Smart Phone Apps for Builders: Flashlight - Fine Homebuilding

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Digital Job Site

Digital Job Site

Smart Phone Apps for Builders: Flashlight

comments (2) February 16th, 2011 in Blogs
AARONLUBECK Aaron Lubeck, Blogger

iTunes: Flashlight uses the LED light on iPhone 4 and fills your screen with bright white light to illuminate your world when you find yourself in a dark spot or concert.  Includes fully customizable special effects including: Strobe Light, Trippy, S.O.S., Yin-Yang, Halloween, Candy Hearts, Holiday Lights and more!

I need light.  I work in dark spaces such as crawl spaces, storage unit closets, and basements, and do not always have a flashlight with me. 

This app just makes a bright white screen.  You can change the color and create different patterns, but you’re a builder - not a college freshman - so you’ll probably skip the wanna-be lava- lamp functions.
The lumens are quite low, and only enough help just a tad in a dark storeroom, but are not anything close to a work light.

This app’s success is linked to the iPhone’s lumens capability (500 cd/m2 max brightness) , which is not designed to be a flashlight. I did think it was pretty amazing when it came out, but it seems to have a product trajectory of a 1980s video game (I remember thinking ‘Wow, Techmobowl! They’ll never get the graphics more realistic than this!)  It did help me a few times a week in dark spaces, but it doesn’t hold  a candle to a real flashlight or HTC’s LED light. The iPhone 4 added a LED flash, which was designed as a  acute flash for photos, but people have already figured out ways to use it as a flashlight.  HTC has a similar LED flash that works surprisingly well.  I was blown away the first time I saw it.  I expect that LED flashes and flashlights will become ubiquitous on higher end smart phones in the very near future, if they aren’t already.  Either LED flash is vastly superior to the iPhone Flashlight application reviewed here. 

PROS: Convenient light when you need it and do not have a flashlight
CONS: Not much light at all, will often leave you saying, ‘damnit, I wish I had a flashlight!’.

CONCLUSION: Useful now and again, and worth having for older iPhone users, but it’s not going to replace any tools or save you much time.  Creative destruction is fast and furious in the world of smart phones, and this app will soon be obsolete.  You get what you pay for:  It’s free. 
SCORE: 25/100 for iPhone 3Gs and earlier versions.  0/100 for iPhone 4 and later.


--Look for Aaron's upcoming article, Smart Phones for Smart Builders, in the next issue of Fine Homebuilding and right here at

posted in: Blogs, business, smart phone

Comments (2)

rburney rburney writes: Yes it work very well. I have an HTC Droit and I use my phone flashlight for those dark areas in the basement. But my fav is a REAL LED Flashlight like Fenix PD30. It is slightly larger then a cigarette and put out 250+ lumens of bright light. Amazing!

Just google "Fenix flashlights".
Posted: 3:02 pm on February 21st

greherta greherta writes: Also available on Droid phones. Just search flashlight in marketplace. There is a woodworking forum app as well as a dementional conversion app. Just fyi.
Posted: 12:24 pm on February 21st

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