With the age of smartphones maturing, things like performance matter less and less for every day that goes by. Most smartphones feature an optimal level of performance for daily operation and gaming on smartphones is still a very niche thing due to the limitations of touchscreens, making the performance gains of more luxurious devices matter less that one would think.

The desire to own a unique smartphone is a thing many demand as smartphones are definitely seen as status symbols in the modern age, just like cars were and are. Unique smartphone hardware which attracts looks from strangers and fine-tuned software which pops from the screen is all part of that.

Making your smartphone unique is something tech-enthusiasts consider a must, while less informed people see it as a great addition, less as a focus. This does not mean that it cannot be done or that it's hard.

Hardware

Making your smartphone hardware may not be a simple thing as it usually requires taking apart your smartphone or sending it in to companies like ColorWare which can take a couple of weeks to process. To most people, especially young teenagers, this much time without a smartphone is pure suffering, so we do not advise sending your devices in anywhere, both because of the of the time it takes and because of the high price tag.

For the more brave-hearted people, taking apart an iPhone and replacing the Apple logo with a glowing LED alternative is a very interesting project which can be worth it depending on who you are.

Modifying hardware is inefficient and dificult, but the results are unbeatable.

For the vast majority of users, a very inexpensive and easy way to customise your current smartphone hardware is to use decals and skins. The most popular skin maker on the market is dbrand. dbrand is famous for its extreme selection of skins, configurations and the quality of their products which means we can recommend them in a heartbeat.

The easiest and least painful method to own a unique smartphone is to buy unique hardware from the start. This is the least economic approach but also the most effective one. Modern unique smartphones include the iPhone X, Essential Phone, ZTE Axon M and many more. These devices definitely stand out from the crowd and will catch more than one eye on the streets, especially if combined with custom software like jailbroken iOS or rooted Android

Get the iPhone X from Amazon

Software

Customising your smartphone software is usually the easier part. If you own an Android device, the process is especially simple as all you have to do is download a custom launcher, like Nova Launcher, and one of the thousands of icon packs available on the Play Store. If you own a modern Samsung device or a Xiaomi device you can even customise many parts of the system thanks to the support for custom themes.

The most popular Android launcher is undoubtedly Nova Launcher, which is a go-to solution for a lot of technology enthusiasts. While it's a powerful option for customising your device, a lot of users would be just as happy with the snappier Lawnchair which is free without a premium version and includes basic customisation options. For the ultimate customisation experience, we recommend Nova Launcher Prime as it's the option which gives you the most flexibility.

Get Nova Launcher Prime from Google Play

The story is a little bit different if you opt for an iOS device. iOS is not a very open system and Apple ensures you stay in their ecosystem by locking down a lot of things like customisation. Thankfully, jailbreaking your device is possible which allows you to do almost anything you would want with your system.

Escaping Apple's walled garden is not simple, but absolutely worth it.

There are many icon packs for jailbroken iOS devices as well as many "tweaks" which modify the functionality of system components. fortunately, odds are that you will not be able to jailbreak your device straight away. Apple is quick to push security patches to their devices and downgrading iDevices is a very hard process which is impossible with new devices anyway.

If you don't mind waiting a couple of months for a jailbreak, or if you're lucky and get a jailbreakable firmware, the end result is very satisfying.

Accessories

In order to make your device really stand out from the crowd, you need to pair it with unique accessories. Some of those include mainstream options like AirPods and a smartwatch, however, there are even more unique alternatives out there and those won't cost you a liver.

The most visible part of your device is usually the back and the sides. That's where a unique case comes into play. Some of the unique options include the Advent Titanium Case or Apple's own case collection, however, the options which will draw attention the most are way less expensive.

The Luphie case for the iPhone X and the Unnammed Batman bumper case for the Samsung Galaxy S8 are both affordable and both have a very unique, eye-catching, look.

The cases are vastly different both in terms of functionality as well as design. The Batman Case is using a rubberised finish with some minor metal components, which means it will feel less premium but will result in much more grippiness. The Luphie case is an all-aluminium design with coloured accents like red, purple and classic silver, depending on what you choose to go with.

Of the two options, the Luphie case is the less protective one, as it features an open back and metal, as mentioned earlier. The Batman Case will protect the phone much better as it has a mostly-closed-back design which even manages to fit in a kickstand for media viewing purposes. The batman case also looks sharper which will attract more attention than the more unique, but not as eye-catching, Luphie case.

Get the Luphie iPhone X case from Amazon Get the Batman Galaxy S8 case from Amazon

It's important to note that there are many different alternatives out there too, so you're not stuck with these two options which depend on your phone model. You can visit local shops or browse through Amazon in order to find the perfect case which suits the exact setup you're aiming for.

Another way to personalise your smartphone actually has to do with the charging cable. If you're either a current or former MacBook user, you are likely familiar with MagSafe, which is Apple's, now deprecated, standard for charging MacBooks which included a smart magnet that ensured the charger would easily connect to the computer but also disconnect in case you yanked the cable by accident.

MagSafe on your phone is as great as it sounds.

This mechanism has been copied by numerous manufacturers and put into cables for mobile devices. While a magnet sounds like a bad thing to connect a charging cable to, the magnets are strong and will withstand using the device while charging, however, they will also protect it from following the cable in case you trip over it as the magnets have been balanced to ensure safety and ease of use.

The only negative part of having a magnet-powered charging cable is that it needs an adapter which slightly sticks out from the devices. MagSafe was incorporated into Apple's devices, meaning that there was no need for an adapter. As Lighting Ports, USB-C nor Micro USB don't include magnets by default, the "blob" that's inserted into your charging port is necessary.

The good part is that many cases will hide it. It's not that big, and if you opt for a case like the Luphie case series, the magnet adapter will blend in with the case making it dissappear and even look better than without the adapter as you're filling in the opening for the charging port on the case, which usually looks dull and boring.

Get the Volta Magnetic charging cable from Amazon

Take good care of your hardware

This may seem obvious to some people, but what makes your phone look the most unique is keeping it's condition in a perfect shape. A shiny, scratch-free phone will always outperform a phone in a cool case or even one with some interesting software.

Applying a tempered glass screen protector is a great way to keep your phone in excellent shape and make sure it stays fresh, which also boosts the resale value as nobody want's to buy a scratched up, or even shattered, device. The issue with screen protectors is that they are awfully ugly. Thankfully, there are some clever solutions to this problem on the market.

The issue with screen protectors is that they are awfully ugly.

Hands down, best looking screen protectors on the market are the ones that adjust to the curve of your device's screen and that have bezels, as crazy as that sounds. As popular devices nowaday are trying to hide the bezels as much as possible, this type of screen protectors sound like a bad idea, but in this case, more is less.

By applying a screen protector that includes a bezel, you actually minimise the bezel and make the screen protector blend into the device, making it almost impossible to notice, even while using! As regular tempered glass protectors usually don't include the bezels of the device, their corners and sensor cutouts are very distracting and, more importantly, ugly.

But the looks of a screen protector isn't the only thing you should factor in while chosing a screen protector. It also has to be durable and possibly include some additional functions. One of such cases is the Vintar iPhone X Privacy Screen. Not only is the protector durable and has full 3D coverage of the screen (which means it curves on the sides for full protection) it also includes a privacy function, as noted by the name of the product.

While the privacy screen protector can degrade the quality of your screen a tiny but, it might be worth it depending on how paranoid you are regarding strangers checking out your private messgaes, photos or other objects on the screen. The privacy screen protector works by blocking light on the angles, blocking out all light from the screen that would normally be spotted by the stranger sitting next to you on the buss.

While not a thing for everyone, privacy screen protectors are definitely a very useful thing in particular use cases and they aren't even that expensive, which just makes it all even better.

If you're not the paranoid type and you value display quality very highly, a privacy screen protector may not be what you're looking for. Thankfully, yhere are full 3D screen protectors on the market that serve just as well in terms of durability and design. One of those options is the NiocTech iPhone X screen protector which also promisses to be "boubble-free", but that's a marketig term we'd recommend not paying too much attention to. Nontheles, the application should be fairly simple and straightforward while the results should be barely noticeable, but that's a good thing.

Get the Vintart Anti-Spy on Amazon Get the NiocTech Screen Protector on Amazon

Conclusion

Making your smartphone stand out from the crowd may seem like a hard thing to do as everyone carries a Samsung or an iPhone of the exact same model nowadays, but that's not necessarily true. While buying unique hardware from the start is the best way to go, owning a very generic smartphone doesn't mean you have to keep it dull and boring.

All you need is a few spare dollars and some patience.