Accessory manufacturers largely do business augmenting the existing benefits of a consumer product. For those in the smartphone industry, that usually means taking something naked and adding weight or girth to it. It means adorning a phone with a protective case, or building something to work in tandem.
Bluelounge has made a cottage industry out of minimalist additions to products that fit in perfectly with an existing workflow. We’re going to look at two of those for the iPhone 5.
Charging accessories are usually long, bulky cords that take up too much space in your bag. Kii works because, well, it looks like a large key, but detaches from a chain to reveal a Lightning adapter on one side and a full USB plug on the other.
The $39.95 add-on may sound expensive, but it provides a means to charge your iPhone 5 from any USB port, anywhere, without having to haul along a cable. It’s well made, too, with the Lightning side attaching to the cap with a satisfying snap.
There’s also a $19.95 30-pin version — Apple charges more for Lightning manufacturers to join the Made for iOS (MFI) program — which will work for older devices like the iPhone 4S.
Kii charges your phone at a rate similar to that of a regular charger, and it will even successfully connect to an iPad 4. Though it may seem awkward to orient the iPhone or iPod touch horizontally against the computer charging it, I found it to be the perfect companion when sitting at my desk with my phone next to me. It’s easy to reconnect after use, and the quality materials showed little signs of wear.
It’s not for everyone: Kii isn’t really feasible to use without something to hold the device underneath, and the length obviously prevents it from being used when more than an arms reach away. But it’s an elegant solution to a problem many have faced.
Kii is available for $39.95, in both black and white variants.
Saidoka, on the other hand, is the best bedside charging accessory I’ve ever seen. We’ve previously looked at a number of Bluelounge stands and chargers, but this is the only one I continue to use every day.
The premise is simple: you slide your iPhone 5 into the Saidoka’s Lightning adapter, which orients the device around 30 degrees, making it perfect for tapping on a notification while sitting at a desk.
Underneath Saidoka are two strips of the company’s excellent micro-suction tape, which affixes the charger to a surface without leaving residue when removed. Not being tape, it’s also reusable.
The accessory is compatible with most iPhone 5 cases, which is a huge advantage over other bedside chargers.
Saidoka is available for $49.95, in both black and white versions.