Augmented reality apps are a big part of the modern smartphone experience. And some of these apps are better than others. If there’s a definitive AR app out there, then Layar is definitely the one.
|Reviewed version||Latest version|
Features & Use
Layar shares with Wikitude World Browser the position of a true pioneer in the AR business. The app has been around since 2009, but there’s been a lot of work done on it. So how does it compare to its closest competitors? It goes without saying that every single smartphone today has a camera, GPS, compass and acceleration sensor. Layar uses all of these sensors to create a virtual image of your surroundings. Using the GPS or mobile network data, the app locates your accurate position, which is then superimposed into your camera view. The motion sensors in your phone help adjust what you see on your screen according to which direction you’re facing.
And that’s exactly what makes Layar so practical! All sorts of information about businesses can be integrated into the augmented reality on our screen. Think Google Places meets the Yellow Pages and you’ll understand exactly what Layar is about. Through the camera lens, Layar shows you exactly where the closest restaurant, bar or cinema is located – and all of it in 3D! There are different layers to choose from based on specific categories. Keep in mind that some layers are limited to certain cities. Just like with regular online maps, you click on something on the screen to receive more detailed information or open the place’s website.
Layar knows no limits – the amount of information is only limited by the amount of businesses and locations that share their info with Layar. This app could potentially be a life-saver when you’re travelling through an unknown city. Let’s say you’re desperately lost somewhere in the middle of Brooklyn. Layar creates a street map that is completely integrated with what you can see around you. Just point your phone in any direction and get instant information about restaurants, public buildings and much much more. Passed a concert hall on your way? Simply point your phone’s camera at the building to see a detailed list of upcoming events.
Layar is made of the following sections:
- Favorites: Your favorite layers
- Recent: Layer history
- Layers: Layers divided into Featured, Popular and New. Each one of these categories is then subdivided into Nearby, Country and Worldwide. Very practical and easy to use.
- Settings: Here you can login into your account (can be done with your regular Facebook or Twitter account) and adjust some other minor options.
Bottom Line: Layar is hands-down the best AR app around. Apps such as this one are going to define the way we live in the future and Layar is a true trailblazer!
Sorry about the screenshots, but it was impossible to capture full view.
Screen & Controls
Layar is extremely user-friendly and has a very solid outer appearance. Both the menu and the camera view are really well designed. The controls are also a piece of cake. Now that’s a great combo!
Speed & Stability
The app is as stable as a rock in terms of performance and speed. Everything works smoothly and without fail. Layar does, however, sometimes take a couple of extra seconds do load the layers, but it’s nothing to really complain about.