iPad Accessory Reviews

The Best Speakers, Bags, Cases, Chargers and More

Do you love your iPad? Does it go everywhere with you? Do you use it for all your work and entertainment needs? If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions then you have come to the right place, my friend!

The iPad is without a doubt a revolutionary device and the first tablet computer that anyone can rightly think of as successful. Many have tried, but it was only until Apple brought the first iPad to market that everything clicked together. If you’d like to know a bit more about where the iPad came from, maybe you’ll like my piece on the iPad story.

Today we are more than six generations into the iPad product line and this little powerhouse computer is as popular as ever.

Thanks to that popularity a humongous accessory industry has sprung up around the iPad and, boy, are some of them crazy expensive. Yes, there is some real junk out there, but among all the stuff you should avoid there are a few real gems that can make your iPad really shine.

That’s what this site is all about! I’ve bought some real stinkers when it comes to iPad accessories, so I’ve compiled reviews and information on some of the most sought-after accessory categories and selected what I think are the best examples in each.

The Essentials

The first stop for most people when they get a shiny new iPad is to buy a cover or case and a screen protector.

I have my own opinion on whether you really need these things, but if you really want them you can check out my reviews for covers, cases and/or screen protectors. Don’t know what this “Gorilla Glass” is that everyone is on about? Check out my article on what makes this wonder material so special.

If you don’t feel like going through all those reviews, here are my favorites in each category.

Top Case Pick: Otterbox Defender for iPad Air 2

The iPad Air 2 is one of the best tablets that Apple has ever made and this superlative case from Otterbox makes sure that no amount of clumsiness will put a scratch on its skinny frame. I liked the Otterbox Defender thanks to its quasi-military styling and reasonable price.

Top Screen Protector Pick:SPARIN iPad Pro 9.7” Tempered Glass Protector

The smaller of the two iPad Pro devices already comes with a formidable Gorilla Glass, but if you are still not convinced, you can’t go wrong with this tempered glass protector from SPARIN.

I was impressed by its unobtrusiveness and the fact that it doesn’t negatively affect the excellent screen that comes with the iPad Pro. It’s affordable and functional, two important considerations in the world of screen protectors.

Apart from covers and cases, the next most likely purchase an iPad owner will make is a charger or cable to add to the included ones. Most of us need to charge in multiple places and carrying a charger around is pretty uncool. People without Bluetooth car radios will also want a good aux cable to kick out the jams. I’ve reviewed a few in their own page, but here are my pick of the bunch.

Top Charger Pick: Innergie mMini Combo

This charger is reliable, well designed, and widely compatible with many USB devices. The price is also solidly in the impulse buy zone, so really there is no reason not to get one or two of these and throw them into a bag or plug them in behind a desk. There may be many chargers on the market, but the mMini hits the sweet spot just right.

Top Aux Cable Pick:Kensington Nylon Braided Premium 3.5mm Auxiliary Audio Cable

Five US Dollarinos will get you a premium aux cable. That’s premium in the sense that it doesn’t suck, rather than “premium” in the “Monster Cable Scam” kind of way.

By the way, if you are looking for chargers and cables you’d do well to be familiar with officially Apple-endorsed products. That’s what the MFi certification program is all about. You can read all about it here

Power to the People

Another item I consider to be essential for the modern mobile warrior is a power bank. Power banks are a way to carry extra battery charge with you when you are going to be away from a socket for extended times. International flights, camping trips, and many other scenarios require the use of these handy devices. The good news is that they are dirt cheap and we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to power banks.

Still, you want to do a bit of homework before buying one, so check out my handy-dandy buyer’s guide. I’ve also reviewed a bunch of these guys and have a favorite that you may also like.

Top Pick: Anker PowerCore 13000

Until I started looking into the whole breadth of iPad accessories I really didn’t know all that much about Anker, but now I’m pretty much convinced that they have the value-for-money market all sewn up. This 13000mAh power bank is priced at an unbeatable level and is actually a good quality unit to boot. It’s got all the features you really need in a product like this and also takes up less space than products with half the capacity. I don’t know what black magic Anker pulled off to make this, but I’m glad that they did.

Tippy Tappy Typey

The onscreen keyboard does an OK job of letting you enter text into stuff, but there is no way you would want to write that novel that you are working on that way. That’s why one of the most essential iPad accessories is the humble keyboard. Picking the right keyboard is pretty important if you are going to do a good deal of writing. So I’ve checked out some of the most popular ones for you. To me however, there can be only one clear winner and that winner is not even a mobile keyboard at all.

Top Pick: Apple Wireless Keyboard

That’s right, the best mobile keyboard is actually a desktop keyboard. Compact enough to throw in a bag and simply one of the finest typing experiences known to man, the Apple wireless keyboard is right at the top of the pile in my estimation. If you absolutely must have something foldable or otherwise more mobile-friendly check out the other keyboards I evaluated but, trust me, there’s nothing better for a writer on the road than this baby.

Sound Decisions

The iPad Pro line of tablets has gone a long way to rectifying the poor audio we get from most iPads, but for those not lucky enough to have one of these quad-speaker wonders there is a whole range of audio accessories offered.

From speaker docks to wireless speakers to headphones, there are many ways to get a decent audio experience out of every iPad you can buy. Wireless Bluetooth technology has improved to the point where I can’t really recommend that anyone buy wired stuff anymore.

I have put together some reviews to get you started on the quest for kicking jams. We have speaker dock reviews, Bluetooth Speaker reviews, and Bluetooth headphone reviews.

Buying headphones can be tricky, so be sure to check out my Bluetooth headphone buyer’s guide for some tips.

If you don’t feel like going through all the reviews, I’ve singled out my favorites right here on the home page.

Top Pick: Sony RDPT50IPN

I’m still a big Sony fan, even though they aren’t quite the juggernaut they once were. This speaker dock from the venerable Japanese electronics company really impressed with its reasonable price, great design, and excellent reported sound quality. Unless you’re willing to put down an insane amount of money, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something better all-round at this price point.

My favorite Bluetooth speaker has a weird name, but there is nothing weird about it’s credentials.

Top Pick: Cambridge SoundWorks OontZ Angle 3

OontZ, OontZ, OontZ baby. Cambridge Soundworks has been pretty quiet in recent years, but this all-rounder speaker from the company proves they still have it where it counts. It has a great, stable design, excellent sound, and IPX5 water resistance. If you are only going to buy one wireless speaker to go with your tablet, then this should be it.

We take our iPads on the bus and use them in all types of shared environment, so we don’t necessarily want everyone around us to share in our weird taste in music. Bluetooth headphones are perfect in this case, and I really think I’ve picked the best one as my personal number 1.

Top BT Headphone Pick: Jumbl™ Audio Adapter/Receiver

Yes, it’s actually not a pair of headphones at all, but the very clever Jumbl™ Audio Adapter/Receiver. Not only is it way cheaper than a set of BT headphones, you can use any old set of headphones you like. From cheap earbuds to expensive audiophile units, the Adapt will work with anything that has an audio jack. That makes them the most versatile and affordable wireless audio solution for your iPad.

Optional Accessories

Not every iPad accessory is a must. The above-mentioned accessories are, in my opinion, ones that no iPad owner should be without. These, on the other hand, are either just nice to have or are meant specifically for one kind of iPad owner. Don’t worry, you’ll know if it’s you.

Is That A Pen In Your Pocket?

The humble stylus has been a staple of resistive touch screen devices for a long time (don’t know what I’m talking about? Here’s an article on how touch screens work), but the iPad’s screen will work with a plain old finder. Steve Jobs was famously anti-stylus too. Still, many artists have embraced the iPad as a creative device and they sometimes need a stylus to get the job done properly.

Didn’t know that the iPad is also a creative powerhouse? Read all about it in my article on the iPad in creative industries

I had a good look at some of the pen-like things you can buy for an iPad and came up with one clear favorite.

Top Pick: The Apple Pencil for iPad Pro

I feel that, maybe, this is sort of cheating. Still, the Pro Pencil from Apple is the most advanced stylus money can buy for an iPad. Sure it only works with the two “Pro” models and sure, it costs a pretty penny, but you can’t argue with the tech or the performance.

For everyone who doesn’t have an iPad Pro, there’s this guy.

Best Apple Pencil Alternative: FiftyThree Digital Stylus

Fifty Three is a great creative app and peripheral maker and this stylus has all you need to make some great art or just take good notes on just about any iPad. It’s also cheaper to boot.

Don’t Shoot The Messenger

As light and mobile as the modern iPad is, it’s still not very practical to carry it around on your hand all day. If you don’t already carry around a suitable receptacle I have found the humble messenger bag to be the right size and shape to not only host your tablet but also many of the fine accessories that you see here.

There are a lot of options to choose from and it is obviously heavily dependent on your personal taste, but my favorite messenger bag comes with a healthy dose of geek credibility and is just the right size.

Top Pick: Marvel Retro Messenger Bag

Now that Marvel Comics have dominated the mainstream movie market it’s both hip and cool to be seen walking around with a vintage comic book messenger bag. This little guy is fashionable, affordable, and functional. If the design really isn’t your thing then I’ll recommend this bag from Amazon.

The Cheap Champ: AmazonBasics iPad Air and Netbook Bag

It gets the job done just as well and will let you fade into the background with all the other corporate drones. So that’s good, I guess.

Stand and Deliver

While most covers also double as decent mobile stands, sometime we want something a little more elegant, permanent, or functional.

Often old iPads make their way to a spare bedroom or a kitchen, for example. In fact, check out my article on uses for old iPads before you throw that old tablet away.

When we put our iPads in our cars or on a kitchen counter or a workstation desk there are better ways to do it than a trifold smart cover. I’ve reviewed quite a few stands, but this is my absolute favorite:

Top Pick: CTA Digital 2-in-1

It’s an affordable wall-mount and desktop stand all in one package. It looks professional and will make desk-based work on an iPad pleasant rather than a literal pain in the neck. The wall attachment mechanism is also a work of genius, letting you quickly swap between attached and mobile modes.

If you need to keep your iPad safely in view and reach while driving, you need to invest in a good car mount for it. Check out my reviews for a variety of choices, but the one I think is the best has to be this:

Top Pick: iKross 2-in-1 Tablet and Cellphone Adjustable Swing Extended Cup Mount Holder

This cup holder mounting system is one of the most creative and effective solutions that I have ever seen. It’s affordable, rock-solid, and will work in most vehicles. Depending on your car’s cup holder situation this may very well be the perfect car accessory for you and your iPad.

Game On!

Admit it, at least half of your iPad’s space is taken up by video games. Gaming has become something that everyone does at least part of the time. Touch screen controls are, however, not great for certain types of action games such as first person shooters or racing games. To get the best experience out of those titles you really need physical gamepad controls. There have been many third-party attempts at bringing gamepads to iOS, but only since iOS 7 has there been official support for gamepads.

Now there are a whole bunch of gamepad choices and this is the one I think comes out on top:

Top Pick: SteelSeries Nimbus Wireless Gaming Controller for Apple TV, iPhone, iPad,

The Nimbus has it all and if you love the Xbox 360 controller this will make you feel right at home. Is this not for you? No worries, I’ve reviewed plenty of gamepads so take you pick.

Crazy and Cool Stuff

There’s essential, there’s optional, and then there is this stuff. It either makes no sense or it is so cool that you could never justify buying it for yourself. So get those Christmas wishlists out.

I’ve reviewed some of what I think are the coolest iPad toys and this Star Wars item has got to top the wishlists of many fans all over the world.

Top Pick: Sphero Star Wars BB-8 Droid

This guy was born from the massively positive reception the film received and is the definitive Star Wars toy, if you ask me.

Then we have these, er, things. These are accessories that I honestly have no idea how they became approved. I don’t know who is supposed to buy them and I certainly don’t know how these companies stay in business. What I do know is laughing at them costs nothing. The craziest one has to be this toilet thing:

CTA iPotty

The “iPotty”? Really? If you buy this for your child you should have your parent privileges examined. I’m all for the march of technology, but really. No. Just no.

But wait! There’s More!

There is a lot to explore on my site and if you are wondering why I did this or what this site is about you can go to the page labeled “ABOUT”, which is rather obvious now that I think about it.

While I’ve tried to put all the star accessories right here on the home page, the right item for you may be lurking somewhere in the review pages themselves, so I encourage you to do a little browsing around to find what you are looking for.

I hope my little site is helpful and makes your iPad experience that much better!