I was at Home Depot the other day getting some solder for lighting up my Eldar display board when I spotted this guy. A sonic tape measure with laster target for only 12 bucks. My old laser pointer had died, and I figured having one that also measured distances would be handy. Plus the Doctor has sonic; sonics are cool.
I wasn't going to whip it out in a table top game until I tested out its accuracy, so I put together a nice experimental procedure. I designed an experiment to verify it against models of various sizes, models that where partially obscured, and models on softer surfaces.
Having put all that thought into how I was going to test it; I lined up my first test procedure. I placed a marine model at 12 inches(the tapes minimum measurement distance), and that's when things started to go wrong. Even though I was putting the laser on the model, the distance was measuring over 3 feet. I was able to get some accurate measurements at 18 to 24 inches if I aimed at the model base, but everything else was rubbish. I think the tape was having problems reading such a small irregular surface.
I though I would at least give it a shot against a nice flat vehicle, so I tried it on a Razorback. I was able to get measurements to it, but the device's margin of error kicked in. It was reading the tank as being 2 to3 inches farther away than it actually was. A .05% MoE works out to 2.5 inches at 4 feet, and I was seeing slightly worse performance.
In conclusion it looks like you need to have been born on Galifrey to get any use out of sonic tools. I'd be interested in seeing if I could find a different model that performs with better accuracy, but I'll probably stick to old fashioned retractable steel tape measures.