These days many a smartphone is bought based on its camera functionalities. Huawei changed the smartphone camera game with its P20 Pro and P30 Pro devices, giving many photography-obsessed users a reason to switch or stick to the Android operating system. But the camera on your Android smartphone can be used for a lot more than just taking selfies and recording cute videos to share on social media. Here are just a few ingenious alternative uses for the camera on your Android smartphone.
A low-cost scanner for documents
No scanner at home? No problem! There are loads of Android apps that turn your smartphone into a portable document scanner. Apps like CamScanner enable you to scan multipage documents and whiteboards before saving them as images or PDF files. Some scanner apps even let you convert scanned text into an editable Google Docs document while apps like Expensify enable you to scan invoices or receipts, and then transcribe the data.
Your guide to the stars in the sky
Forget investing in an expensive telescope, your smartphone is the perfect stargazing tool for budding astronomers. Apps like SkyView Free enable you to use your camera to precisely spot and identify celestial objects in the sky, day or night. Point your phone at the sky to identify galaxies, stars, constellations, planets, and satellites (including the ISS and Hubble) passing overhead at your location.
A magnifying glass
Need a magnifying glass in a pinch? There are dozens of apps that turn your smartphone into a handy magnifying glass. Magnificent Magnifier HD, for example, can zoom into small objects and take pictures of their detail. It can double as reading glasses, and even serves as a pocket microscope on cameras with powerful enough zoom.
Translate foreign text
In a strange country with no way to read the airport or train signs? With the Google Translate app you can point your smartphone camera at a sign or document to get an instant translation. This feature already supports dozens of languages, making it essential for frequent travellers.
Learn about the world around you
Another great app for travellers! If you’re in a foreign place and want to know more about the sites around you, the Google Lens app will turn your Android device into a mobile visual search engine. Point your camera at a landmark to learn more about it, identify the breed of the unusual dog you met at the park, scan QR codes or find clothes or furniture similar to something that caught your eye – the options are endless.
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