Marc Saltzman, a leading
high-tech reporter, contributes to more than three dozen
appears on radio and TV,
and is the author of more
than ;; books. He’s on
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The Costco Connection
P.O. Box 34088
Seattle, WA 98124-1088
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One smart phone
Getting the most from this everyday device
Along with a complete selection of smartphones available
in the Wireless Centers in the
warehouses, Costco offers
speakers, headphones and
other accessories in the
warehouses and online at
FRIENDS DON’T LET friends use an unprotected
smartphone. They also don’t let them listen to
music through the phone’s lousy earbuds, type
for long periods of time on the touch screen or
leave the house without a backup power solution.
Accessories—such as protective cases,
Bluetooth speakers, portable keyboards and
battery boosters—can help add functionality and
longevity to your beloved (but limited) device.
Now that summer is officially here, consider one
of the following add-ons to help you get more out
of your smartphone or tablet this season.
It’s not a question of if you’re going to drop
your device, but rather when it’s going to happen.
Even if you’re not the klutzy type, we’re talking
about a small device that you take with you everywhere. It’s important to buy a protective case to
safeguard your investment. A case also lets you
personalize your phone, as there are different
colors, materials and styles to choose from.
Speaking of protection, consider using a transparent screen protector to protect from scratches.
When you’re enjoying yourself away from
home, there’s nothing worse than having the
gadgets you rely on start to run out of juice. A
backup battery pack will let you charge up your
smartphone or tablet on the go. You might still
need to bring a charging cable with you, though
some battery packs have built-in cables. Generally
speaking, the larger the battery, the more times
you can charge your devices before the battery
pack itself needs recharging.
Smartphones and tablets have a number of
benefits over personal computers: They’re more
portable and affordable, and using your fingertips
and voice is intuitive and natural. But smaller
screens and an all-touch interface mean they’re
not as conducive for taking notes, writing lengthy
emails, or cranking out essays or reports. Instead,
consider a portable wireless keyboard you can
bring along in a backpack, purse or briefcase—
just in case you want to do some long-form typing
on your phone or tablet.
Whether you’re hanging outside with friends
or want to add more boom to your room, a
Bluetooth speaker is an ideal companion to your
favorite mobile device. You can wirelessly play
music from your smartphone or tablet without
having to dock it, which means you can use the
phone while it streams audio to the speaker. Some
speakers are water-resistant, so they’re good at
the pool or beach. These speakers come in various
colors for a personal touch, and most can last
many hours before they need to be recharged.
The old days of corded headphones are fading
away—thankfully! Headphones with Bluetooth
make it so much easier to listen to music wirelessly from your phone.
The new generation of Bluetooth-enabled
headphones has resolved some shortcomings
from older models. Pairing your phone and headphones is a breeze. Battery life for the headphones
has also been improved, and many models are
sweat-resistant, making them perfect for working
out. Last, the typical range for coverage is about
;; feet, so you have plenty of room to roam.
While iPhones and iPads don’t let you expand
the storage inside your phone or tablet, Android
devices likely have a microSD card slot in the side
or back. If you find you’re running out of space
to hold your files—such as photos, videos, music
or games—you can easily slip in an inexpensive
memory card to double, triple or quadruple your
storage. Many microSD cards include an adapter
that allows you to plug them into a computer or
TV for versatility.
Finally, a wearable activity tracker is a great
way to capture data on your summer exercise. It
wirelessly sends the information to your nearby
smartphone or tablet. That way, you can glance
at your wrist for a running total of steps taken,
stairs climbed, distance traveled, active minutes,
estimated calories burned and so on. The app also
displays the results with colorful charts and
graphs, sends reminders to move, tracks nighttime sleep data and much more. C