How often have come you across a situation where a scale or compass was a necessity? Not often, I know. But at times, there might be an odd job and you might have to measure the length of something or check if the angle of a furniture is right. A scale and a protractor are not the tools one would carry in his pocket these days.
But almost all of us carry a mobile phone. Given the ninja chipsets and all capable hot inventions under the hood, it should not sound far-fetched if someone says your mobile can double up as a portable toolbox. Smart Tools is a mobile toolkit that strives to lend a helping hand when you really need one.
Smart Tools is a virtual toolbox that comes with a bunch of basic tools. Helping you measure anything from length, angle, and distance to sound and even vibration levels, this is one handy app. In all, the app has 14 different tools in four different categories. The app costs $2.50 and is capable of working on mobile devices running Android 1.6 and up.
Measuring Length and Angle
From the launch screen, you can select the category of tool that is right for your measuring needs. The USP of the Smart Tools app is that most of the tools don’t really need getting used to and they are all very intuitive. It goes without saying that the touchscreen plays a pivotal role in measuring the length and angle. However, a small screen real estate doesn’t hinder the measurements in any way (I use an HTC Wildfire which has a relatively tiny screen for an Android phone, but the app was pretty usable and helpful). Use the Menu icon to choose from the multitude of tools available in each category.
I tried to measure the length of my table (okay, a part of it!) and was impressed with the results. Align the mobile to the object in question and run your fingers across the screen to measure it. If the object is lengthier and the screen space runs out, move the mobile to the point where you have measured so far, use the arrow mark and start measuring from where you left. Measurements can be changed to reflect either the metric or imperial system of units.
There are three different protractors for you to select. The first one is the surface level protractor and works just the like the ruler. It’s the camera and augmented reality protractors that grab the attention. Protractor 2 and 3 start measuring angles as soon as you tilt the device. They both come with a weight and vertical line and they reminded me of the one that masons use in construction.
Distance and Height
By using augmented reality, the app deduces the height and distance of the object in question. Yep, I was curious too and immediately went ahead by measuring the height of my MacBook Pro and how far away it actually is from me.
Point the camera at the object and the app will start calibrating the measurements. When you are sure that the position is locked in, use the shutter icon to lock the measurements. This way, the scales are locked and the exact distance and height of the object are displayed on screen. Tap the shutter icon to start measuring again. With this app you can measure anywhere between 1 to 50 meters (3 to 164 feet).
The compass tool makes use of the camera app and is really simple to use. Since the compass screen is hooked to the camera app, you can use the compass to navigate and to see what’s on your way at the same time. This feature (while not very original) ensures that you don’t fall down while tracking your route. Hide the camera icon and it will just display a cute North-South compass!
You can also take advantage of the GPS feature and email the exact location co-ordinates to your friends. Thanks to the magnetic field level display, Smart Tools can act as a metal detector too! The indicator really showed a swing when I brought in near the window and dropped when I kept it on a wooden table.
Sound and Vibration Levels
This is one of the fun features I really enjoyed while trying out the app. The app detects sound and vibrations nearby by using the microphone of your mobile device. I tried blowing into the mic and the decibel meter recorded the variations precisely. Tap the graph icon to monitor decibel variations within the past thirty seconds in a chart.The developer notes that some Android devices might not detect noise and in that case only the vibration feature can be utilized.
Smart Tools app comes with a boatload of tools to measure and quantify. However, not all of the tools might be needed on a daily basis. If you feel that you will hardly be using one or more of the tool kits, you should instead try buying the individual free and pro versions of each one of these four tool kits.
In my opinion, the app does a lot of cool things and the price is indeed right taking into account the wholesome nature of the toolbox. The precision with which the app measure things is simply brilliant. I strongly suggest this app if you are into DIY or need measuring tools more often than the guy next to you.