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The best new mobile accessories from IFA 2019
Smartphones and tablets have created an ecosystem of possibilities, with half of IFA 2019’s endless halls devoted to accessories. From cases, cables, and chargers to power banks, storage solutions, and more, plenty of mobile accessories were shown off at the trade show.
Take a look at what’s new and worthy of a place in our best mobile accessories of IFA 2019 accessories roundup.
PanzerGlass: New glass back protection for your glass back phone
PanzerGlass’s range of tempered glass screen protectors grew one bigger, with the release of the PanzerGlass ClearCase Black Edition. With the new range of smartphones increasingly using swirling, shimmering designs embedded into the glass, it’s a shame to hide that behind a tough case to protect it. PanzerGlass first introduced a glass back case to protect that fancy glass, along with usual protection on the top and sides.
The new ClearCase Black Edition adds a honeycomb protection pattern, with the company stating this has “19% more protection.” While that seemed pretty much unquantifiable, the photos we took of a prototype clearly shows that honeycomb build, able to dissipate any drops or falls a little more.
The ClearCase Black Edition is Available in October, with Samsung and Huawei devices planned, alongside the iPhone 10 (and iPhone 11 range, although the company wouldn’t comment on the record), starting at around €45, or ~$50.
Verbatim: New and secure storage, and new USB-C hubs
Verbatim had a neat range of new more secure USB-A and USB-C storage devices. The Fingerprint Secure USB Drive, an example of the new range, was a neat little aluminum USB 3.0 drive with integrated fingerprint scanner, with up to six authorized users. Data is wiped after multiple failed attempts. Available now, with the 64GB version starting at €73/~$80.
Verbatim also launched a range of new USB-C Multiport Hubs for those devices that just don’t have enough ports. The peak of the new range includes a hub with nearly 6-inch USB-C 3.0 cable, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, along with SD and microSD ports. This hub retails at €62 or ~$68.50.
This is exciting if you’ve been cursed with a single USB-C port Mac or PC.
Vonmählen: Stylish cables, chargers, and more
Vonmählen is a newcomer to the accessories market, bursting onto the scene with a range of tasteful cables, wireless chargers, and clever power banks. The products are designed in Germany and the brand is growing while targeting the luxury end of the market, with collections of devices in colors black, silver, and rose gold.
The company’s best devices are the Allroundo Boost and Allroundo Power. Both of these products are pocket devices with a long stretchy three-foot cable with a 3-in-1 adapter for Micro-USB, Lightning, and USB-C charging and data transfer. Importantly, the Power has tidy 4,000mAh power bank built-in.
I had a chance to handle the company’s (only!) Allroundo Power sample at IFA, and it felt like a handy mobile accessory for a range of devices that could be tucked away in a pocket or dropped into a bag with convenience and a touch of style. It’s available next month across the globe, including the U.S., with pricing to come.
The Aura range of wireless charging pad is also nice and tasteful, in leather and glass, and a range of colors. Again, final pricing and availability to come.
Western Digital / Sandisk: Brute force, plus new wireless charging ideas
The super-speedy WD_Black line of gaming products also looks great, with the hard metal WD_Black P50 Game Drive SSD offering USB Gen 3.2 2×2 support.
My favorite new accessory from the Sandisk range, though, is a new wireless charger with built-in storage:
The Sandisk iXpand Wireless Charger was announced a month or so ago and shown off at IFA for the first time. With Qi support, it wirelessly charges a phone placed on it, as you’d expected. But it also includes an app for Android and iOS, and Bluetooth connection, for automatic local backup and storage off a device. It targets certain file types — including images — and backs up locally to the pad in 64, 128GB and 256GB configurations.
Sandisk told me to check local pricing, which started at €127 for the 128GB / €187 for the 256GB version in Germany. It’s probably not for everyone, but super-useful for those who don’t want to pay for cloud storage for themselves or others — like a family member.
Seagate: Hip new One Touch SSDs
Seagate’s new range of small One Touch External SSDs with USB 3.0 connection are targeted at a younger crowd and meant to be hip, with colorful designs. Unfortunately, for me, they were zero-touch devices — strictly behind glass, and I couldn’t really get a handle on their textile design, which is arguably what makes these SSDs so special in the first place.
They come with USB 3.0 ports instead of USB-C and speeds of 400MB/s, which is fairly pedestrian. But the pricing is good for the Seagate brand and small size: the One Touch SSD retails for $105/€99 (500GB) and $200/€69 (1TB), with worldwide availability later in October.
Oh, and the One Touch External SSD Special Edition also exists for some reason, sporting a camo-clad outer design for managing files with “extra flair” (words from the press release, I kid you not) starting at $5 more, or $110, in 500 GB only.
Anker: More power!
Anker arrived at IFA with a host of new products. While we covered them in an earlier article, you’ll want to know more about at least one product: the all-metal Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD 45W. This looks exactly like the previous 26800 PD 30W, which caps out at 30W delivery. The new 45W USB-C power delivery port really steps it up further, and of course the battery with a high 26,800mAh capacity means a serious amount of juice.
It’s not yet on sale, but Anker did kindly provided us with a pre-production sample without packaging to check out. I’m pleased to report it’s just like the 30W version but with extra power on offer to keep the likes of a MacBook Pro powered on, not just charging. Multiple USB-A ports means you can charge your smartphone as well at 5V/3A. Beastly amounts of power, now from a trusted brand in the market. Oh, and it can be charged at a crazy 45W as well, reducing charge time to 3.5 hours.
The Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD 45W will be available globally in October — given the 30W model was around $130, I’d expect a premium on top — but don’t forget the USB-C cable and a nice $30 or so charger are in the box. It is weighty at 600g according to my scales, or just a touch over 21 oz.
PNY: More power also!
PNY is an American manufacturer of everything from SD memory cards to SSDs to fast memory for graphics cards.
At IFA, PNY had new devices on show. I was able to get hands-on with the new Power Delivery battery packs, including the 10,000mAh offering with Power Delivery 3.0. These are priced at around $50 and will be available as soon as this week depending on your region.
PNY also had some tiny SSDs on show at IFA for the first time — PNY claims the SSDs are the world’s smallest SSDs — but I only saw these behind glass. They measure just 60 x 35.6 x 8.9mm. It’s not meaningfully smaller than the world’s competition, so I can’t really say much more. But the race is on for SSDs to get smaller, while retaining useful capacity and fast data transfer speeds. PNY is in the race.
Aukey: Wearbuds put earbuds in your smartband
Aukey had a couple of interesting devices on hand at IFA, including an update to its neat little standalone earbuds solution. However, it was the Aukey Wearbuds — or Smartband-Stored True Wireless Earbuds — that really caught my attention. Why?
Look! The Wearbuds are capable of counting steps, tracking heart rate, and so on, with a pair of earbuds tucked into the side:
The above GIF shows just a brief hands-on, and I didn’t get to hear how the buds sounded. But it’s an interesting concept to avoid carrying around a case, while wearing a fit band. It comes in black and white, and the buds are said to have 5.5 hours of battery life and noise isolation.
Although much can change, Aukey told me the Wearbuds would be around the $180 mark, and available everywhere before Christmas, likely via Amazon.
Tumi: New luggage-inspired phone cases
If you want your phone case to look like an expensive suitcase, now’s your chance! The new Tumi line of smartphone cases has been available in limited forms, but now there’s an entire range of cases that look exactly like the hardshell luggage that Tumi makes, including the 19 Degree line of cases that matches the 19 Degree luggage line, based on the angle of the rippled lines.
I don’t doubt that high-end, expensive luggage with lots of premium touches makes sense for holding your travel stuff. For holding your phone… well… I’m not so sure. There are a lot of little techniques to making great cases, and Tumi says these have raised edge protection and button protection. These Tumi cases are only for iPhone users and start at $60. Cases for Samsung and other Android devices will be launched in time, according to reps.
That’s it for our list of the best new mobile accessories from IFA 2019. Which one was your favorite?