Ten cool tablet accessories, most under $10

So you’ve got a shiny new tablet for work and play. These ten accessories are cheap and will complement the new gadget no matter which brand.
By James Kendrick on
1 of 12 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Tablets are all the rage of both consumers and enterprise workers. They do many things well and owners quickly come to depend on them.

Like all shiny new things, tablets can be better with the right accessories to increase their benefit and enjoyment. That's especially true if the accessory is gentle on the wallet.

These ten accessories meet both the useful and cheap criteria. When used with any tablet, they add benefit to the owner in different ways.

Many of the accessories are from AmazonBasics. This is a store within a store, the huge Amazon online retail operation. Amazon has some products of good quality made to order, and sells them at good prices. The value is so great we searched through the store to find good accessories worth sharing.

Take a look at the ten tablet accessories in this collection, and odds are you'll find at least one you can use. It won't cost you much to give it a try, anyway.

There is a bonus eleventh accessory that doesn't quite meet the cheap criteria. It's proven to be such a good bit of kit it's included here for those who don't believe price is everything.

See also:

Five best tablets of all time

Five best iPad Air keyboards (hands on): April 2014

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9: Two weeks in and replacing the iPad Air (almost)

Why you should buy a Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 (review)

Kindle Fire HDX: Smooth operation, great screen (hands on)

Belkin QODE Keyboard Case for Kindle Fire HDX 8.9: Poor design at a price

Review: Poetic Keybook Case, take the Kindle Fire HDX to work

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iPad Air and Netbook bag

A new tablet is a good excuse for getting a new bag to carry it around. This simple but well designed bag from AmazonBasics is a good fit.

Latest review

The bag will fit any tablet or laptop up to 10 inches without wasting any room. It's constructed out of water-resistant neoprene with sturdy zippers. The two handles are thick and comfortable while lugging this little bag around town.

It's the perfect size for throwing into a backpack or briefcase, for protection for those not wanting to hand-carry a small bag like this. You can still grab it when heading out of the cubicle for lunch or a meeting.

The inside of the bag is one big, orange pocket for the tablet. Outside, there is one pocket perfectly sized for a phone or small accessories.

The AmazonBasics iPad Air and Notebook bag is only $9.49 from the retailers. It has proven to be a very useful accessory for tablets.

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Daffodil Smartphone and Tablet Stand

Many tablet cases have an integrated stand for propping it up when it makes sense. Those who prefer keeping their tablet as thin and light as possible don't use a case, and thus lose the stand.

This ingenious little stand folds up as small as possible, yet forms a universal stand when opened. It is sturdy enough to support the tablet in either portrait or landscape orientations, making it very versatile.

It easily supports the iPad Air in portrait, so it should work for many tablets.

It is currently available from Amazon for $4.45.

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Universal Travel Case

Frequent travellers should use a cable stash when on business trips to carry chargers, cables, and other small items. They provide a good way to keep essential support gear for gadgets, and are easily stashed in a corner of a carryon bag.

This case is a good solution as it offers several pockets for keeping the suuport gear organized. It is well constructed and can fit a surprising amount of stuff in such a small package.

The case is available from Amazon for $10.49.

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6-foot USB to microUSB cable

Many tablets come with a USB to microUSB charging cable that is frustrating to use given its short length. 

This six-foot cable eliminates that frustration. It's constructed of quality materials and the length frees you to set the tablet up where you prefer. This is particularly useful in some hotel rooms, given their shortage of outlets.

The cable is available from Amazon for $5.49.

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Executive Stylus

Some tablet owners like to take handwritten notes in meetings, and that requires a stylus. Some of those look big and clunky, but not this "executive" stylus. It has the sleek metal look of a traditional pen, with the capacitive tip on the bottom end.

You can carry it in your pocket like any pen, with no one the wiser until you pull it out and start jotting notes on your tablet.

It will work with virtually any touch tablet and is $6.99 from Amazon.

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Pleated Sleeve

Those wanting a thin sleeve for the tablet instead of a bag need look no further than this model. It is built for any iPad so should work for any tablet of that size or smaller.

Its design will protect your tablet when you're carrying it around the office or on the street. There is a thin pocket on the outside for small items, such as cables.

The sleeve is available from Amazon for $26.76.

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TaoTronics Mini Wireless keyboard

The debate about tablets and keyboards for work will never be resolved as everyone's needs are different. Those wanting a portable keyboard for occasional use should check out this one.

It has styling similar to the wireless keyboard from Apple but is only $13.99 from Amazon.

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Wall Charger with USB

There are plenty of USB chargers out there, but when size and weight are a premium this one can’t be beat. Small enough to fit in a pocket, it weighs only two ounces; it also plugs right in the wall.

The prongs fold into the tiny unit for transport. It provides 2.1 Amps so should be able to handle most small gadgets, including tablets.

It is $8.99 from Amazon.

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Case Star Black Lordly Pen and Stylus

This is a stylus and traditional pen combined. It features a stylish black design, is a ballpoint pen, but has a touch tablet stylus on the cap so you're covered for digital writing, too.

This pen/stylus is $3.77 at Amazon.

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Cellet Super Fast Universal USB Car Charger

Those who spend a lot of work time in the car know the value of a car charger for phones and tablets. This one is special as it has two USB ports that each deliver 2.1 amps. It will charge two tablets as quickly as possible.

Its circuitry prevents overcharging any device and shuts off when it senses the gadget is packing a full charge.

You’ll need to supply your own USB charging cables. The charger is available for $19.99 at Amazon.

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Pendulumic S1 Stance Headphones

Those lucky enough to have permission to use headphones at work, or those with long commutes on public transport, know the value of good headphones to use with a tablet or phone.

Wireless headphones have fewer frustrations than the wired variety but often have poorer audio reproduction. These wireless headphones from Pendulumic are the exception, with studio-quality audio output.

We have been using these headphones for weeks and they sound stunning. The audio is so crisp and clear, you can hear every single instrument that's playing, even when listening to heavy metal music. A friend who edits audio professionally has told us the Pendulumics are studio quality.

The S1 Stance headphones connect over Bluetooth, are both Android and iPad tested, and can also be plugged in with the included cable. This cable has media player controls, which also used for receiving phone calls when paired with a phone, and has an integrated microphone. The physical volume knob on the right ear cup makes this one of the easiest headphones to use that we've tested.

The headphones charge via microUSB, and last over 18 hours of constant playback per charge. There are two AAA batteries in one of the cups that can be turned on when the internal battery is empty. This gives the S1 Stance a playback time of 30 hours.

The S1 Stance is very light and can be worn comfortably for hours due to the soft leather used on the ear cups and the adjustable headband.

The $199 price tag from Pendulumic is not cheap, but for the best headphone audio the author has experienced, it's not that bad.

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