Measurement tool apps – they appear plentiful in the App Store, but it’s one of those things talk about ideally rather than realistically. “Wouldn’t it be great if one actually worked in practice, rather than just in theory?”
1. Distance and Elevation
2. Distance and Height
3. Distance, Height and Width
Of course, in order for SpectaRuler to be accurate, you’re facing some pretty daunting instructions from the start, which may be off-putting for some users. But if you give about 10 minutes of time to setting up the app and reading the tips, actually taking measurements takes less than a minute.
The first thing I did was set my shoe size. Like everything about this app, the shoe settings are specific – U.S., U.K., European sizes and more, mens, womens or childrens, and regular or athletic. Then you have to calibrate the device, which takes just a few seconds – the easiest way is to press your iPhone in a doorstop so that the back and right side are both held in place. Then come the instructions, which are lengthly but imperative to taking accurate measurements. And like I said, you only have to read them once. The instructions also come with helpful “do” and “do not” pictures regarding how to hold and angle your phone while taking pictures.
Depending on which of the three measurement choices you select, the process will be a little different. You start out by holding the phone at eye level, following the instructions on where to place the crosshair (either in the center or top of the object you are measuring). Then you take six heel/toe steps toward the object and take one or two more pictures.
The one small problem I ran into was in the cases where I had to drag the “X” markers on the screen to the four corners of the object. The Xs aren’t super-responsive, and twice in trying to drag down the one in the bottom left corner I accidentally swiped the “back” button and had to start over. An “Are you sure you want to start over?” window would solve that problem easily.
When you finish, you’re given the measurements and dimensions you asked for, and you can toggle between feet and meters. However, you need to either take a screenshot or jot them down, because there’s no “Save” option.
I started out trying to measure my refrigerator, but sadly could not get six steps away (my apartment is rather tiny). But I measured cabinets, doors and desks with total success. And measuring buildings and other particularly large objects is actually pretty fun. And for only three bucks? Highly recommended.
SpectaRuler [iTunes Link] requires iPhone OS 4.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.