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back to article Ten Essential... iPhone Accessories

Yes, there are hundreds - nay, thousands - of apps you can download and extend the functionality of your iPhone 3GS. But don't forget there are plenty of hardware add-ons too, from handset battery life boosters to kit to make the Apple phone more care friendly. Here are the ten we think are most deserving of your hard-earned. …

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Anonymous Coward

Best iphone windscreen mount?

A review for a decent iphone windscreen mount would be handy.

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iPhone Mount

I personally find this to be the best option:

http://www.mobilefun.co.uk/navigon-iphone-3gs-3g-car-holder-p24012.htm?referer=N20100408_Active_Name-Image_Navigon_iPhone_3GS_/_3G_Car_Holder

Very robust but doesn't look ugly either!

As for headphones, for me the best, every day of the week are the Etymotic hf2, available in a range of colours, better sound (IMO) and cheaper too! http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0012OP7HE?ie=UTF8&tag=spoavetstu-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B0012OP7HE

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Griffin WindowSeat

It stays put, has an articulated arm, and lets you rotate the phone however you want.

Only disadvantage is that because the phone actually clips into the mount, you can't have it in a case. Even the invisible shield add too much thickness.

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FAIL

etymotic fail

I've had three pairs of the expensive Etymotic ER-6 headphones die on me- they're flimsy as hell. I dread to think what the cheap ones are like.

Fail- because that's what they did. Quickly.

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Anonymous Coward

Great

Thanks!

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Xtand Go

I bought a Xtand Go, it's a really nice bit of kit at a reasonable price. I subsequently found that my Nexus One is also a perfect fit.

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iPod docks?

If you were going to include docks in this list then you should really have included the Roth Audio MC4 valve amp. It sounds simply sublime. The valves add harmonics that sort of compensate for the harmonics that are lost in digital compression.

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Anonymous Coward

Hey Poindexter

..wanna buy a bridge, and some snake oil to go with that iPhone valve amp?

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Take a listen, seriously

I'm a seriously skeptical audio man. I think any speaker cable that costs more than £2 a metre is a waste of money. The second after I paid for the thing I was immediately full of regret: "what have I done? I'll never hear any difference. What a waste of money". Then I actually heard it playing. I have honestly never heard such sublime sound. MP3s ripped at terrible bitrates sound better on this thing than CDs did on my old amp. Seriously, take a listen for yourself before you dismiss it.

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FAIL

grreat

I can't help but feel like 'Essential' products; 1,2,3 and 4 could be all replaced by a spare battery you can put in when the other one has run out.

oh, you can't replace the battery. fail.

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I'm not so sure

On more than one occasion I've swapped to my "spare" battery only to find that it had discharged itself since last use.

Seems to me that while the option to change the battery might on the face of it bee useful, these case-with-battery solutions that are charged with the phone are probably a more elegant solution to the problem and we could do with a few more on the market for other handsets.

If you're someone who regularly drains two (or more) batteries on a phone before you can get to a charger then you probably want something a bit more specialised than the iPhone. In fact you probably want something more specialised than whatever you're currently using.

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I'm not so sure

"If you're someone who regularly drains two (or more) batteries on a phone before you can get to a charger then you probably want something a bit more specialised than the iPhone."

The iphone battery lasts less than a day with the internet on (as do most of the android handsets, to be fair). To have a working phone for a couple of days i don't think is a particularly 'specialist' requirement, and swapping a battery at the start of the second day is not a bad or inelegant solution.

The fact that 4 of these 'essential' accessories are to do with the battery life i'd say it was a concern, no?

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To some people, maybe

Well my wife has "the internet" turned on all of the time on her iPhone and she only charges it every two-three days. Guess what? Not everyone gets awful battery life out of every phone.

I'd also say that a tech journalists idea of "essential" is not necessarily the same as the average person, so simply because there are three may just be an indication of the choice available rather than the reflection of an actual concern.

So, no, I wouldn't say it was a concern any more than two or three carry cases in an 'essentials' list means something is difficult to carry.

And I don't see why a spare battery is a better solution than a battery jacket for anyone who wants a longer battery life. In fact, having had no less than three battery doors for my N95, I'd say the spare battery is not without it's pitfalls.

How much use is a spare battery in a phone that can't keep it in because of a broken compartment?

So, when you get to the end of the second day and have two flat batteries so you might manage to put the phone on charge overnight. With two batteries you can only charge one of them at a time, meaning you either need to get up in the middle of the night to charge the second one, do without one of them or buy a charger that can charge the other battery outside of the phone. On top of that you rarely encounter phones that are designed to have the battery compartment opened regularly, often making the act of changing batteries awkward at best and damaging in other cases (N95).

With the battery jacket, you plug the phone in and charge both.

*That's* why I call the "spare battery solution" inelegant

Sure, being able to swap the battery would give you better flexibility, but if I had to pick one I know which one my phone did. Of course, that assumes a phone that doesn't need the battery removing on a regular basis because it crashes. Unlike my N97.

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ok

After that 350 word essay in defense of the iphone battery, here's an elegant soloution on comparable hardware.

http://www.mobilefun.co.uk/extended-battery-and-replacement-back-cover-htc-hero-black-p22315.htm

A large battery. £20.

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hang on...

Isn't item number 1 actually a protective case that allows you to charge the phone by placing it on a mat. Its not an essential accessory, since a charger is included with the phone. But it is a cool gadget. Which is partly what The Reg is about, isn't it.

And just because it relates to charging the battery doesnt mean it reflects that the battery performance is poor. It just identifies that people want a way to extend the life of the device between charges. Spare battery, or a protective housing that doubles up as an extra battery. Both are nothing more than a solution to a problem that exists. Until such time as your phone can be powered by particles of nitrogen bouncing around it, some solution will always be required for some people... unless you're happy with a no frills phone with a massive battery.

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But

That's just a battery jacket in a slightly different form, you get a larger capacity and a larger phone, except you don't have the additional advantage of a protective case.

I had something similar for a Nokia phone a few years ago.

I wasn't defending the iPhone battery, I was trying to point out that it's really not the big deal that some people make out and that the solution is quite a nice workable one.

I'm still waiting for someone to adequately explain why the external battery of these solutions is worse than the spare battery or bigger battery+new battery cover solution on other devices. Mostly the arguments just appear to be rhetoric.

In fact, sod it, as I'm getting bored, I'll give you a good reason why this solution is worse: The battery jackets for the iPhone don't provide a pass-though of the Apple connector, so if you want to use the phone with any kind of "dock" accessory you have to remove the battery pack, negating the advantage to being able to charge both at the same time.

Happy?

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FAIL

eh?

"World+Dog will tell you that Apple's iPhone earphones aren't up to much. We don't agree"

April the first was a while ago. The crappy space fillers that ship with the iPod roll off like hell around 150Hz, and are flaccid all over the range- and more importantly, they leak like hell, and make your fellow travellers want to kill you.

How anyone (other than someone with a curious low frequency hearing impairment) could seriously claim that these headphones are any good is beyond me.

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Badgers

Stock earbuds are designed to be leaky...

While they do leak out, they also let ambient sound leak IN. I wouldn't wear isolating earbuds while wandering or exercising... it's unsafe to not hear your surroundings.

Unfortunately, you do lose a lot of bass without isolation. That's what the Apple in-ear set is for. Outstanding sound. They're about $80 USD, and have separate bass/treble drivers, which is something you don't usually find for <$100.

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FAIL

re: eh?

Not to mention that they fall apart at the drop of a hat, any hat.

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Atomic Floyd is the answer

After my third set of Apple headphones broke I decided to shell out for a pair of Atomic Floyd HiDef Drum earbuds. They have a much, much better sound and despite being a little north of £100 have already paid for themselves; they have lasted a year while the three sets of of iPhone standard headphones only lasted about three months each despite careful handling...

See http://store.apple.com/uk/product/TW051ZM/A - they are now £99.95, proving prices do fall even in the apple store, or £99 from Atomic Floyd

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Silver badge

Ho hum.

Why is it, that *any* gadget, add-on or accessory that is either built for, or even could possibly be used with an iPhone is automatically the first of it's kind?

And while I'm on it, why do marketing people think it's a good idea to use CAD drawings of their products?

If I see cad, I see vapourware.

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Headmaster

£25 for a stand for a phone?

B*gger that. I made one with an offcut of cable conduit and some adhesive felt pads I had knocking around. Helluva lot cheaper and mine's more portable too.

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Big Brother

FM transmitters are crap

And the US FCC requires that they be crap. It used to be that you were allowed to broadcast sufficient power to overwhelm the FM stations. Clear Channel realized that everyone was listening to their iPods and nobody was listening to the rug-store commercials, Top 40, and Howard Stern wannabes, so they got their buddies in the FCC to stomp on those FM transmitters but good.

It's actually kind of funny. The booklet that came with mine said "sometimes you won't be able to find a clear station, but you have to understand that there's a difference between your little portable transmitter and the broadcaster's 50,000-Watt radio tower." Yes, that's a direct quote (I think it's a Monster thing.) My attitude is that hey, if it's harmful to transmit high-power RF energy, then how is the radio station allowed to do it with enough strength that it overwhelms the transmitter I've got RIGHT NEXT TO THE RADIO?

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£25 for a stand for a phone?

Indeed. Cable conduit? surely you can build one out of a business card. Works perfectly acceptably with an iphone w/o any case.

(yeah, and I always have a business card + a knife of some description).

http://www.instructables.com/id/Simple-business-card-iPhone--iPod-stand/

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Put your money away!

Whilst the stand looks nice, this appears to do the same for a fiver:

http://www.movie-peg.com/

And the adaptor kit is great in principle but the price is less so. I hunted high and low for somewhere selling Oz adaptors when I recently moved out here. These folks were the only ones I found selling single plugs - I ordered 3 and they are indistinguishable from the Apple one that came with my phone:

http://bit.ly/apple_adaptor

I'm guessing that only international jetsetters need the whole kaboodle and therefore can probably stick the pricey adaptor kit on an expense account regardless!

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Happy

iPhone battery will outlast your daily data plan

Spencer: "...The iphone battery lasts less than a day with the internet on..."

I've never found a way to switch off the entire Internet. If you mean the iPhone's 3G data connection then it depends on how you use it (not just on versus off). My 3GS battery lasts all day, with 3G data turned on all the time (never off). My usage pattern has been as high as 5 or 6 GB per month. In short, I've never been able to drain the battery in one day using the Internet. My generous daily bandwidth allowance would be gone before the battery.

But you could drain the battery if you played locally-stored videos all day, or fiddled with the iPod function keeping the screen on. But it takes some effort.

I charge it every night while I sleep.

YMMV.

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Depends on the usage

Anything involving Facebook is an absolute battery hog. I can practically SEE the bar going down.

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Milage may vary.

Within the context of the sentance, i think most people would have understood that 'the internet' would mean mobile internet enabled on your phone. But point taken.

That aside, here are Apples battery life claims: http://www.apple.com/iphone/specs.html

Internet use:

Up to 5 hours on 3G

Up to 9 hours on Wi-Fi

I just can't see how your claims are possible. My experiance and the experiance of my pals is that the iphone, 3gs or not lasts about a day if you have mobile internet enabled.

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WTF?

meh

Up to 5 hours means 5 hours of continuous usage, not 5 hours of it being on. I don't know how the figures are calculated but loading a web page and then reading it for an hour doesn't mean that the 3G connection has been active for an hour.. All depends on usage pattern

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Likewise...

My battery lasts just fine unless I listen to lots of music or watch some video. As battery life gets low I simply power down - first I turn off push notification, this makes a real difference, then 3G, then Wifi and Bluetooth. One day I'm going to see how long the battery will last doing 'just' 2G networking.

My Nexus allows me to see where the power goes which is even more useful, I can tailor my behaviour when the power gets low.

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Silver badge

A 67in 640x480 TV?

There can't be many good iPhone accessories if those are the cream of the crop...

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Unhappy

Shame

There is no mention of a solar charging solution.

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Anonymous Coward

Mophie Juice Pack Air

One weakness of this product is that the USB connection is very flimsy - a lot of people have had trouble with these breaking.

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FAIL

CivRev vs. Battery

CivRev runs the battery out in what seems like minutes, but is actually hours, such is Civilization. Nevertheless, the answer is not spare batteries, the answer is littering your world with iPhone chargers; bedroom, kitchen, front room, office, car...

A list of the Top Ten accessories, surely only one should be a battery related device?

Hence: Fail.

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WTF?

Where is the review of the Infrared Dongle?

I want a iPhone TV Remote Control, surely that's a top ten?

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Mark-up

Salesperson: You want a desk stand for your smartphone to watch films? How about this little plastic thing?

You: How much?

Salesperson: £2.00

You: Will it fit my iPhone?

Salesperson: iPhone! Why didn't you say! You'll be wanting this one. It was in some magazine. Only £25.

You: What about the plastic thing?

Salesperson: Oh, erm... it isn't iPhone compatible.

You: OK, I'll take that one then.

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