The best smartphone stocking stuffers for a very techy Christmas

It’s that time of the year again, and if you’re anything like us, you’re still buying presents for loved ones. Almost everyone has a smartphone, so if you’re looking for small accessories as stocking stuffers, we’ve compiled a list to help. Almost all of our picks are under $30, so they work as solid options for Secret Santa or White Elephant gifts for co-workers and friends.

A tough Lightning or USB-C charging cable ($14-17)

aukey braided cable

We all know one person who continues to charge their device with the same battered old cable. It makes you wince every time it comes out, with exposed wires and a completely worn away plastic collar. It’s hideous to behold — and even worse, it’s dangerous. Don’t just wince though — get them one of these tough cables. These durable braided Lightning and USB-C cables come with special strengthening in the areas that traditionally see the most wear, including the plastic collar near the connector. They’re not too expensive, easy to slip into a stocking, and both come in multipacks for value.

Anker Lightning cable Aukey USB-C cable

Aukey Ora macro & wide-angle clip-on camera lens ($30)

aukey ora smartphones lens

There’s a lot to love about smartphone cameras these days, and if you know someone who loves taking snaps with their phone, then you might consider this clip-on camera lens from Aukey. It’s a wide-angle lens that allows for super-wide 140-degree shots, as well as close-ups. It works with a variety of smartphones and is made from high-quality materials like aluminum alloy and multi-element glass, which ensure long-lasting use and some fantastic camera shots. We took them for a spin in this camera shootout if you want to see sample photos taken with the lens from an iPhone X.

Amazon

JBL Go Portable Bluetooth Speaker ($29)

best smartphone stocking stuffers 2018 jbl go christmas

What about music lovers? Well, we have our list of the best Bluetooth speakers around, but if you’re looking for something more in the “stocking budget,” then check out this pint-sized speaker from JBL. The JBL Go streams music from a smartphone via its Bluetooth connection, but also has an audio jack port for physical connections. It’s small, and it comes with a built-in carry strap, so it’s super-portable. A rechargeable battery offers up to 5 hours of playback, according to JBL, and it sounds good too.

Amazon

Discovery Channel Smartphone Microscope ($9)

discovery channel iphone microscope

This one’s for the more inquisitive of your loved ones. The Discovery Channel Smartphone Microscope clips onto your phone’s camera in a similar way to a clip-on lens. However, a clip-on lens will struggle to match the awesome 30x zoom of this particular gadget. It’s definitely more of a niche product, but give this to the right person and they’ll be amused for hours. It’s super-cheap too, but we won’t tell them that.

Mobile Fun

Mpow Flame Bluetooth Waterproof Headphones ($20)

best smartphone stocking stuffers 2018 mpow earphones

Here’s another one for the music lovers among your friends and family. The Mpow Flame wireless headphones connect via Bluetooth, making them perfect for any activity where you don’t want a wire bouncing around. They’re also waterproof and sweatproof, doubling down on the exercise utility. The Mpow boasts a significant battery life, with 7- to 9 hours of playback. It also recharges quickly, going to full in just 90 minutes. They look good, fit securely on the ear, and would be a great gift for a fitness lover.

Amazon

Tile Mate Bluetooth Finder ($10)

tile mate

Got a friend or family member who’s always losing their keys, or their wallet — or absolutely anything else? Consider the Tile Mate the antidote to their absent-mindedness. It’s a tile-shaped gadget that’s small enough to clip onto a key ring, a bag, or most valuables, and it pairs to a smartphone via Bluetooth. Whenever there’s a lost item, simply pull out the paired phone, open the Tile Mate app, and voilà — it displays exactly where the Tile Mate can be found. It can even be remotely triggered to ring at full volume. Best of all, it works both ways, so you can use the Tile Mate to find the paired phone by setting the device’s alarm off at full volume. This is a neat little gadget for a neat little price.

Anker Wireless Charger ($20)

Anker PowerWave 7.5 Stand angle
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

If your friend has a phone with wireless charging capabilities, but no wireless charger, then you’ve got an easy gift choice right here. Wireless charging may not be as fast as most wired chargers these days, but they’re convenient, allowing a phone to be topped up throughout the day by simply having it on the charger. This stand-type charger from Anker is perfect for a desk or bedside table, and it can be unlocked with facial recognition (if your phone supports it). There’s an indicator light to signal when a device is charging, and it’s one of the faster wireless chargers we’ve tested.

PopSocket Collapsible Grip & Stand ($10)

best smartphone stocking stuffers 2018 popsocket

A simple choice for the clumsy people on your list, the PopSocket is a great gift for anyone who might have trouble keeping a smartphone in their hands. While a good protective case can stop damage from a fall, a PopSocket can prevent the fall entirely by lending extra grip. Easily attached with a reusable adhesive, the PopSocket pops out to create a convenient grip that can be held between fingers. It can also serve as a makeshift stand, and it’s available in a wide variety of colors and styles. It’s not the flashiest of accessories by any means — but it could save a phone from being damaged.

Amazon

Mpow Bluetooth Selfie Stick ($10)

best smartphone stocking stuffers 2018 selfie stick

Oh wow, is it 2016 again already? The craze for selfie sticks may have passed, but that doesn’t mean they’re past their usefulness. This selfie stick comes from Mpow and manages to stay relevant by ditching the old 3.5mm connection for a Bluetooth connection. Other than that, it works exactly the way you’d expect a selfie stick to work. Pair it with a phone, secure it in the cradle, and start snapping with the built-in camera button. It stretches to an impressive 31.9 inches when fully extended and folds down to just 7.1 inches.

Google Pixel USB-C earphones ($30)

Google Pixel Buds
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

“Oh no,” we hear you cry. “It’s another set of headphones!” Pipe down cupcake, this isn’t just “another” set of headphones. These Pixel headphones are made by Google, and they’re designed to complement everything in Google’s ecosphere. Tap the black button and you can talk to the Google Assistant, who can help you send messages, check up on the news, or even translate languages in real time. Hold the up button and the Google Assistant will read out your latest notifications. They’re exceptionally handy — but since they connect by USB-C, they can’t be used with iPhones, or with phones without a USB-C port. Still, they’re a cool and flashy buy. Check out Google Pixel USB-C Earbuds review for more details.

Google

Anker Powercore 5000 ($22)

anker powercore 5000

Cell phone batteries are getting better, but many modern phones will usually only last the day — and if it’s been a particularly busy day, maybe not even that. The Anker Powercore 5000 can provide that special someone with a little extra power whenever they need it most. With a 5,000mAh battery capacity, it’s got the juice to recharge most smartphones at least once — and many iPhones twice — and it’s small enough to be slipped into a pocket and carried around. Being an Anker product, you know it’s made from high-quality materials. If you know someone who could use that little bit of extra charge, this could be their perfect stocking stuffer.

Amazon

Google Daydream View ($37)

Google Daydream View (2017) review
Genevieve Poblano/Digital Trends

Alright, so it’s a little large to fit into a stocking, and it’s slightly above the limit we allowed ourselves for this article — but this is too good a bargain to pass up. Virtual reality is one of the coolest new avenues for technology as a whole, and Google’s Daydream View headset is a great way to try out VR. At this bargain price, it’s a cool gift to get someone. Just be sure their Android phone (no iOS support sadly) can handle VR — check out Google’s list for a decent idea of which phones can handle it, and then dive into our favorite Daydream VR apps.

Mobile Fun

Mobile

Scientists wreck a smartphone in a blender, but not just for fun

It’s oddly mesmerizing to watch a smartphone get torn apart inside a blender. Researchers recently did just that in a bid to find out which materials make up a handset, and also to encourage people to think more about recycling.
Mobile

24 must-have apps for rooted Android phones and tablets

Rooting your Android device opens up a world of possibilities, along with a few apps. Here are 24 of our favorites, so you can make the most of your rooted device and unleash the true power of Android.
Mobile

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks for the best portable chargers.
Deals

Looking to upgrade? These are the best iPhone deals for March 2019

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for March 2019.
Deals

Here are 20 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great small gift ideas), we've rounded up 20 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth keyboard.
Movies & TV

Apple’s next big event is minutes away: Here’s what you can expect

Apple's next big event takes place on March 25 in Cupertino, California. The company is expected to make several announcements related to its services, including Apple TV, so follow our guide to get ready for the big event.
Wearables

This $76,000 Grand Seiko watch has something in common with a plug-in hybrid car

How can a watch that costs $76,000 possibly have anything in a common with any car, let alone a plug-in hybrid? It's all about the complex, technically incredible Spring Drive movement inside this Grand Seiko watch.
Deals

The excellent Apple iPad gets even deeper price cuts on Amazon

The humble iPad from 2018 is still one of the best tablets around -- and a solid choice for most people. Amazon has seen some great price drops for these tablets recently, and now you can own an iPad for even less than before.
Mobile

More than a screenshot: How to record the screen on an Android device

If you've ever want to record video of your Android screen, there are plenty of apps that can help. Here's an easy guide on how to record the screen on an Android device with the right settings and apps.
Apple

Apple March 2019 Event Coverage

Apple’s next event will take place March 25 at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California at 10 a.m. PT. We’ve got a handy guide on how to watch, but don’t expect to see any new iPads, iMacs, or AirPods at the show, all of…
Product Review

Want to see how powerful the Snapdragon 855 chip is? Just rev up the Xiaomi Mi 9

How fast do you want to go? If the answer to this is “as fast as possible,” then take a long look at the Xiaomi Mi 9. It’s one of the highest performance smartphones you can buy. It’s a real monster, and we’ve been using it.
Mobile

Apple Card is a credit card you can sign up for and start using with your iPhone

Apple is getting into the credit card business. Apple Card is a credit card you can sign up for directly on your iPhone, and it doesn't have fees. There's a lower interest rate and you can even get Daily Cash from all purchases.
Gaming

Apple Arcade might be the new game subscription service worth signing up for

Apple Arcade will launch this fall bringing a new game-subscription service with cross-platform support for iOS, Mac, and Apple TV. At launch, the service will feature more than 100 exclusive games, with more added to the service regularly.
Mobile

Check out 22 of the best iPhone 7 cases and covers for your shiny new phone

The iPhone 7 might be attractive, but it’s not rugged. To keep your device in pristine condition, you really need to think about proper protection. That's why we've rounded up some of the best iPhone 7 cases and covers available.