desk has had benefits outside of not garroting myself mid-slumber.
My iPhone, Apple Watch, and wireless earbuds rarely run out of juice, as I no longer fall asleep before plugging them in. I’ve also taken to using the charger’s upright positioning for phones to my advantage — serving as a desk clock, a tiny display for Slack or Discord, and as a hub to remotely control the various smart devices around my home. It helps me separate the device from being my phone and instead helps me build the habit of it being another tool to boost my productivity.
Audio and video
Not AirPods — EarPods
David Pierce, editor-at-large
Apple’s wired earbuds are comfortable, provide fine audio, and include a built-in remote.
Here’s a little-known fact about Apple’s wired headphones: outside of a professional microphone, they’re probably the best gadget on the planet for sounding good on phone and video calls. Add in the fact that their battery never dies (because they don’t have one!) and the fact that they’re more comfortable to have in your ears for hours than any of the AirPods, and the old-fashioned EarPods are a staggeringly useful accessory.
You can get EarPods with a Lightning jack for your iPhone or a 3.5mm jack for everything else on earth. Heck, they’re under $20, get both! I have a set in my suitcase (for emergency plane-screen situations), a set in my backpack, and a set in my car. If you ever call me and think gosh, David sounds so great, there’s only one reason for it: wires.
Earbuds that just work
Inexpensive wired earbuds that come in a variety of colors.
If you just need a pair of affordable headphones that you won’t sweat losing or breaking, you might want to check out Panasonic’s ErgoFit Wired Earbuds.
I’ve recommended these before, and I’ll recommend them again. These are my favorite ultra-cheap wired headphones with a mic, and I use them for things like gaming, for Zoom calls, and even as a wired mic for appearances on podcasts and television.
Do they sound great? Maybe not great, but audio is perfectly fine. Is the mic good? Not as good as a USB mic, but good enough!
A mobile tripod for simple snaps
Expanding up to 60 inches, workable as a tripod, and with a Bluetooth-enabled remote, this selfie stick makes photo taking much, much easier.
When you go on holiday with your partner or family, you generally get stuck with three options when it comes to taking group photographs: a cramped selfie, leaving someone out to take the picture, or asking a total stranger to take it for you. Not to be dramatic or anything, but I’d rather not ruin my vacation by trying to figure out which individuals nearby are the least likely to dip the minute I hand over my phone. And it’s depressing to think that my mum is in so few of our family photos because she was always the person on the other side of the camera.
A decent Bluetooth-enabled tripod can resolve these issues. I’ve had good experiences using Atumtek’s Premium Plus Phone Tripod Selfie Stick — it features a discrete detachable Bluetooth shutter remote that you can pair with your smartphone, sparing you from having to set a timer and run like hell. Simply get into position and use the remote to snap as many shots as you need to ensure it’s caught you at a flattering angle. It also extends up to 60 inches to squeeze everyone into a group selfie if you’re using it as a selfie stick. This could be a brilliant gift for any “Instagram boyfriends” who spend hours of their vacations as their partner’s dedicated paparazzi.