Let’s be real: when you think of places to buy accessories for your smartphone, laptop or tablet, Etsy probably isn’t first on your list. Heck, it’s probably not even in the top five. However, don’t count the crafting super site out. In between the felt tablet sleeves that look like owls and the handmade styluses are some surprisingly useful accessories. Check out some of the modded, upcycled, and reinvented standouts below.
Accoustic Trombone Dock
This speaker dock from Etsy seller ReAcoustic repurposes a vintage trombone, and requires no batteries. The Acoustic dock relies completely on the acoustics provided by the salvaged trombone parts. Just place your smartphone down with the rear-facing speaker near the hole in the dock and let it project your music through the acoustic channel. Sure, it’s a bit steampunk-inspired, and at $167, a bit pricier than your standard Radio Shack offerings, but the sound speaks for itself.
Super Nintendo USB 2.0 Card Reader
Old tech never really dies, it just gets repurposed for bigger and better things. Case in point: this card reader from Etsy seller VisualReMix, constructed from an old Super Mario World cartridge. The card reader, which has an integrated indicator light as well, connects via USB cable and can read SD, SD Ultra, MMC, MMC Plus, and SIM Cards (and MiniSD, MicroSD, RS-MMS and MMC Mobile with adapter). VisualReMix also repurposes Gameboy cartridges into flash drives.
Moustache Head Phone Wrap
If, like me, you prefer ear buds to the circumaural style headphones, then you probably find yourself constantly untangling them. If you’re looking for a civilized solution, this handy moustache is crafted specifically to keep your buds neatly wound in place. Etsy seller Alvin Art and Design offers the ‘staches in nine colors and will engrave them with the charming phrase of your choice. At $5 a pop (without engraving), these hirsute headphone wraps are well worth the investment.
Dual Docking Station
If your décor leans more towards the rustic, this wood docking station will fit right in. The branch, which can house both a tablet and a smartphone, can be customized for other devices but doesn’t include charging cords. There’s a rear support branch that keeps the dock upright, and seller Natures Calling also sells a single dock in a wood slab-style. All docks are made from downed poplar, ash, or black walnut trees, which mean no trees were harmed in order to make the docks, which run a reasonable $80 or so.
If you’re going to dock your iPhone, why not dock it into this working rotary phone? Not only is this a nostalgic throwback, it’s also a fully-functional handset, and charges your iPhone via USB cable (although the cable itself is not included). Each individual iRetrofone is hand-sculpted and hand-cased in urethane resin (which is probably why they cost $200), and is compatible with all iPhones. There’s even an iRetrophone app available on iTunes that will make your phone resemble the old rotary dial of yesteryear, and iRetrofone also makes standalone receivers which can be plugged into your iPhone, in case you really miss the days of winding the cord around your fingers while you talk.
Yes, another dock—but who could resist a dock made from a repurposed Nintendo Controller? Etsy seller GeekUnique gives us another example of outdated tech finding a new purpose with their iPhone 4 Rock Dock which can dock and sync any iPhone or iPod via USB. If a Nintendo controller dock is too banal for you, then perhaps you’d be more interested in one made from the Duck Hunt gun, or an Atari 2600 Grand Prix game cartridge? GeekUnique certainly covers the spread here and offers a nice variety of docks. At $31, they’re a few more golden coins than a simple USB cord, but would make a nice gift for gamers and geeks alike.
Now that you’re a proud tablet owner, you’ve realized an unavoidable fact: you need something to hold that special little slate in place on your lap, or your desk, or during your meeting. Enter the Crazy Cradle, which looks like some kind of mad Tim Burton creation but is actually four sturdy legs made from durable wire, and wound tightly with a soft grip bungie to create a stable mount. The Cradle’s legs can be twisted and bent into a variety of configurations, making it easy to hold in place on a desk, a lap, a car headrest or onto a pole. Seller Adroitly has them in either blue or black and they go for $29.99; more than a fair price for a mount that can go anywhere you need it.
While most folks don’t need much from their keyboards aside from the standard QWERTY set up, others prefer to deck out their keyboards in style. If you’re a steampunk, then that means a custom Windows media keyboard reimagined with a piano black and chrome finish with vintage laser-cut keys. Seller Vint-Werks Emporium also has steampunk-style mouses in case you like to match your peripherals, and while $179 might seem like a bit much to spend on a keyboard; it’s not that much more than the Logitech G19.
Equal parts Don Draper and George Jetson, the Smith Corona Sterling USB Typewriter Keyboard is an antique typerwriter that has been modified to work as a keyboard for PCs, Macs or iPads via a USB connection. All the standard keys are represented, with non-standard keys such as F1, Ctrl and ESC being available with a toggle key. The Smith Corona Sterling doubles as a tablet dock, and also allows you to type on paper – while saving your work to disc. Seller USB Typewriter also sells kits you can use to customize your own old school typewriter into a super keyboard, which is a heck of a lot cheaper than buying one outright as the premade Typewriter Keyboards run an astounding $799.
Pez Dispenser Flash Drive
In addition to all manner of covers, cases, and cozies, the second most populated category of tech items on Etsy is doubtlessly the myriad flavors of flash drives. A particularly tasty option is the Batman Pez Dispenser which manages to fit a 4GB Flash Drive into a functioning candy dispenser. Pull the case apart for access to the drive, or pop open the dispenser to get access to the candy bricks. Seller DHH Design also has a variety of other options from Kermit to the Death Star, as well as USB drives constructed from old die cast cars. Either way, $20-$30 gets you a unique undercover USB drive.
This story, "10 Outstanding Tech Accessories on Etsy" was originally published by TechHive.