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Best of the best iPhone accessories (July edition)

There's what feels like an infinite amount of iPhone accessories on the market. Some are good. Some are OK. Many are just awful. But a select few are amazing. Here are the iPhone accessories that I rely on daily. There's also a special offer here for Hardware 2.0 readers.

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Topic: iPhone
RAVPower Qi Wireless Charging Pad (no AC adapter included)
1 of 10 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

RAVPower Qi Wireless Charging Pad (no AC adapter included)

If you want to buy a wireless charging pad but don't want to buy another AC adapter because you have plenty of them, then here's a fantastic deal for you!

The RAVPower Qi Wireless Charging Pad is a 5W wireless charging pad that's compatible with any device that supports the Qi charging protocol (so everything from the latest iPhones, Samsung Galaxy handsets, Google Nexus devices, and many others).

Note that this is a 5W charging pad, so it does not support fast charging. That said, it can fully recharge a modern smartphone such as the iPhone X or iPhone 8 or the Samsung Galaxy S9 in under 4 hours.

This charging pad is normally priced at $11.99, but between now and 07/15/2018 11:59 PM PDT if you use the coupon code ZDRAVPC083 at the Amazon checkout you can grab it for only $8.49.

Soundcore Flare
2 of 10 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Soundcore Flare

I've tested many portable Bluetooth speakers, and none come close to the room-filling, immersive power of the Soundcore Flare. In fact, I continue to the blown away by just how amazing this speaker - no bigger than a soda cup - can output.

Not only is it powerful, but the built-in battery is good for up to 12 hours, and the case is rated to IPX7, which means that it is totally waterproof, making it ideal for pool parties.

Oh, and it also features a halo of colored LEDs around the base which can put on a crazy pulse and beat driven light show for you!

And you get all this for only $59.

Omnicharge Omni 20 USB-C
3 of 10 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Omnicharge Omni 20 USB-C

Without a doubt the 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.

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
Jabra Elite 65t
4 of 10 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Jabra Elite 65t

I've tried a lot of earbud-type headphones, and nothing comes close to the comfort, quality, and performance of the 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.

SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick
5 of 10 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick

I'm always too cheap to buy an iPhone with the maximum capacity, so I end up relying on external storage to pick up the shortfall.

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 to 256GB - 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.

Anker PowerPort+ 5 Ports USB-C
6 of 10 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Anker PowerPort+ 5 Ports USB-C

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

Not only does it have four 2.4A USB-A ports and 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).

Apple USB-C fast-charge cable
7 of 10 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Apple USB-C fast-charge cable

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

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

Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad
8 of 10 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad

The 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).

Apple Watch 3
9 of 10 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Apple Watch 3

I've been more than a little skeptical of the Apple Watch, but I made the leap once the third-generation device was released and I don't regret it.

Not only is it a great way to deal with the odd message or email without getting caught up on the iPhone or Mac, it's also a handy tool for interacting with Siri, and also the best fitness tracker I've ever used.

There's a lot that I don't like about the Apple Watch, but overall the positives outweigh the negatives.

I have my Apple Watch housed inside a Caseology Vault case for added durability (a good case).

Supcase Unicorn Beetle Pro
10 of 10 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Supcase Unicorn Beetle Pro

I've tried a lot of iPhone cases, and settled on the Unicorn Beetle Pro. It's tough and stylish, and offered 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.

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