ARE YOU TREATING your phone as the important and powerful tool it really is? For starters,
have you taken steps to protect it? Are you
unleashing its full musical power, beyond those
earbuds that came with the device? And what do
you have as a backup power solution to keep the
whole thing going?
Accessories—such as protective cases,
Bluetooth speakers, sleek headphones and battery boosters—can help add functionality and
longevity to your beloved (but limited) device.
Now that summer is officially here, consider one
of the following add-ons to help you get more out
of your smartphone or tablet this season.
It’s not a question of if you’re going to drop
your device, but rather when it’s going to happen.
Even if you’re not the klutzy type, we’re talking
about a small device that you take with you everywhere. It’s important to buy a protective case to
safeguard your investment. A case also lets you
personalize your phone or tablet, as there are
different colours, materials and styles to choose
from. Speaking of protection, consider using a
transparent screen protector to protect the
display from scratches.
When you’re enjoying yourself away from home, it’s a real
party-stopper having the gadgets you rely on start to run out
of juice. A backup battery pack
will let you charge up your
smartphone or tablet instead of
having to plug it into an AC outlet. You might still need to bring
a charging cable with you,
though some battery packs have
built-in cables. Generally speaking, the larger the battery, the
more times you can charge your
devices before the battery pack
itself needs recharging.
Whether you’re hanging
outside with friends or want to
add more boom to your room, a
Bluetooth speaker is an ideal
companion to your favourite
mobile device. You can wire-
lessly play music from your
smartphone or tablet without
having to dock it, which means
you can use the phone while it streams audio to
the speaker. Some speakers are water-resistant,
so they’re good at the pool or beach. These speak-
ers come in various colours, and most can last
many hours before they need to be recharged.
Whether you’re a serious audiophile who
demands the very best in music clarity or you
simply want to block out noisy airplane engines,
you might be interested in noise-cancelling
headphones. They look like regular headphones
that go over (or sometimes in) your ears, but they
have integrated microphones that counter
incoming sound waves to cut out ambient noise.
A word of warning: Once you try noise-cancelling
earphones, it’s hard to go back to regular ones.
You may want to get more active, and a wearable activity tracker is a great way to capture data
on any physical exercise. It then wirelessly sends
the information to your nearby smartphone or
tablet. That way, you can glance at your wrist for
a running total of steps taken, stairs climbed,
distance travelled, active minutes, estimated
calories burned and so on. The app also displays
the results with colourful charts and graphs,
sends reminders to move, tracks
nighttime sleep data and much more.
The right service plan
Last, what about your budget?
Phones these days come either
“locked” with a service provider,
or “unlocked,” in which case
you select your own provider.
The unlocked phone price
will be higher than the contracted price, which is discounted by a carrier when
you commit to ;; months
of service, but if you do
the math you’ll pay less
up front by buying the
phone outright. If
you have the budget,
buying the phone
upfront can save you
can choose the carrier and there’s no
penalty for leaving a contract
earlier than ;;
One smart phone
Getting the most from this everyday device
Along with a complete
selection of smartphones
available in the Wireless etc.
kiosk in the warehouses,
Costco offers speakers,
headphones and other
accessories in the warehouses
and online at Costco.ca.
Marc Saltzman, a leading
high-tech reporter, contributes to more than three dozen
appears on radio and TV,
and is the author of more
than ;; books. He’s on Twitter
Saltzman will answer
selected questions in this
column. He regrets that
unpublished questions cannot
be answered individually.
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