iHandy is Half Bob Vila and Half Pancho Villa

iHandySoft’s iHandy Carpenter is like a Swiss Army knife: It has doo-dads you’ll probably never use but it nice to know you have them if you ever have to kill a grizzly bear or yank a fish hook out of your finger.

iHandy Carpenter is a carpenter’s tool kit with a plumb bob, surface level, bubble level, protractor and ruler. You can get to any of these tools by selecting one of five icons on the right side of the screen. Depending on the tool, you have the option of using portrait or landscape modes.

The first thing you do is calibrate the plumb bob, surface level and bubble level. You do that by placing your iPhone of iPod touch against a horizontal or vertical surface that’s straight and level and then tap the calibrate button.

In the Bob Vila column (the pluses) I’d say this is a versatile tool for basic jobs around the house such as hanging a picture or figuring out why your pencil keeps rolling off your desk.

iHandy Carpenter is a great-looking app. The graphics for the tools and the backgrounds are polished to perfection. It’s simple to use and there’s no learning curve. iHandy has three settings that are accessible only for the appropriate tool: calibrate and hold buttons for the plumb bob and level and a slider to adjust the bubble sensitivity.

In the Pancho Villa column (the negatives) I’d say that iHandy Carpenter isn’t going to be of much value to the average do-it-yourselfer. I compared the accuracy of the iHandy’s bubble level with the real deal and found the app is a wee bit off.

I do all the basic carpentry stuff around my house and I can’t remember the last time I used a protractor or a plumb bob. The ruler is too short to be of much use in the real world.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not about to use my expensive iPhone instead of real-life tools that cost a couple of bucks apiece. I can see how it might get out of hand, literally.

Despite the negatives, I like iHandy Carpenter. It’s entertaining. I don’t use it when my wife’s around though. If she sees me with anything that remotely resembles a tool, she’ll find something for me to do.

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