Noise-canceling headphones sample outside sound and then pipe in an inverse audio signal to “cancel out” a good deal of monotonous noise. Although they don’t usually sound as good, or provide as much noise isolation, as comparably priced in-ear-canal headphones, noise-canceling models are easier to put on and take off, and they let you hear what’s going on around you. Our favorite all-around model is Audio-Technica’s full-size ATH-ANC7b ($179), although Bose also makes a couple good (though pricey) models, and Klipsh’s upcoming M40 ($350) looks promising. Bluetooth stereo headphones let you listen without wires; most also let you control music playback using buttons on the headphones themselves. For exercise, Jabra’s Sport ($99) and Plantronics’ BackBeat 903+ ($100) are good options. For non-exercise use, JayBird’s Sportsband Bluetooth Headphones ($99) and Sennheiser’s MM 100 ($200) provide better sound.
For our full guide to headphones, along with many more recommendations, see our headphones buying guide.
Chargers and batteries
The iPad’s battery life is commendable, but sometimes you need to eek out a few more hours of use. And of course, you’ll eventually need to recharge. The challenge here is that the iPad requires more juice to charge than other iOS devices, so you need batteries and chargers specifically designed for the tablet.
For iPad-compatible chargers, Griffin Technology’s PowerBlock Plus ($35) offers an iPad-charging USB port along with a built-in AC outlet of its own so you don’t lose an outlet, and Twelve South’s PlugBug ($35) melds with your MacBook’s power adapter—taking the place of the adapter’s own cable or wall plug—to let you charge your MacBook and an iPad from a single outlet. Incase’s Combo Charger ($40) works with both standard wall outlets and the accessory jack in your car, and Scosche’s ReVolt C2 sits flush in your car’s accessory jack while allowing you to charge two iOS devices—even two iPads—at once.
If you need untethered power, look to iPad-compatible batteries. Just Mobile’s Gum Max ($110) and DreamGear’s iSound Portable Power Max ($130) each offer impressive capacity—10,400mAh for the former, and a whopping 16,000mAh, albeit in a much larger package, for the latter. Each can fully charge an iPad with juice left, with the iSound able to charge an iPad twice.
Updated 3/20/2012, 1:30pm, to add link to our article on accessory compatibility.