While Nokia Maps and Drive (now rebranded as HERE Maps & Drive) have become available to other Windows Phone 8 users, the one location app that’s still a Nokia exclusive is City Lens. HERE City lens is an app that use augmented reality to show users points of interest around them. It uses a live feed from the camera’s viewfinder and places POIs on top of what you’re seeing through it, thus letting you know what is where.
This application has been available for a while, but despite all this time I didn’t really use it much. My belief was that it was more of a marketing tool for Nokia to get the WOW! rather than an app that could actually be useful in the real world. I was mistaken. While on a recent trip to San Francisco, I didn’t pack for the weather and needed to shop. Since, I had no clue about where I should be headed or which stores were around me, I decided to give City Lens a go on the Lumia 928, and I was impressed.
Once you launch the app, it lets you choose the kind of POI’s you want to see around you.
Then, you can just pan the camera around and see what is where, and how far it is.
But that’s not all, it you put the phone down, but still have it in the landscape mode, it will plot all those places on the map.
Finally, if you turn the phone into portrait mode, it will simply display a POI’s in a list, sorted by distance. Really useful if you’re looking to browse quickly.
Here’s a look at the app on video:
I liked how the application responds to the manner in which you’re holding the phone. very smart and elegant. So the next time you’re in an unfamiliar location, don’t forget to give HERE City Lens a try, chances are that you’ll like what you see.