Useful and affordable accessories for your smartphone

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Do you remember the last time you stepped outside without your smartphone? Well, I don’t! That’s how important smartphones have become for us. It helps us get a lot of work done while on the move. To make the smartphone experience even better, here are a few interesting, innovative and affordable gadgets you can use:

Laser keyboards
There are several Bluetooth or wireless keyboards available for smartphones that are compact and light. But carrying even these may not be feasible all the time. Enter, laser keyboard, which is basically a small laser projector (with other accessories). When wirelessly connected to a smartphone, a laser keyboard creates a virtual projection of a keyboard that can be used as an actual physical one.

How it works is that, the laser projector creates a keyboard projection on the nearest surface (table surface, floor or wall). As you type, a sensor in the projector reads your finger movements and positions. An in-built controller unit deciphers the readings picked up by the sensor and runs specific commands to generate the input you provide. Run on batteries, a laser keyboard can last up to five hours on full charge. Most come with in-built mouse features.

This pocket-size box-like gadget runs with most electronic systems apart from smartphones (both Android and iOS), including tablets, computers, laptops and game consoles. And, it looks great, too!

There are quite a few laser keyboards available in the market. Bluetooth laser keyboards from AGS Corp. cost INR 3000 on Amazon. Artek laser keyboards and Epics laser keyboards are available for INR 3150 and INR 3899, respectively, on Flipkart.

Portable image printers
Imagine how great it would be if you could print your holiday photos as soon as you click them! There are portable, pocket-size printers that can generate coloured prints of images whenever, wherever you want. These devices are controlled via mobile applications and connect to phones via Bluetooth. A special paper is needed for the printer to work. Any image on your smartphone can be printed within minutes.

HP Sprocket

One popular portable printer is HP Sprocket. It is available for INR 7999 onwards on Amazon. The printer uses proprietary ZINK paper, available for INR 539 for a 20-sheet pack. Interestingly, HP Sprocket uses a proprietary crystal technology to print the photos on paper, so ink is not required.

OTG pendrives
Called by many names, OTG (on-the-go) pendrives, hybrid pendrives, dual pendrives and so on, these devices connect directly to the smartphone through the charger port.

Sandisk’s OTG pendrive

These save you the hassle of connecting your phone’s internal memory or external SD card to the computer to transfer files. You can also use these to move the files from one phone to another. Operations are pretty quick and smooth.

OTG pendrives come in various price ranges, depending on memory capacity. Products from various popular brands are available across online and offline shopping platforms. To give you an idea, a 16GB Sandisk OTG pendrive starts at INR 500, while a 32GB one at INR 900.

Gamepads
Playing on a phone often hinders the full gaming experience and, at times, risks the well-being of the screen. As an alternative, videogame enthusiasts can opt for gamepads supported by smartphones. Android users can go for gamepads like Amkette Evo. It comes in two iterations—the basic wired one that costs INR 999, and the wireless Amkette Evo Pro 2 that costs INR 2000.

Amkette Evo wired gamepad

For iPhone users, gamepads are relatively expensive. For example, GameSir G5 supports iOS (alongside other platforms like Windows) and costs about INR 4700.

Zoom lenses
Smartphone cameras are being constantly improved and upgraded. To add extra flavours to their photo-capacities, photography fanatics can get lenses dedicated for smartphones. These lenses multiply the zoom capacity of smartphones and help produce life-like picture quality. These also increase the zoom of the phone by up to 12 times.

A zoom-multiplier lens for smartphone

Locally-produced lenses come for as little as INR 100, while good-quality ones can cost above INR 1000.

Some examples are Life Like Universal lenses, Vellora Universal lenses and Vibex. These are available on online stores including Flipkart, Amazon and Paytm Mall.

Pebble PowerShare-Z
At a glance, the outer cover makes PowerShare-Z look like a child’s toy. But when you take off the caps on both sides, it fits into the charging ports of two phones simultaneously.

Pebble PowerShare-Z

Its functionality is to draw charge from one phone and transfer to the other, provided the phone from which the charge is being drawn is OTG-compatible. The device can provide charge to almost any smartphone including iPhone (an additional iPhone connector is provided in the box).

While some users have found the power transfer process to be slow, others have reported it to be sturdy and easy-to-use. Overall, this small gizmo can be a last-minute saviour by giving your phone a bit more life to make that emergency phone call before it runs out of battery completely. It is priced between INR 300 and INR 400, and is available on Amazon.

There are many more accessories that can be fun, innovative and useful. If you are aware of those that are not mentioned here, do let us know!

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