“Lightning quick” and “feature rich” are two ways to describe the Samsung Galaxy S4 — and each is perfectly apt. It’s a quality device, comfortable and attractive, yet still packed with a terrific camera, gorgeous display and enough features to go toe-to-toe with any device from Apple or any other competitor in the realm of smartphones. However, no phone can do it all. Making the most of of any smartphone requires a few additional accessories rarely available upon debut, let alone bundled with the device when it initially ships from the orginal manufacturer or retailer.
Some accessories are specifically built from the ground up to take advantage of the Galaxy S4’s Bluetooth 3.0 features and coupled audio drives, others to help stream the beloved Netflix to your television and help boost storage performance beyond the phone’s inherent capabilities. Each piece of tech has something going for it, and though you likely can’t have it all, not looking at the options would be simply denying your phone of its utmost potential … and who wants to do that?
Here are our top picks for the best Samsung Galaxy S4 accessories. If you haven’t already, we also suggest you take a look at our roundup of the best best Samsung Galaxy S4 cases. Quality protection has never been easier to achieve on a budget.
Updated Dec. 20, 2013 by Brandon Widder: This article has been expanded since it was originally published to include new accessories and hardware.
Jawbone Jambox ($130)
Playing music and taking conference calls on a smartphone can be a real drag. Sporting two acoustic drivers, dual passive bass radiators and a built-in microphone, the Jawbone Jambox provides a stylish — and compact — method for cranking the volume to 11, whether you’re meandering about the house or out on the move. The box’s sound can be slightly harsh at times, though it’s still exceptionally balanced considering its size, and the Bluetooth speaker is readily available in more than 100 different color combinations so there’s no need to fret finding a design that fits you. Plus, battery life tops 10 hours and the accompanying Jambox app rolls out new and capable features every so often, ensuring a fine piece of tech will only get better with age.
Samsung 16GB microSD Card ($100)
We hate to break it to you, but a 16GB Galaxy S4 only touts a measly 8GB of user-accessible storage when you factor in the requirements for the 1080p display and other internal components. However, a Samsung microSD is the perfect way to boost storage for all your favorite videos, photos, music and documents with little fanfare. The Class 10 card, available in four differed capacity options, boasts quick transfer speeds and a high level of durability, reveling in an impact-resistant design that’s also capable of being submerged in water for up to 24 hours. Your phone likely won’t survive the plunge, but at least your data will remain safe.
It’s tough to argue with a four-and-half-star rating and more than 1,500 reviews on Amazon. The PowerGen Mobile Juice Pack is an affordable, high-capacity battery charger known to triple the lifespan of Galaxy S4, offering nearly two complete charges at home or on the go. It’s sleek and stylish, featuring four LED indicator lights and measuring just shy of the S4, while touting a built-in flashlight for delivering more than 250 hours of illumination. It’s also easy to utilize, simply requiring the user to connect to the device using their normal charging cable, and is available in an 8400mAh model if you’re in dire need of more remote power.
That 5-inch, 1080p AMOLED display doesn’t protect itself. Although there are plenty of screen protectors on the market to choose from, Spigen’s GLAS.t is one of the best given it’s astonishingly thin and scratch-resistant design. The 0.15mm, tempered piece of glass is shock-resistant and responsive as well, coated with an oleophobic film to prevent fingerprints and comprised of an anti-shatter film that cracks into small, dull fragments when the screen protector suffers significant damage. Like most screen protectors, installation can still be a hassle, but you can beat the hard-coated protection and seamless integration once properly installed. It’s like there’s nothing there.
Google’s one-and-only streaming device isn’t as capable as our other picks for the best TV streaming devices, but $35 is mere chump change in a tech world aloft with 4K televisions and $500 consoles. The gloss-black dongle, Google’s first consumer-friendly foray into the television realm, allows Android users to effortlessly stream everything from YouTube videos to Netflix via their device and coupled Wi-Fi network. The device — roughly the size of a standard USB flash drive — also functions as remote once plugged into your TV’s HDMI port, allowing S3 users to select video offerings and control playback without ever setting foot off the couch. How’s that for convenient?
Jawbone Era ($130)
Appearing schizophrenic when talking to yourself on the street corner is not of high priority for most people. However, a decent Bluetooth headset is crucial for those moments when hands-free is the only available option. The Jawbone Era, one of several of the company’s stellar offerings alongside the aforementioned Jawbone Jambox, is one of the most impressive headsets out there. Aside from normal call functions and pairing, the lightweight device features a built-in accelerator for motion controls and comprehensive app support. Sound quality is excellent given the 10mm wideband speaker and coupled noise-cancellation technology, producing high-quality audio whether streaming music, mono podcasts or chatting it up with your work associates. Plus, the color offerings are attractive and discrete.
RND Dock ($25)
There’s no need to spend a lot of cash for a simple dock. If you want to slot your S4 in to charge and have the option of a headphone or speaker attachment, then $25 will get you this stylish, understated offering from RND. The power adapter and Micro USB cable are included. There’s a switch on the back for sync and charge with your PC, or to activate dock mode. The S4 sits at a convenient angle and if you remove the insert, then you’ll be able to fit it in the dock, even with a slim case on.
With that stunning 5-inch display, the Galaxy S4 will soon be covered in fingerprint smudges. If you prefer to keep it clean, or perhaps you like to sketch or write by hand, then a stylus could be the answer. This offering from BoxWave has a FiberMesh tip which helps it to last longer and keeps the display clean. There’s a solid aluminum body in various colors and an elastic attachment in case you want to plug it into your headphone port.
Here’s a simple mounting system with a suction cup that attaches to the windshield or dashboard of your car. It rotates 360 degrees, and there’s a one touch button to secure your S4 or release it. The support arms that cradle your S4 leave a gap, so that you can plug it in to charge while you drive. It’s very easy to fit, and it’s stable and secure.
Cellet Elite Charger ($25)
Plug this into the lighter socket of your car and the Micro USB port of your S4 in order to charge it while you drive. The smart IC chip ensures that it shuts off when the device is fully juiced. There’s also an LED indicator which changes color when your device is charging, and a six foot cord. The directional head makes it easy to fit and it’s an ideal accessory if you’re using your S4 for turn-by-turn directions.
Next Page: Five more of the best Samsung Galaxy S4 accessories.