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Tools and props to protect, adorn your phone

  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • Published Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013, at 11:21 p.m.

A few years ago people tried to pitch me items about pimping out your mobile phone. I said, nice try but no way. That’s a gadget. I write about fashion.

Now, if you see me at a party, grocery, social event, mall, gallery, nightclub, restaurant or coffee shop, you’ll probably notice a smartphone glued to my palm. It has become part of me and thus, it must be adorned accordingly.

I’m not going to advocate for any particular brand of mobile pacifier, but for most people, your mobile device is probably the most valuable (literally and figuratively) part of your outfit.

So we’ve come up with some suggested items you should invest in or stock up on to keep your phone protected and properly adorned.

I’ll start with disaster preparedness. Unless you have your phone enshrined in a heavy-duty industrial case, you need to consider that moisture happens.

Water rescue plan

Just like schooling your kids on fire prevention and evacuation planning, they need to know what to do in case they decide to play submarine with your tablet, smartphone, camera, etc. Don’t wait for an accident. A dunk in water might not kill your phone, but what you do right after most definitely can.

For a cheap solution, keep a sealed plastic baggie of regular rice (that you do not plan to eat) at the ready under the sink or in a special drawer. Or you can stock a few Bheestie Bags, a water rescue tool. The latter will appeal to those who don’t like rice dust in the crevices of their electronics.

Bheestie Bags ($20 to $40 at bheestie.com) have powerful water-absorbing beads that draw moisture out of your device quickly, and the beads hold the water so that the bag remains arid. They offer sizes for cellphones, tablets or any small electronics that are susceptible to death by liquid.

What to do: Turn off the device immediately and do not turn it on until you’ve completed all of the following steps. Turning on circuits that could be wet is like playing Russian Roulette with your electronics. You can recover from water damage; electrical damage is forever.

Next, dry any visible water with a clean towel. If a vacuum cleaner with a crevice/tool attachment is handy, turn it on and hold it over openings for 30 seconds or so to attempt to pull out some water. Don’t blow! You want the water to come out the same way it went in.

If you can access the battery, remove it. Now, drop the device into your Bheestie bag or emergency rice and say a prayer. No peeking. Twenty-four hours is a good wait before you cross your fingers and try to power up the device. For extreme water exposure, Bheestie recommends waiting 48 to 72 hours.

Mobile charging unit

Many clever devices are available to suit your needs. Lenmar has a Meridian iPhone Battery Case that offers protection, style and a power source. The case has a built-in external battery that promises to double your talk, text and play time. It’s slimmer than you’d expect considering that it adds weight, but for heavy phone users, it’s probably a must. The case is available in three colors: rubberized black, glossy white and metallic red. It includes an on-off switch for the power booster and an LED power indicator ($69.99 at lenmar.com).

If you want to flaunt your phone’s slim figure, the iCharge backup battery is available in colors (red, black, pink, green, purple and blue). It’s petite and can be stored in a glove box, purse or jacket pocket for emergencies (about $40 on amazon.com). It’s bulky when attached, but otherwise your phone can be used unencumbered.

We recommend a universal charger with multiple adapter plugs if you travel with various devices that might need juice in a hurry. Plenty of solar-powered options are available in case you want the added benefit of being able to recharge your backup from an office window or car seat.

Screen protector

Keep your display free of scratches and diminish glare. We recommend stocking up on simple multilayer film protectors at Big Lots, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, amazon.com or some other discount outlet. You’ll spend as little as $2.

Nice case

We’ve made no secret that everyone needs a regular case and a party case. If you only have the patience for one, choose something that can handle a few clumsy moments. In the realm of next to nothing, a bumper case ($1-$2 at Big Lots or handhelditems.com) is deceptively good. It’s essentially a rubber outline for your phone that fits around the edges. The rubber wraps around the outline so that you can lay it on surfaces or drop it without worrying about nicks or scrapes.

Meanwhile, GetUncommon.com is among the websites offering to personalize your mobile device with your own photos. The case is both protective and a conversation starter. Thanks to technology, quality and speedy delivery, the site offers a two-piece Capsule photo case ($39.95) that can be produced in two to four business days. It’s a great idea for gifts or showing your family pride.

The Capsule case is a slim, easy-to-remove two-piece design. But options for custom, humorous, bedazzled or artistic cases abound. Just be mindful about how easy the case is to remove if you like to change it with your outfit.

Texting gloves

If you like to use your device in cold weather, you’ll be happy that you own these. Pulse boutique has striped texting gloves ($19.99); and Kohl’s has texting/gaming gloves in knit and faux leather for Mom, Dad and even small children ($4.20 to $30).

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