Features & Use
Test device: Samsung Galaxy Note
Android version: 2.3.6
It doesn't take long to install 4,25 MB. A quick glance at the required permissions – which seem transparent – and we're good to go.
Smart Tools is a collection of five pro versions of individual tool boxes, containing 15 apps each. Each application can be purchased separately, either as free apps with ad banners or pay-for full versions with their full spectrums of functionality. Smart Tools is a mega app that combines all of the full apps and doesn't feature ad banners. Here are the five categories it's organised into:
Smart Ruler Pro: length, angle and gradient
Smart Measure Pro: height, width and surface
Smart Compass Pro: direction, metal detector and GPS
Sound Meter Pro: sound pressure measurer and vibrometre
Smart Light Pro: torch/flashlight
Each consists of individual tools, and while we won't go into detail for every available tool, we'll do our best to give you a good general overview of the application's scope of functionality.
Part 1: Smart Ruler Pro
To use the ruler function, hold your smartphone next to the object you wish to measure. Another – more effective – technique is to carefully place the object on the phone's display. Then use your fingers to position to lines that will then indicate the exact measurement in both millimeters and inches.
The angle metre I works in a similar manner, whereas angle metre II is equipped with a digital pendulum which can be halted by touching the screen. The same goes for angle metre III, which further accesses your device's camera feature, providing a lot of angle-related details. It goes without saying that a steady hand is called for to get the best results.
Finally, there's a digital air level feature.
Part 2: Smart Measure Pro
Use the distance measurer to measure – you guessed it – distances to objects and their heights based on trigonometry principles. The device's camera is again accessed, and it is crucial to follow the in-app instructions in order to achieve the best results. The results, while not 100% exact, are surprisingly accurate.
Widths and surfaces can also be measured. Calibrate the app if ever the results seem dodgy.
Part 3 Smart Compass Pro
The compass part is pretty self explanatory. What intrigued me more was the metal detector function. I approached this odd little feature with a good dose of skepticism, but what can I say: it works. The electro magnetic wave sensor is accurate and reacts to metal.
Calibrating is a good idea at this point, as well as examining your smartphone to determine where electro magnetic waves are measured.
Part 4: Sound Meter Pro
Noisy neighbours? Time to measure the sound so that you have scientific proof to back your complaints. Next time they turn up Grindcore or Gabba at 3AM and you think a fighter jet just zoomed through your walls, whip out your smartphone and measure the noise.
Measuring vibrations is also possible, in case you want to give people a head's up of possible earthquakes, for instance. There's a scale from I to XII, I standing for vibrations that are only perceptible by animals and XII indicating a cataclysm that would wipe the planet earth slate clean once and for all. I tried reaching it by shaking the Note like a maniac, but luckily never made it to the big XII.
Part 5: Smart Light Pro
This harbours a torch/flashlight feature that runs via the LED flash of your device as well as the display. If you haven't yet installed a torch on your phone this could be a nice option, though I have to be frank and say that I find this feature to be somewhat superfluous in what is otherwise a suberbly curated tool box. There are much better torch alternatives out there; Tiny Flashlight springs to mind.
Smart Tools is the ultimate virtual tool box, nay, shed. Bearing in mind that the measurements will never be as precise as when using actual tools, it's pretty impressive what can be achieved using a smartphone in combination with this crafty app.
Screen & Controls
While the graphics are perfectly functional and logical, the overall design could be a bit prettier for my liking, especially in regards to the main screen.
I have only good things to say about the controls, on the other hand. The Smart Tools main menu allows you to access all tools and settings (except for the torch). Under settings you may change or calibrate certain parameters (measuring systems, wallpaper colours, statistics, sounds, etc.)
My one complaint is in regards to the main menu's lack of uniformity: for instance, when using the Smart Ruler Pro you will find a drop down menu via which other apps can be accessed, whereas in Smart Compass Pro this can only be achieved via the smartphone's/tablet's menu button.
Speed & Stability
Smart Tools performed very well throughout our test runs. That said, a quick glance at the comments made by other Android users reveals that this doesn't seem to be the case for everyone. On a brighter note, the developers seem to respond to user comments very quickly and are forthcoming with troubleshooting.
The pro versions of most individual apps cost EUR 0,75, and all of them are well worth the money, excluding the torch. Hence, the full package – five apps and all of their combined tools– rounds up to EUR 3,75, but it can be purchased for EUR 2,18 from our App Center.
Smart Tools is our app of the week and we have a special deal for you: it can be downloaded for only 99 Cents.