10 useful smartphone gadgets — from microscopes to haptic sneakers

From attachable camera lenses to gamepad controllers, there is a myriad of strange and useful gadgets available to enhance your smartphone experience.

Every year smartphone become sleeker and more powerful, with better processors, cameras, charging, and battery life.

However, there are very few truly unique features to choose from between brands. Sometimes it is even difficult to distinguish between smartphone models.

Fortunately, the third-party accessory market is thriving with interesting and weird gadgets which are capable of building upon your phone’s features and components and extending their capabilities further.

We’ve assembled 10 of the most unconventional and handy devices that can make using your smartphone more enjoyable.


Ava Automated Videoing Assistant

If you like to shoot videos in which you are present but don’t have a dedicated cameraman, then the Ava automated videoing assistant is the solution for you.

This tracking robot holds and connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and offers a dedicated app with AI tracking that can follow people, faces, animals, and objects as they move, ensuring the subject never goes out of shot.

There is also a manual mode that allows for remote controlled shooting of panoramas, time-lapse videos, among others.

An optional EyeSite module adds support for tracking in popular video calling and recording apps like Zoom, WhatsApp, FaceTime, Instagram, and TikTok.


NexDock 360

In simple terms, the Nexdock Touch is a laptop shell with a functional full HD touch display, keyboard, and touchpad.

With no built-in CPU, memory, or OS of its own, it is powered by connecting an Android smartphone via a USB-C cable.

Once connected, it provides a Windows-like interface for your Android apps, allowing for easier navigation, resizing of windows, faster multitasking, and streaming videos on a bigger screen.

It also supports connectivity to PCs, laptops, servers, TV sticks, and gaming consoles via an HDMI connection.


Symphonica Trumpet

No need to waste time connecting your smartphone to a Bluetooth speaker if you have the elegant Symphonica Trumpet.

This natural wood horn speaker amplifies your smartphone’s sound by channelling it through a patented acoustic chamber.

Not only does this increase volume, but the company claims it provides higher clarity and better dynamic range with fuller, warmer, and richer tones than your smartphone’s speaker.


Helm Bolt

The dropping of 3.5mm headphone jacks from flagship smartphones may come as an annoyance to many who must now buy converter cables to use older headphones.

Helm Bolt, however, saw an opportunity to turn them into something useful, by adding a high-end Digital to Analogue Converter (DAC) which can improve the audio quality output of your smartphone.

This is the perfect solution for audiophiles who use high-fidelity headphones and streaming services but find that their phone’s built-in conversion is just not up to scratch.


ArcX Sports Ring

This handy smart sports ring comes with a joystick which allows you to control various functions on your smartphone or other connected Bluetooth devices from your finger.

It lets you navigate the interface, answer calls, and control music playback, making it suitable for uninterrupted exercise sessions or even to interact with your phone while driving, so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road or your hands off the steering wheel.

The ArcSports Ring is small, but the company claims that its battery lasts for up to five days with just one hour of charging.


Xenvo Pro Lens kit

The Xenvo Pro Lens kit brings your smartphone camera a little closer to a professional DSLR camera.

A wide lens extends your smartphone camera’s field of view by 45%, while the macro lens lets you magnify shots to take clear close-up photos.

The kit includes these two lenses and an attachment bracket, together with a small attachable LED light to illuminate subjects.


Carson MicroFlip Pocket Microscope

Macro lenses on smartphones are getting better at capturing great close-up shots, but they don’t reveal microscopic details yet.

Biologists and the inquisitive who want to explore the finer details of the world might find great value in a pocket microscope which can be fitted to your smartphone camera.

The Carson MicroFlip Pocket Microscope allows for between 100 and 250 times magnification, and comes with a built-in LED flashlight and UV light, powered by a single AA battery.


Bigsofti

Although smartphone camera night modes have seen great improvements over the last few years, the truth is that nothing works as well as proper lighting to get perfect shots in dark environments.

The Bigsofti is a powerful but compact soft LED light with a clamp for easily attaching to your smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

It offers five brightness and three colour settings to adjust lighting to your preference.


Razer Kishi Gaming Controller

Mobile gaming has become big business, and any serious mobile gamer will know it’s not optimal to be using touch controls while obscuring your display with your thumbs.

The Razer Kishi gamepad for Android and iOS snaps onto the back and sides of your smartphone and is powered and connected by a USB-C or Lightning connector.

The gamepad includes two thumbsticks, a D-pad, triggers, and the typical actions buttons you would find on a gaming console controller.


DropLabs E01 sneakers

The DropLabs EP 01 haptic sneakers are designed to provide a “full body sound experience” with 360-degree vibrations around the foot of the wearer that are synced via Bluetooth to the audio you are listening to on your smartphone or computer.

The company says these shoes transform listening to music, movies, and games into an immersive, live experience.

There is also a low-latency gaming package that includes cables to directly connect to your PC for the shortest possible delay between in-game audio and the haptic feedback on the shoes.

The shoes offers 6 hours of battery life and are charged using a magnetic charger which is connected to their backs.


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10 useful smartphone gadgets — from microscopes to haptic sneakers