You're looking to buy a Christmas present. But mobile phones don't come cheap. So, don't buy one at all. Instead, rejuvenate your current giftee's handset for Christmas with one of these perfect mobile phone accessory gifts. If your loved one still wants to buy a new handset, then at least they've still got your gift to use for the next model they go for.
And don't forget if you're looking for gifts for Apple fanboys, photographers, laptop addicts, PC gamers, console gamers, AV lovers, music geeks, iPhone insaniacs and rhythm game rockers then, well, we have them too. Good luck.
It takes around 24 hours of walking round with a Bluetooth headset on to stop feeling like an idiot. Once that period of acute self-consciousness has passed, however, you'll find you've got an extremely useful tool in your mobile phone armoury. Obviously, they're great for driving but any time you've got your hands full while on a call suddenly loses around 300 points of hassle factor, be that out shopping, making a sandwich in the kitchen or just being too lazy to reach for your phone.
For pure style, the Jawbone Prime (£71) is a good option. For value for money and excellent performance, then head for the Plantronics Voyager 520 (£24). Both offer noise cancelling and good sound quality. If your giftee is a driver, then you might want to consider the Jabra Arrow (£40). It's due out on 7 December 2009 and is said to offer an automatic volume control which could minimise any extra call faff.
Finally, if your loved one loves their music, the Jabra Halo would be a rather nice way to go. They're a set of on-ear Bluetooth headphones combined with double microphones. So, you can listen to stereo music from your handsets and switch in and out of calls seamlessly. Very nice indeed and within budget at £70.
Desk Genie Stand & Charger
It's not so much a case of what the Desk Genie can do as what it can't. What you do is sit it on your desktop and plug it into your computer through one of the two USB ports. Then you can 1) stick any phone or pocket gadget to its slanted surface in an attractive and gravity defying way, 2) charge said gadget with a multitude if adaptors included; 3) use it as an 8-in-1 card reader for USB, SD, MicroSD and M2 cards and 4) use it as a hub to transfer any data to your computer. All of that comes at under £15 and is what we call a bargain.
If your giftee spends less time at the desk and more in the way of nights out, then a spare battery is a much overlooked and much welcome gift for Christmas. Pretty simple really. Find out what make and model of phone your loved one uses and then head over to a site like this one, where you can pick up the official models for somewhere in the region of £24. Some might say that a spare charger is a better idea but that's not much help if you end up nowhere near a socket.
16GB MicroSD card
Most phones these days come with next to no internal storage, not since the invention of the microSD slot. With pictures, music and video all a part of mobile life, everyone needs storage space and nothing says "I understand" more than a big, fat 16GB MicroSD card. You can pick one up for under £30 and you can even tack on a few SD and USB adaptors too. An easy gift if ever there was one.
Polaroid PoGo printer
This isn't a new gadget. In fact, it was out in time for last Christmas, but back then it cost £99. Now, the Polaroid PoGo printer is just £24. Yes, it's another Christmas bargain alert. For those who haven't come across the device, it's a Bluetooth printer that pairs with your mobile and prints out little stickable images of your phone snaps onto heat sensitive paper. All very fun.
If you're concerned, one of the main reasons it's so cheap now is that it was surpassed in 2009 by the Polaroid PoGo camera which actually takes the pictures as well as printing them out. But when you've already got a 5-megapixel camera and a Carl Zeiss lens then who cares about that? While you're there, you might want to pick up a few spare packs of Zinc paper.
For something slightly out of left field, you might want to try the waterproof phones case that is the Aquapac. For £19 you get the convenience of being able to take your mobile phone swimming with you.
It's really up to you how important you might think that's going to be to your giftee. It's probably a bit of a pain if they're planning on doing lengths with all the possible drag issues but it's ideal for splashing about in the sunshine.
It keeps dust out, it keeps sand out and you can take it down to 5m depth without worrying about any leakage. You can even still use your phone while its packed up inside for calls or even underwater footage and photos.
With everything going touchscreen now, that display can get gacked up with fingerprints as well as whatever else you've been dipping your hands in throughout the day. So, a screen wipe can make both an excellent decorative charm and a very functional little tool as well.
Yes, you can use your trousers but, firstly, they're not necessarily made of the best material for the job and, secondly, you've probably been wiping your hands on them too. Best of all, though, these things a really cheap, so they make excellent stocking fillers.
Covers & Skins
Protecting expensive phones is all very important but you don't have to encase the thing in 3-inch thick rubber to do so. At the basic level, you can buy screen covers for just about every handset which will stop scratches and sometimes even cracks from drops, while maintaining a decent touch surface and adding no bulk whatsoever.
One step on are mobile phone skins which are see-through cushioning cases which will complete the protective job the covers begin. You can pick up both together for around £15 and they come to fit just about every handset out there.
Yes, on the surface, insurance might just be the most boring present to open on Christmas Day, but the best gifts are those things that you would never get round to buying for yourself. Mobile phone insurance falls into this category for all too many people.
Most networks offer cover for all phones at around £70 for a year, but you might find cheaper deals or indeed that a bolt-on to your giftee's bank account for a couple of quid a month will do the trick too. For full details, check out this excellent guide at Money Saving Expert.
Credit & Bolt-ons
Again, this will take some digging around in your loved one's bills for the right details or, better perhaps, a consultation with your loved one themselves, but there's plenty of ways you can boost someone's mobile phone package.
If they're on PAYG, then just fork out for some credit. Otherwise adding an option like "unlimited" texts, multimedia messaging, video call minutes or even just a colossal data package would be the kind of gift that just keeps on giving.
If you feel like lavishing some real spondoolics on your loved one, then you could always buy them a brand new phone. For help with the best one to choose, head over to our Top Products category and our reviews of just about every handset under the sun.