Tech

The Best Smartphone Add-Ons & Upgrades

These days, Americans are on their smartphones more than ever. In fact, about 30% of American adults say they are “almost constantly online,”1 and average smartphone usage tops out at almost 3.5 hours per day.2 All that screen time means it’s important to get the most out of our devices, especially while we rely on them to stay connected in a disconnected world. With the newest tech innovations and smartphone add-ons, you can keep everyone active, involved and entertained, whether you’re having a fun-filled evening inside playing video games or a day out in the yard, exploring an augmented reality world with the kids.

Stream from your phone to your TV

For lots of us, “entertainment” means watching – or, sometimes, binge-watching – our favorite shows. We also want the freedom to change up how we watch, switching from our phone screens to our TV screens seamlessly. If you have a subscription to a video streaming service, it’s easy to set up your phone to stream content to your TV. Depending on your devices, you may be able to use screen mirroring, casting services like Google Chromecast, or an adapter cable.

Augment your reality

Like many augmented reality apps, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is changing the game for family entertainment. It allows you to use your phone to cast spells and fight against mythical beasts, whether you’re on a walk around the neighborhood or at your kitchen table. You can even collect ingredients to make potions that can improve your gameplay.

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is one of the most popular new AR apps, but there are a ton of other fun ones out there that don’t require any hardware or phone add-ons. Try Spectrec, where you hunt and capture ghosts to channel your inner Ghostbuster, or Quiver, an app that brings your child’s coloring book to life.

Level up with VR Gaming

If augmented reality isn’t immersive enough for you, it may be time to get your feet wet with virtual reality. The newest VR headsets are compatible with Android smartphones and allow you to experience games and apps in 360 degrees. VR gaming is only going to get more popular as a phone add-on, so the next hot game or device for kids of all ages may well require a headset.

Track your sleep and activity

If you keep your phone close by when you go to sleep, why not make it work for you during the night? Sleep tracking apps can help ensure you’re getting enough rest by monitoring your body movements to assess whether you’re asleep or not. Then, they present you with data about your sleep patterns that can help you set goals to achieve a more restful night. Some sleep trackers even track the phases of your sleep and time your alarm to wake you up during a period when you’re sleeping less deeply.

Fitness and activity trackers are another great way your phone can help you stay on top of your health right now. You can use them to monitor health data like the number of steps you take per day and your daily caloric intake. When paired with wearable fitness accessories, you can track even more, including heart rate, menstrual cycle – even the decibel level where you are.

Learn new skills and languages

Exercise is especially important at times like these – and not just physical exercise. Challenging your mind by trying new things helps stave off boredom and improves your mood. Consider what skills you’d like to cultivate and try downloading an app to help you master it. Want to pick up the guitar? Brush up on your Spanish? Start cooking? Learn to code? You name it – there’s an app for that.

Now is the perfect time to take your smartphone entertainment game to the next level. Get equipped with all the latest smartphones, tablets and tech accessories with U.S. Cellular.

Source:

  1. “About Three-in-Ten U.S. Adults Say They Are ‘Almost Constantly’ Online.” Pew Research Center. Pew Research Center, July 25, 2019. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/07/25/americans-going-online-almost-constantly/.
  2. Molla, Rani. “Tech Companies Tried to Help Us Spend Less Time on Our Phones. It Didn’t Work.” Vox. Vox, January 6, 2020. https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/1/6/21048116/tech-companies-time-well-spent-mobile-phone-usage-data.