Best gifts: Top iPhone XS or XS Max accessories

Here are the very best accessories to help you get the most from your new iPhone.
By Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
1 of 19 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad

While I think that USB-C charging is the best way to charge an iPhone, wireless charging is a good way to recharge the iPhone at night, or when it's sitting on your desk.

The $45 PowerWave 7.5 Pad features WaveBoost technology, which makes use of advanced components and a state-of-the-art cooling system to charge up to 30 percent faster than other wireless chargers. The silent cooling fan not only keeps the charger cool, but also allows the charger to keep charging at the fastest speed possible.

Charge times are also pretty good. While many wireless chargers take 4.3 hours to recharge the iPhone X, the PowerWave chargers cut that to 3.1 hours (the supplied wired charger takes around 3.2 hours), and it can recharge a Samsung Galaxy S8 in 2.6 hours (the supplied wireless charger takes around 3 hours).

See it now: PowerWave 7.5 Pad

DJI Mavic 2 Pro
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DJI Mavic 2 Pro

Drones are probably the ultimate accessory for a smartphone, and what better for the flagship iPhone than the the flagship $1,500 DJI Mavic 2 Pro.

With its Hasselblad L1D-20c camera, enabling you capture 20-megapixel aerial shots in stunning colour detail, the Mavic Pro 2 also features a new 1-inch CMOS sensor for better performance in low-light.

But this high-tech also works for you, with the Mavic 2 Pro's intelligent brain taking much of the stress and headaches away from flying a drone (while still keeping it fun).

  • Hasselblad Camera
  • 1-inch CMOS Sensor
  • 31 Minute flight time
  • 3-axis gimbal
  • 10-bit HDR video

See it now: DJI Mavic 2 Pro

Eufy RoboVac 30C
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Eufy RoboVac 30C

Mr Kitty leaves a trail of hair in his wake, so having an automated way to clean up after him is a great time saver.

I've had a few different robot vacuum cleaners over the years and I've not been all that impressed with them. They seem to take a disproportionate amount of hand-holding for what they did.

Enter the $270 Eufy RoboVac 30C, which totally changed my mind about robovacs. Not only is it a powerful device that cleans as good as a regular vacuum cleaner (thanks to its 1500Pa of suction strength), but it's thin enough to make its way underneath furniture without getting caught up.

It also has a large 0.6L dustbox to complement its 100 minutes of runtime per charge.

See it now: Eufy RoboVac 30C

InvisibleShield Glass+ VisionGuard
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InvisibleShield Glass+ VisionGuard

Most screen protectors just protect the smartphone's display. The $45 InvisibleShield Glass+ VisionGuard takes this a step forward.

Not only does the proprietary Ion Matrix technology material provides the ultimate defense against drops, dings, and scratches, but it also protects your eyes from blue light, which can contribute to digital eye strain by blocking harmful wavelengths of light before they leave your screen.

Best of all, it does all this while still maintaining the superior color performance of your device display.

See it now: InvisibleShield Glass+ VisionGuard

5 of 19 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Anker USB-C In-Car Charger

Once you get used to the speed of USB-C charging, you'll want it everywhere. That will mean not only needing more USB-C-to-Lightning cables, but also chargers. And one place you'll need one is the car.

Not only can this $30 charger be used to charge USB-C smartphones, but it will also charge bigger devices, such as the newer MacBooks.

See it now: Anker USB C Car Charger

Anker Nebula Capsule
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Anker Nebula Capsule

The $350 Anker Nebula Capsule is a 854x480 pixel projector with a built-in 5W speaker and 5200mAh battery that allows you to wirelessly project movies onto nearby walls and ceilings. But despite this power, the Nebula Capsule is no bigger than a can of soda!

The Anker Nebula Capsule has enough battery life to play video for 4 hours, and act as a Bluetooth speaker for 30 hours.

Inside the Nebula Capsule is a quad core A7 processor, Adreno 304, 1GB DDR3 RAM, and 8GB of eMMC storage, and a full Android 7.1 operating system.

See it now: Anker Nebula Capsule

Crazybaby Air 1S wireless earbuds
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Crazybaby Air 1S wireless earbuds

I'm always on the lookout for wireless rechargeable earbuds that are good for sweaty activities, so when I was given the chance to test out the $160 Crazybaby Air 1S wireless earbuds, I jumped at it.

There's a lot to like about the Air 1S earbuds. They're lightweight, they fit well, they're water and sweat proof (yes, I've tested this, extensively), they have a nice ergonomic design and fit well in the ear, they have great sound, an awesome 12-hour battery life, and recharge fast using the case (a 5-minute recharge takes them from zero to 20 percent charge), and they have an easy-to-use one-button control.

See it now: Crazybaby Air 1S wireless earbuds

Apple USB-C fast-charge cable
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Apple USB-C fast-charge cable

No one has the time to wait ages for an iPhone to charge up using a regular USB charger. You need to switch to USB-C to get a zero to 50-percent charge in 30 minutes.

As much as I hate paying $19 for a cable -- $35 if I wanted to supersize up to the 2m version, Apple's USB-C-to-Lightning fast charge cable really is the best way to charge up a new iPhone.

Note: There are no third-party USB-C-to-Lightning cables that support fast charge (no matter what the Amazon or eBay listing says).

See it now: Apple's USB-C-to-Lightning

Anker PowerPort+ 5 Ports USB-C
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Anker PowerPort+ 5 Ports USB-C

To go along with Apple USB-C-to-Lightning cable, you need a charger capable of supporting Power Delivery.

If you have a lot of devices to charge, you need a charger with plenty of outputs, and the $30 Anker PowerPort+ 5 is the perfect charger.

Not only does it have four 2.4A USB-A ports, but also a single USB-C Power Delivery port that's capable of charging the newer USB-C-equipped MacBooks and MacBook Pros, as well as the new iPhones (with a compatible USB-C-to-Lightning cable).

See it now: Anker PowerPort+ 5

10 of 19 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Unicorn Beetle Pro Rugged Case

There's no shortage of cases out there for the new line of iPhones, but I keep coming back to the one that works for me.

Over the years I've tried a lot of iPhone cases and settled on the $28 Unicorn Beetle Pro. It's tough and stylish, and offers a high level of protection against both drops and the elements.

It also adds much-needed grip to the iPhone, which is about as grippy as a wet bar of soap.

See it now: Unicorn Beetle Pro

Mio MiVue 766 WIFI dash cam
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Mio MiVue 766 WIFI dash cam

I keep getting asked for recommendations for dash cams that connect to a smartphone app.

I've tested a lot, and they can be a mixed bunch. Some are great except in low light, while others offer great picture quality under all light conditions, they have some other weakness.

One of the best I've tested lately is the £129 Mio MiVue 766 WIFI dash cam. It's small, fully-featured, connects to an app on your iPhone, and can even stream direct to Facebook (if you want to do that).

The MiVue records at a crystal clear HD 1920 x 1080p at 30fps, and can take a 128GB microSD card, so you won't be limited on storage.

I also like the optional MiVue Manager software for PC and Mac, which allows the GPS route to be overlayed on Google Maps, and there's also a really cool Direction Analyzer feature that driving direction and displays 3-axis G-forces in sync with the recorded video.

See it now: Mio MiVue 766 WIFI dash cam

Lifeprint 3x4.5 Hyperphoto Printer
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Lifeprint 3x4.5 Hyperphoto Printer

The photos that your iPhone XS can take are simply amazing, so much so that it's a shame that they are confined to being displayed on a screen -- even if it is the best possible OLED display you can get on a smartphone.

Why not take your photos and output them onto paper using the $150 Lifeprint 3 x 4.5-inch Hyperphoto portable instant printer?

The process is simplicity itself: Beam the photo wirelessly to the printer via Bluetooth, then the printer prints it out on 3 x 4.5-inch Hyperphoto paper, and you have a hardcopy of your photo to share with friends and family.

See it now: Lifeprint 3 x 4.5-inch Hyperphoto

FLIR ONE Pro thermal camera
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FLIR ONE Pro thermal camera

The FLIR ONE Pro-Series camera offers 4x the native resolution of the FLIR ONE Pro LT, for sharper image clarity, while also being able to measure temperatures more than three ties higher than any $399 FLIR ONE model -- up to 400 degree C (752 degree F).

When I got my first thermal camera I thought that is was going to be little more than a gimmick. But having used one for a while, I quickly discovered a variety of practical uses for it, and found out that being able to see in infrared was a pretty neat "superpower." Why? Because when it comes to electrical repairs, excess heat means that there's something wrong, and this camera allows me to see this overloading directly.

I've used my thermal camera to spot bad connections and overheating components, and it's a great tool for spotting heat buildup in PCs. It's also great around the home for a myriad of things, from spotting heat escape points, bad bearings and binding brakes on vehicles, to finding airlocks in the heating system.

See it now: FLIR ONE Pro-Series

Omnicharge Omni 20 USB-C
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Omnicharge Omni 20 USB-C

Without a doubt the $199 Omni 20 USB-C is the best, most fully-featured power bank that I've every used. Think of this not as a power bank, but a $200 computer-controlled USB charging station.

If you have a USB-C-to-Lightning cable, you can use this to fast-charge your iPhone (and it will give you all sorts of specs while it's doing it).

Tech specs:

  • - 2 x USB-C output: 60W single/100W total
  • - 2 x USB-A output: 15W single/30W total
  • - USB C hub feature to allow file transfer and charging
  • - USB C input: 45W total
  • - Full recharge time: 3 hours
  • - OLED display
  • - 12-layers of electrical protection
  • - 20,100 mAh capacity

See it now: Omni 20 USB-C

15 of 19 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Apple Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Adapter

Apple no longer ships this dongle with new iPhones, so if you're still using wired headphones, then you'll need this dongle (unless you have one from your previous iPhone).

But it's a must-have for anyone who still prefers wired headphones.

That'll be $9.

See it now: Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter

16 of 19 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Moshi IonSlim 10K USB-C Portable Battery

What's the point in investing in a new slim and sleek iPhone if you need to carry around a bulky power bank to keep it going?

The $99 IonSlim10K USB-C Portable Battery has two outputs -- USB-A and USB-C that supports Power Delivery -- and a 10,300mAh battery capacity that can also be used to recharge your USB-C MacBook.

See it now: IonSlim10K USB-C Portable Battery

17 of 19 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Jabra Elite 65t

It would be a no-brainer to suggest that you pair your new iPhone XS or XS Max with a pair of Apple AirPods, but to be honest they are not my favorite earbuds.

I've tried a lot of earbud-type headphones, and nothing comes close to the comfort, quality, and performance of the $167 Jabra Elite 65t. They're great for both music and making and receiving calls, feature wind noise cancellation, and the iOS app allows for advanced features, such as allowing ambient sounds to be mixed with the audio from the iPhone.

The buds have a five-hour battery life, with the recharging case offering two more recharges. And recharging is fast, with the buds getting 1.5 hours of battery life with only a 15-minute recharge.

See it now: Jabra Elite 65t

18 of 19 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Totallee Ultra thin iPhone Case

If you want a minimalist case for your new iPhone, take a look at the ultra-thin, branding-free cases from Totallee.

Minimalist design for sure, but still offering subtle protection that will keep your iPhone protected from bumps and scratches for $29.

See it now: Totallee

19 of 19 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick

Where you too cheap to go for an iPhone with more than the base level of storage capacity? Don't worry, all is not lost!

While I like the "flash drive" type accessories that plug into the Lightning port, I find the SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick to be far easier and less hassle to use. This is a flash drive -- with capacities ranging from 16GB ($16) to 256GB ($72) -- that has built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and battery, allowing you to access the data when you're out and about.

The drive can be recharged using a USB-A port, and can stream to three devices simultaneously.

See it now: SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick

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