Best accessories for your new iPad or iPhone

25th Dec 2011 | 13:00

Best accessories for your new iPad or iPhone

Speaker docks, headphones, cases and more

Best iPad and iPhone accessories

We love the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

The things you can do with them are nothing short of incredible: watch TV; find the nearest fine dining establishment; record and edit HD video… the list goes on.

But these devices can be even better. With the correct accessories, you can push your kit to new limits.

iPhone speaker docks

iPhone speakers

01. Gear4 Angry Birds Speakers
Price: £50 - £70
URL:gear4.com
Works with: Everything
Aux in: Red Bird only

These aren't going to compete with the others here in the sound stakes, but just look at how cool they are! As well as the Red and Black birds, you can get a green Helmet Pig. The Red Bird has a 3.5mm jack, so you can connect other audio sources too.

02. Logitech S715i
Price: £99
URL:logitech.com Works with: iPhone, iPod touch
Aux in: Yes

As well as pumping out the best sound you're going to get for under £100, Logitech's dock has a built-in battery and comes with a carry pouch, making it the perfect portable sound system whether you use it in the house or outdoors.

03. Philips Fidelio DS3020
Price: £49
URL:philips.com
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch
Aux in: Yes

At its modest price point, this diminutive and stylish dock blows the competition clean out of the water with its audio prowess. A great choice for listening to your music in a small room, such as your study, student halls or bedroom.

04. Klipsch iGroove HG
Price: £100
URL: klipsch.com
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch
Aux in: Yes

If you listen to a lot of music that benefits from powerful, thumping bass, look no further than this speaker, which lets you enjoy dance and R&B at its most immersive. And we love its unassuming, swept-back form.

05. Memorex Mini Alarm Clock Radio
Price: £47
URL:memorex.com
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch
Aux in: Yes

This is the perfect size for a bedside table. Dock your iPod touch or iPhone, and wake up to find it fully charged with your own music playing. The audio is quite good considering it's coming from such a small unit, and the 3.5mm aux-in jack means you can connect your iPad for its tunes too.

iPhone speaker docks £100+

Speaker docks 100+

01. B&W Zeppelin Air
Price: £499
URL:bowers-wilkins.co.uk
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch (docked), iPad (AirPlay)
Aux in: Yes

This king of iPod docks may have a royal price tag to match its stature, but it really is worth every penny. It looks great, sounds awesome and - thanks to AirPlay - works wirelessly with your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad too. Your ears will thank you forever for getting one of these.

02. Altec Lansing Octiv 650
Price: £130
URL:alteclansing.com
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch
Aux in: Yes

Don't be fooled by its minimalist, understated exterior - the Octiv 650 is a great value dock that packs in a brace of video outputs so you can enjoy your favourite flicks and programmes from your iPod or iPhone on a regular TV. The on-board EQ helps you tweak the sound output to match what you like to listen to. It's cleverly packaged too.

03. Creative Ziisound D5x and DSx
Price: £280 (D5x), £140 (DSx)
URL:uk.creative.com
Works with: Everything
Aux in: No

Meaty, beaty, big and beefy, this dock and subwoofer combo is the perfect partner for enjoying music and movies on your iPad, iPod touch or iPhone. Because it's completely wireless, you can listen cable-free. This also gives you the option of adding extra speakers - making it ideal for multi-room or even home cinema set-ups.

04. Arcam rCube
Price: £350
URL:arcam.co.uk
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch
Aux in: Yes

Thanks to a £150 price drop, the cleverly packaged rCube is brilliant value for money, combining portability and flexibility with hi-fi quality sound. The best thing about the rCube is that you can daisy chain additional units together cable-free; all you need to add are the optional rWave USB Music Streaming Dongles (£80 each) with Kleer wireless tech.

05. Revo Axis
Price: £200
URL:revo.co.uk
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch
Aux in: Yes

Armed with DAB, DAB+, FM and internet radio, the Revo Axis is so much more than a regular iPhone or iPod dock. The front panel comes complete with an easy-to-use touchscreen display and menu system, which is matched by a great audio performance that belies its size.

iPad docks

iPad docks

01. Altec Lansing Octiv 450
Price: £82
URL:alteclansing.com
Works with: iPad

The Octiv 450 is a great little charging stand for your iPad, and its built-in speakers are perfectly competent for playing back music or TV programmes, say. Its meagre footprint makes it perfect for small desks or kitchen worktops.

02. iHome iD9
Price: £97
URL:ihomeaudio.com
Works with: iPad

The sound from this smart, compact speaker isn't as full as even the slightly cheaper Octiv 450, but it's by no means bad - and it has great stereo separation. It has a great hidden feature, though: a 10-hour built-in battery for tunes on the go.

03. Philips Fidelio DS9010
Price: £349
URL:philips.co.uk
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

Our current favourite speaker system for iPhones, iPads and iPods - bar none. Yes, you can spend more and get even better, more balanced sound, but for our money, the richness and punch of this dock is well worth the significant cash investment.

04. Apple iPad Dock
Price: £25
URL:apple.com/uk
Works with: iPad

Apple's official dock for the iPad doesn't have any speakers in it - it's just a handy place to put your device to charge it and keep it at a useful viewing angle. Yes, it's expensive, but its simple good looks and surprising level of stability means it gets the nod.

05. KitSound iPad Dock
Price: £6
URL:kitsound.co.uk
Works with: iPad

If you don't fancy shelling out 25 quid for the Apple dock, consider this little bargain from KitSound. At only £6, it does pretty much the same thing for a quarter of the price. If you can live with non-Apple accessories, it's a steal.

iPhone and iPad cases and keyboards

iPhone cases

iPhone cases

01. Griffin Survivor
Price: £17
URL:griffintechnology.com
Works with: iPhone 4/4S

Protection doesn't come much more robust than this: the Survivor is designed to meet or even exceed UK and US military standards of toughness! It'll make your iPhone 4/4S resistant to being dropped and offers some protection from sand and rain. There are also versions of this case for the iPod touch and iPad 2.

02. Incipio Feather
Price: £14
URL:myincipio.com
Works with: iPhone 3G/3GS or 4/4S

If you're not keen on adding much weight or bulk to your iPhone, check out these super-slim back covers. Available in shiny or matte finishes, the Feather leaves the connectors and buttons easily accessible, while keeping the back of your iPhone protected from knocks.

03. Knomo iPhone Wallet
Price: £35
URL:knomobags.com
Works with: iPhone 3G/3GS/4/4S

Why carry a phone case and a wallet, when you can combine the two in a stylish leather folder? Pop in a couple of important cards, slide your iPhone into the designated pouch and you're ready to go. You'll need to take your iPhone out of the case to use it, though.

04. Belkin Leather Pull-Tab Sleeve
Price: £11
URL:belkin.com/uk
Works with: iPhone 3G/3GS/4/4S

If you don't want to cover up the sleek lines of your iPhone when you're using it, but need some protection for it in your pocket or bag, this sleeve could be just the ticket. Extremely robust, it's got a gauze window to check the time, and a tab to get at your phone easily.

05. ArtWizz SeeJacket Alu
Price: £20
URL:artwizz.de
Works with: iPhone 4/4S

This aluminium case adds more protection than a plastic shell, without adding much extra weight or bulk. The inner rubber lining grips the phone and protects from bumps.

06. Pro/Tec Executive Leather Case
Price: £7
URL:kondor.co.uk
Works with: iPhone 3G/3GS or 4/4S

A smart leather case doesn't need to cost the Earth: for under a tenner, you get a robust and business-like flip case. Make sure you get the correct one for your model of iPhone.

iPad cases

iPad cases

01. Apple Smart Cover
Price: £35/£59
URL:apple.com/uk
Works with: iPad 2

We couldn't not include this, could we? A cover, automatic screen switch and two-angle stand, it's wonderfully versatile. Yes, it's pricey and doesn't protect the back of the iPad 2, but as a piece of engineering it's still the best iPad cover out there.

02. Belkin Verve Folio Stand
Price: £34
URL:belkin.com/uk
Works with: iPad 2

It looks the part, the built-in magnet switches the screen on and off automatically, and it's relatively thin as far as leather folder cases go. What's more, it offers all-round protection for your iPad and will stand in landscape at a variety of angles. Pure class.

03. Orbyx Leather Folder case
Price: £29
URL:orbyx.com
Works with: iPad

This oozes class with a splash of fun thrown in: the black or brown leather exterior is complemented by a bright green or pink lining inside. It's a good fit, and will prop your iPad at a nice angle for typing or watching videos.

04. Incipio Destroyer
Price: £28
URL:myincipio.com
Works with: iPad

If it's solid protection you're after, solid protection you shall get. This sturdy shell bolts together, holding your iPad in a vice-like grip. It's for the original iPad only - for the iPad 2, have a look at Gumdrop's similar Drop cases.

05. iLuv Flex-Gel Case
Price: £11
URL:i-luv-uk.co.uk
Works with: iPad 2

If you're after a gel back cover for your iPad 2, you've countless options. But this trumps them all, because it hugs your device so tightly where many others are a bit loose around the edges. The matt surface gives you a nice amount of grip, and there are five colours.

06. iLuv Smart Back Cover
Price: £27
URL:i-luv-uk.co.uk
Works with: iPad 2

So you love the Apple Smart Cover, but want to protect the back of your iPad 2 as well - what do you do? Why, you get one of these, of course. It clips on, adding minimal extra thickness to your iPad 2, but excellent all-round protection.

07. Speck HandyShell for iPad 2
Price: £27
URL:speckproducts.com
Works with: iPad 2

As well as a protective shell, this gives you a genius fold-out clip. It's clever because it does so many things: use it to grip your iPad, hang it up, or stand it in portrait or landscape orientations. Or if you're more musically inclined, flip the clip right out and you've got an easy way to hold your virtual guitar!

Headphones

headphones

01. Apple In-Ear Headphones
Price: £45
URL:apple.com/uk
Works with: Everything

You'd be forgiven for thinking, given how lacklustre the white headphones you get with the iPhone and iPod are, that we're mad for suggesting buying Apple's premium set. But actually, they're the best in-ear models we've tried at this price.

02. Sennheiser HD 518
Price: £72
URL:sennheiser.co.uk
Works with: Everything

Because these over-the-ear cans are open-backed, sound doesn't bounce around inside the cup in the same way as with closed-back models - resulting in audio that is as crisp as it is gutsy. What's more, they're really comfortable to wear for hours at a time.

03. Sony MDR-NC200D
Price: £172
URL:sony.co.uk
Works with: Everything

This is the only set in this list that includes active noise cancellation. Powered by a single AAA battery, the smart, three-mode noise cancellation works well on something like a train journey, and the overall sound quality from these headphones is excellent.

04. Etymotic hf3
Price: £100
URL: etymotic.com
Works with: Everything

The super-clean, balanced and neutral sound from these in-ear buds may not be to everyone's taste, but if you like your music as uncoloured as possible, these are stunning. You could also treat yourself to custom moulded earbuds (shown) for an extra £70.

05. Sennheiser PX 210 BT
Price: £92
URL:sennheiser.co.uk
Works with: Everything

It's difficult to fully grasp how liberating it is to have wireless headphones until you've tried them. This superb Bluetooth set - like its fancier brother, the MM 450 Travel - sounds terrific, and works great with everything except the original iPhone and iPod touch.

Input

Input

01. Wacom Bamboo Stylus
Price: £25
URL:wacom.eu
Works with: Everything

Whether it's to write, paint or sketch on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, there are times when you need more precision than your finger can offer. And Wacom's 6mm tip is as small and precise as you can get with the screen on your device. It's beautifully weighted to feel like a pencil in your hand, and though it's costly as far as styluses go, it's the best there is.

02. Just Mobile AluPen
Price: £15
URL:xtand.net
Works with: Everything

This stylus is solid, chunky and easy to hold. It's got a thicker tip than the Wacom Bamboo Stylus, making it perhaps more suitable for artists' use. It's also a good deal cheaper than the Bamboo Stylus, but doesn't feel it when you've got it in-hand.

03. ZAGGfolio for iPad 2
Price: £80
URL:zagg.com
Works with: iPad 2

OK, so this isn't cheap, but it's our favourite keyboard and protective case combo for the iPad 2. A lovely detachable keyboard slots into a thin protective cover and stand.

04. KeySonic KSK- 3201MacBT
Price: £38
URL:keysonic.de
Works with: Everything

Whether it's a quick iMessage or longer piece of prose that you're writing, you'll almost certainly be quicker and more comfortable with an external keyboard than the on-screen one. This one gets the balance between compact size and ease of typing spot on.

05. Logitech Tablet Keyboard
Price: £50
URL:logitech.com
Works with: Everything

If the prospect of typing on a compact keyboard like the KeySonic one doesn't thrill you, take a look at Logitech's excellent desktop-size offering, which comes complete with carry case that doubles as a clever stand for the iPad.

Power

Power

01. Mophie JuicePack Plus
Price: £27
URL:mophie.com
Works with: iPhone 4/4S

Pop your iPhone 4/4S into one of these battery cases and you'll almost double the length of time you can use it for, thanks to the 2000mAh battery. The case helps protect your phone from bumps and scrapes as well, though it also adds some bulk.

02. Proporta USB TurboCharger
Price: £43
URL:proporta.com
Works with: Everything

It may be big and a bit weighty, but the whopping 5000mAh battery in here should fill an iPhone several times over, and will also charge an iPad. A great companion to take with you if you're expecting to be away from power outlets for long periods.

03. Griffin PowerJolt Plus
Price: £13
URL:griffintechnology.com
Works with: Everything

Make sure you never arrive at your destination with a dead iPhone, iPad or iPod touch: plug one of these into your car's lighter socket and your device will charge. It's even got a feed-through socket on it, meaning you can connect more than one thing to a single socket.

04. Kensington PowerLift Back-Up Battery, Dock & Stand
Price: £33
URL:kensington.com
Works with: iPhone, iPod touch

A bit of a multitasking marvel, this one - not only will it stand and sync your iPhone or iPod touch, but it'll charge it on the go thanks to its 1200mAh battery. It's perfect for FaceTime or other calls, so be sure to take it with you whenever you head out the door.

05. Griffin PowerDock Dual
Price: £32
URL:griffintechnology.com
Works with: Everything

You get three things in one, here: an iPhone/iPod charger; an iPad charger; and a tray for your keys or coins. The PowerDock Dual is the ideal place to leave your iOS devices to charge - both when you're at home or at work.

06. iDAPT i4
Price: £37
URL:idaptweb.com
Works with: Everything

If you've got several devices - be they Apple or otherwise - the i4 lets you charge them all at once. By adding different tips to the unit (it comes with one dock connector, you can buy more from the website), you can connect three bits of kit, and the USB port allows you to charge a fourth, too.

Music making

music making

01. Alesis iO Dock
Price: £139
URL:alesis.com
Works with: iPad

There are plenty of excellent accessories to add music input and output to your iPad or iPad 2, but the iO Dock brings them all together in a single package. The XLR and quarter-inch jack inputs mean you can connect a range of equipment, and these are complemented by MIDI inputs and outputs. Add a foot pedal socket, composite video out and two quarter-inch main outputs, and you've got a fantastic package.

02. IK Multimedia iRig
Price: £22
URL:ikmultimedia.com
Works with: Everything

Forget buying lots of costly effects pedals for your guitar: get an iRig and the AmpliTube app for a whole range of different guitar sounds right there on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. It's also a great way to record those guitar licks you've been perfecting straight into GarageBand. An absolutely essential add-on for any guitarist with an iOS device.

03. IK Multimedia iRig MIDI
Price: £46
URL:ikmultimedia.com
Works with: Everything

Where the first iRig is designed for connecting guitars to the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, the MIDI version lets you hook up any MIDI kit - such as keyboards, synthesisers and foot pedals - to your device. What's more, because it uses the CoreMIDI system, it'll work with a whole host of iOS apps.

04. Numark iDJ Live
Price: £80
URL:numark.com
Works with: iPad

Mixing music like a real DJ no longer requires you to shell out hundreds of pounds on a set of decks, a mixer and lots of vinyl. The iDJ Live links to the excellent djay iPad app (£13.99), letting you control your tunes using a tactile pair of decks, with basic mixing controls in between. And while your revellers dance away to the playing track, the included splitter cable means you can cue up the next in your headphones.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

First published in Tap! Issue 10

Liked this?Then check out Top 50 best free iPad apps

Sign up for TechRadar's free Week in Tech newsletter
Get the top stories of the week, plus the most popular reviews delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up at http://www.techradar.com/register

Follow TechRadar on Twitter * Find us on Facebook * Add us on Google+

iPhone accessories Apple
Share this Article
Google+

Apps you might like:

Most Popular

Edition: UK
TopView classic version