Did you get a new iPhone this holiday season? This is the gear that you need for listening to music, charging on the go, keeping it protected, and more.
The hype is real. You might dismiss Apple’s latest iteration of their venerable Airpods as so much overpriced plastic. Except they work just as well as Apple says they do. The active noise cancellation absolutely eliminates outside noise, but you can also easily disable it to have a conversation. Being able to respond to messages hands free (with a little prompting from Siri) is wonderfully convenient. And you won’t be able to find any other earbuds that are easier to setup and use (unless you get another pair of Apple earphones). At $249, they’re not cheap, but they’re worth it.
The easiest way to keep your phone topped off each night is with a wireless charger. This leather and walnut base station from Nomad is the classiest way to do just that. It has three 10W charging coils under the leather charging pad, so you can charge multiple devices at the same time. There’s also USB A and C ports in the back if you have a device that you need to plug in to charge. The real walnut finish is unique and won’t look like every other white or black plastic iPhone charging accessory out there.
If you signed up for Apple Arcade when you got your new iPhone, you might notice that your iPhone is already running hotter than normal. Add a case and that can mean disaster for your phone’s internal hardware. That’s why I’ve been impressed with the performance of Razer’s Arctech line of cases. They come in three flavors. The Slim has button cutouts. The Pro gives full bumper protection. And the Pro THS adds an embossed Razer logo to the Pro. Out of the three, I prefer the Pro for its added bumper (because you always, always drop your phone on its edge). They all have a layer of Thermapene on the back of the case that vents heat via those little holes. It keeps your iPhone cool and protected at the same time. It’s also the only white case that I’ve seen actually stay white after months of use.
My “uncase” of choice, Toast is a real wood applique that sticks directly to your iPhone. Protecting it without adding a lot of extra bulk. Toast is easy to use, makes your iPhone look great, doesn’t interfere with heat dissipation or wireless charging, and is the slimmest way available to protect your device. Toast’s founder told me that he created Toast to provide “cases for people who don’t want cases” and this definitely fits the bill. With Toast, my phone is protected, but isn’t any bulkier. The only issue is that Toast is a one-time solution. Taking it off your phone destroys the applique (but leaves no residue on your iPhone). You can get the iPhone X version on Amazon, but there are considerably more options on the Toast website.
My favorite new iPhone accessory is decidedly low tech. In fact, it’s pretty much no-tech. This Mobile Device Care Kit from Otterbox comes with everything you need to keep your new iPhone looking shiny. Packaged in a fun tin, it contains three screen and port mini-brushes, a micro-fiber cloth, and nine alcohol wipes. There’s been more than a few times that I’ve wished I had something like the mini brushes with me to get dirt out of the lightning port on my iPhone. It’s perfect if you’re like me and just knowing that you can’t properly clean your phone right now is enough to distract you completely from whatever you’re doing. The tin is easy to toss in a bag or your pocket so you can be ready at a moment’s notice.