2016 Gift Guide: Best Accessories for iPhone and iPad
iPhones and iPads were truly made for accessories since they’re really accessories themselves. And as accessories, they define our status like no other gadget in recent memory. Here’s the list of some of our favorite — and functional — accessories for iPhone and iPad that will enhance the experience of using these fantastic devices and make the iPhone/iPad user on your holiday wish list, like, totally geek out.
Buy This Gift for Someone Who Misses Their Laptop
The Belkin QODE Ultimate Keyboard Case is a super light (14 oz.) aluminum keyboard case that fits right at home with the Apple aesthetic. Molded from aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, this case has won plaudits for its responsive keyboard and, perhaps even more importantly, it’s comfortable handheld mode where the keyboard lies flat. It’s available for the iPad Air and the Air 2.
MSRP: $129 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: $40
- Pros: Laptop-like keyboard. Handheld mode is best among keyboard cases. Very light, very thin. Suitably Apple, if you’re into that sort of thing.
- Cons: Slightly expensive, although you can find good deals online for the older generation model. Keyboard cases may not be for everyone—a tablet is still a tablet, and not a laptop.
Buy This Gift for Someone That’s Obsessed with Selfies
Providing soft, ambient illumination from 40 different points of diffused light, the Nova wireless flash adds natural light to photos rather than the unnatural brightness of the LED flash in the phone. Reviews of the device praise the warm tones in photos, no more red-eye in photos and simple Bluetooth pairing with new devices.
MSRP: $59 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: n/a
- Pros: Much better lighting option than Apple’s LED, small enough to fit in your wallet, pairs wirelessly over Bluetooth, automatically triggers when a photo is taken.
- Cons: Requires a second hand to hold it, no battery indicator on device, requires use of Nova app to take photos.
Buy This Gift for Someone Who Loves Books
Twelve South makes unique accessories exclusively for Apple products, and they’re best known for their BookBook cases which resemble old leatherbound hardcover books. In fact, the BookBook is made from genuine leather but is very light (just 11 ounces for the full-size iPad model). The BookBook is available for the iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4 and iPhone 5/5s, 6/6s, 6 Plus / 6S Plus.
MSRP: $60 to $80 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: n/a
- Pros: Stylish conversation starter. Features reasonably good impact and crush protection.
- Cons: Expensive. Not a particularly svelte case or super practical.
Buy This Gift for Someone That Loses Their Charging Cable
No matter how hard you try, those white Apple charging cables always seem to get lost from time to time. Enter the Nomadkey Lightning To USB device, a charging cable that slips onto your keychain. Compatible with any Apple device that has a Lightning connector, it’s great when you need charging on the go.
MSRP: $25 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: n/a
- Pros: Keychain attachment is very convenient. Construction is solid.
- Cons: More expensive solution than a traditional charging cable.
Buy This Gift For Someone Who Has Better Musical Taste Than You
The Bluetooth speaker is all the rage these days, and for good reason. You don’t need to worry about whether your latest iPhone/iPad fits into a special dock, and it’s not subject to odd dropouts like the oft-criticized, though higher-fidelity, AirPlay speakers. The Logitech UE Mini Boombox (pictured below) and its big brother the UE Boombox have received praise for their quality sound and relatively better price compared to the market leader Jambox.
MSRP: $99 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: $34
- Pros: Comparatively inexpensive. Low distortion sound. Can fill a room. Bluetooth works with all models of iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
- Cons: Not as aesthetically pleasing as some other Bluetooth speakers, like the Jambox.
Buy This Gift for the Constant Commuter
Compatible with all the new iPhones (as well as a variety of Samsung, LG & Google phones), the iOttie One Touch Car Mount Holder is a device that keeps your hands on the steering wheel while your iPhone is mounted to the windshield. Ideal for GPS directions, the tool can be mounted on the windshield or the dashboard.
MSRP: $25 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: $15
- Pros: Telescopic arm adds 2 inch reach, releases the phone with just a push of a finger.
- Cons: May damage dashboard if mounted improperly. Can tend to bounce when fully extended.
Buy This Gift for the Avid Shutterbug
The cameras on the iPhone and iPads keep getting better with each iteration, but their prime lenses (fixed lenses) can be constrictive for the avid photographer. Enter the olloclip 4-in-1 Lens System for the iPhone 6 / 6S as well as the 6 Plus / 6S Plus. The olloclip gives you two macro lens (10x & 15x multiplier), a fisheye lens and wide-angle lens.
MSRP: $108 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: n/a
- Pros: High-quality optics. Adds a completely new dimension to iPhone photography.
- Cons: Covers up the flash. Will not work with cases.
Buy This Gift for the World Traveler
The Bose QuietComfort 25 Noise Cancelling Headphones is the revision of the Bose Quiet Comfort 3 headphones. Garnering stellar Amazon reviews, the noise canceling really works and the cans are comfortable. Put them on during a cross-country flight and you’ll find out why these haven’t gone out of style.
MSRP: $299 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: $244
- Pros: Noise-canceling that actually works. Good for music or for quiet time. Includes detachable inline mic/remote for iPhone/iPod controls. Includes carry case and airline adapter.
- Cons: Super pricey, but you knew that. (It’s Bose.)
Buy This for the Coffee Shop Denizen
The ZeroChroma Vario Case is what happens when an iPhone/iPad case and iPhone/iPad stand marry and have kids. In this case, the ZeroChroma gets the best attributes of each parent. The case retains the slimness of a standard TPU case but includes a 360° 11-angle theater stand with landscape and portrait modes. Perfect for skimming Facebook or Pinterest while holding a cup of coffee in one hand and a scone in the other.
MSRP: $40 to $55 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: n/a
- Pros: Gets the best parts of a case and a stand right. Well-built. Available for most iPhones and iPads.
- Cons: Not the most protective option available for a case. There are cheaper, simpler cases, but that’s not what this is.
Get This Gift for Cool Kids Who Won’t Wear Bose Headphones
The Audio-Technica ATH-ANC33iS QuietPoint Active Noise-Canceling In-Ear Headphones are an example of the old adage, “if ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The 2013 follow-up to the beloved 2011 ATH-ANC23 headphones has been praised for its sound quality, reasonable price point and noise suppression without changing too much of a good thing. If you’re fine with the older model, you can also get a much better deal.
MSRP: $80 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: n/a
- Pros: Relatively good price for these type of headphones. Good noise-canceling system. Works well with noise-canceling off. Uses a single standard AAA battery.
- Cons: You have to replace that battery. The noise canceling box is slightly heavy / bulky.
Buy This Gift for Your Favorite Cyclist
Perfect for keeping your iPhone locked in place while riding your bike, the Annex Quad Lock Bike Mount Kit comes with the mounting hardware for the bike as well as the case used for locking the iPhone to the mount itself.
MSRP: $79 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: n/a
- Pros: Great for using fitness apps while riding. Lets user check text messages, answer phone calls while riding
- Cons: Expensive solution for cyclists.