Despite the ubiquity of modern smartphone and tablet touchscreens, there’s a lot to be said for the old-fashioned way of doing things.
BlackBerry may be ploughing a lonely furrow manufacturing handsets with a traditional QWERTY keyboard, but there’s method to their madness.
A touchscreen keyboard provides little sensory feedback, and occupies a large percentage of the screen. It becomes sore on your fingertips after a while, too.
Swiping and pinching using your fingers will never replicate the accuracy of a mouse, in the same way even stereo smartphone speakers struggle to emit a decent level of sound.
Happily, there is a way to give even a humble handset a new lease of life – by connecting it to wireless smartphone peripherals.
Getting your wires crossed
Anyone with a desktop computer will appreciate the challenges of running multiple wires into a single machine.
Fortunately, that’s not necessary to connect wireless smartphone peripherals.
Most wireless accessories can be linked via Bluetooth, and should remain connected unless either the phone or its accessories move a considerable distance.
A phone can become a workstation with the simple addition of a wireless keyboard, offering full-size keys with physical travel that emit a reassuring click as they’re depressed.
It’s possible to buy keyboards containing a full set of FN keys, a numeric keypad or even a trackpad.
They can fold or roll, with backlit keys and rechargeable batteries or power packs providing hours of continuous use before being fuelled via USB.
The same principles described above for keyboards also apply to mice. More practical…more tactile…more accurate…the list goes on.
There’s an array of Bluetooth mice on the market, negating the need to drag imprecise fingertips around the screen.
You’re not going to get incredible accuracy from a Bluetooth mouse, but that’s unlikely to be necessary if you simply want greater accuracy for gaming or editing files.
The regrettable trend for smartphones to abolish the 3.5mm headphone jack has driven many consumers to adopt wireless headphones.
However, there’s also a thriving market in Bluetooth speakers – ideal for festivals and camping, or simply taking round to your mates’ houses if your MP3 collection eclipses theirs.
Bluetooth soundbars often suffer from limited battery life, but their superior audio quality can transform online gaming, and make streaming media more enjoyable than via tinny speakers.
The final entry on our list of wireless smartphone peripherals might sound vague, but being able to link to a Bluetooth-equipped printer or scanner could be a Godsend.
The alternative often involves emailing a document from your phone to a computer, accessing the peripheral in question and having to send the document back to the phone again.
A rechargeable stylus pen could be helpful for creating signatures and graphics, while Bluetooth headsets significantly improve audio quality on phone calls and webinars.