These days, whether traveling or not, most people don’t leave the house without their Smartphones. But with thousands of new Smartphone accessories ranging from apps, to cases and holders, to more gimmicky products out on the market, we went to the Consumer Electronics show in New York and sorted through some of the newest. Here are five standouts (also reasonably priced) you may want to consider this summer.
Saving Face with Smartphone Accessories: zNitro
For anyone who has ever cracked their Smartphone glass, this accessory is for you. zNitro touts its “Nitro Glass”, a tempered glass, screen protector that’s made to, “handle anything you throw at it,” according to its marketers.
It’s glass, so there is no distortion or finger drag, and it installs easily over your phone. It comes in different sizes for the many different phones on the market.
I witnessed with my own eyes as they dropped a hard metal ball like the head of a hammer into it while it was protecting a working phone. There was no cracking or breaking of the glass or the phone. That said, if you forget it’s glass and try to bend it when it’s not physically covering the phone, it will bend, but may also potentially crack from the bending.
The company prides itself on eco-friendly, minimal packaging that, “…leaves a smaller carbon footprint than virtually any company in the consumer electronics industry.” Varying models come in clear, silver, gold or matte black trim, and there’s even a privacy glass model. Starting at $39.99
For Running or Travel: The Armpocket
Described by its marketers as the “ultimate armband,” this small pouch wraps around your arm or your wrist and is made with a woven, moisture wicking patented memory foam with a “no-slip design.” The hand-stitched product is eco-friendly, and though previously it’s been billed as an athletic and running armband, this one is great for travel as well.
A difference between the Armpocket and other armbands: It fits both a Smartphone (including the largest ones on the market like the iPhone6 and GalaxyS6) as well as their case, and still has room for a passport, 5-10 credit cards and keys. It weighs approximately 5 ounces empty. Strategically sewn zippers allow you to easily access your phone. A new limited edition is out for the summer called the “Arctic Blue.” Starting at $29.95.
Hands Free: FlyGrip
This simple Smartphone accessory, made in New York, allows you to grip and use any size phone that’s on the market with just one hand. Attaching easily to the back of your phone case, the special ergonomic grip allows you to slip your ring and middle finger through it and “hold the phone” without actually hanging on to it, and little fear of dropping it.
Calling it the, “one-handed Smartphone solution,” FlyGrip designer and founder Michael Karmatz says, “It was really created out of necessity. It’s too hard to use touch screen phones with one hand.” It comes in an array of fun patterns and the company can also do custom corporate designs depending on how big of an order is placed. The same area that you put your fingers through also folds out to a mini stand that allows your phone to remain upright in both horizontal and vertical directions with no one holding it at all. Retailing at $29.95.
Charge It: PhoneSuit
While not a particularly flashy product compared to some others on the market, PhoneSuit is offering its latest in integrated charging with its Journey Charger, an all-in-one wall charger and battery pack with integrated cables and lightning connector. It works with Apple, Samsung and other products, and allows for a 200% charge.
It has a sleek, clean feel, offers 3500mAh and a micro USB if you’re traveling abroad. It can fully charge an iPhone 6 Plus in about two hours and is small enough to slip into a pocket. It’s available beginning in July. Retailing for $79.
The Future Now: 1U App
Hoyos Labs has created the 1U app (One You), which uses technology through your Smartphone that lets users access secure sites by recognizing a user’s biometrics (a face scan for instance) instead of having to input a password. These biometrics essentially replace your login “password”, so that you no longer have to remember passwords, user names, pins, or ID’s for various apps or websites.
If you’re like me, this is a welcome concept! Users download the app, enter the passwords for the apps or websites they visit into 1U, and then the biometrics take over. The company also highlights security as a priority, and says customers’ information is not stored on company servers, but rather everything is stored on the customer’s mobile devices, giving the customer control. Watching this in action, I couldn’t help but think about the scene from “Terminator 2,” when John Connor is scanned. Wow, the future really is here for the masses.