Shopping can be tricky. Since products can be bought online and in stores, finding the best deal can be time consuming. That’s why there are several barcode scanning applications on the Android marketplace and we have rounded up five of the best.
Each application has a primitive barcode scanning function but some offer additional searching options including online and store pricing.
To see which app is best suited for your bargain hunting needs, read on…
The AmazonBarcode application is simple, detailed and looks great. It deals only with Amazon sites, but it does allow you to select which site to search on, so you can search for products on your local site. From the startup screen, you have the choice of scanning a barcode using the phone’s camera functionality, looking at the recent search history, or searching Amazon directly through a keyword search. The search is done in-app and does not need to open an external browser like similar apps in this list. Once a barcode is scanned, the item description page is brought up and you can “add to cart” or “add to wishlist” or choose from several other options normally seen on the Amazon webpage.
This application features the ability to choose whether you are buying or selling on Amazon. You can select the desired option and continues the search in the same way as buying. When an item is scanned, a verification screen is brought up and you proceed through the normal steps of posting an item to sell on Amazon.
AmazonBarcode is a great app for someone who does a lot of shopping on Amazon. Even if you don’t, seeing the available prices of an item gives you a better understanding of what you can expect to pay. The app is simple, clean and fast. It looks sharp and performs very well.
Barcode Scanner is very plain. Upon opening it automatically scans for barcodes using the phone’s camera; once a scan is complete, the product is identified and you are left with three options: Product Search, Web Search and Google Shopper. Since both are free, if you have space on your phone, get both. Barcode Scanner does what it promises but does not allow extra options or a wide array of features like other apps in this list.
MobileTag is the app that offers the most options. It scans barcodes, QR codes, flashcodes and datamatrix codes. The scanner will automatically detect which type of code it is scanning and, upon completion of the scan, open a webpage, using the phone’s browser, showing a description of what was just scanned along with the best offered price. Below the item are options to see web prices, store prices and comments on the item. The app offers a history, limited settings (including the preferred currency), and a profile setup (mainly so the Mobiletag can know who is using the app and what sort of searches different age groups are doing).
MobileTag looks clean and polished even though it does not have many extra features. It performs well and looks good. It finds the items scanned without any major flaws or inaccurate searches and performs the searches quickly. It does, however, come with a warning: the app works well when it works, but it can be temperamental and does crash.
ScanLife Barcode Reader is another plain and simple scanner. Much like Barcode Scanner, ScanLife immediately opens up the phone’s camera and takes you to a screen that allows for the scanning of barcodes. Once a scan is complete, a screen identifying the product is loaded. On this page, prices are shown and an option to rescan is given. This process is done in-app, though there is an option given to open the page in a browser. If a scan is completed and the app cannot find the product, you can click a button that opens a Google search of the barcode in the phone’s browser. ScanLife also offers a stored history so you can check back on previous scans and searches.
In my tests, ScanLife did not perform extremely well. Popular items such as Blu-ray movies often resulted in a “could not find item” page. The clickable Google search did find the item using the barcode number, but this an unnecessary extra step.
ShopSavvy is well put together. The home screen offers a live feed of what other users are scanning, showing prices of numerous objects. This page shows the item as well as online prices, local stores, and in-app reviews of the product. The local store option is helpful but it is limited when searching for stores.
ShopSavvy does a decent job of finding prices online, giving you a selection to choose from. Clicking on a price takes you to the website offering the product by opening the phone’s browser. It keeps a history of the items you scan and allows you to share items you find through email, Twitter and Facebook.
ShopSavvy has several features that add to the productivity and usefulness of the app, including the ability to search for products via a keyword search and an option to create shopping lists and saved scanned items to the list.
ShopSavvy Barcode Scanner has a clean look and is well organized. The screen is not cluttered and the extra options are helpful. It does well to identify products and give you an idea of product price ranges.
Of the five apps listed here, AmazonBarcode is my favorite. It may not have a superfluous amount of options, but it focuses on one and does that extremely well. ShopSavvy comes a close second because it has a clean interface and can find and identify products quickly through the barcode and keyword search. BarcodeScanner comes in next and Scanlife is right behind that; neither were great but they do scan codes and help you find items and prices.
Mobiletag QRCode Scanner deserves an honourable mention. The app works very well and has the additional features of scanning more than just UPC barcodes, but in the time I’ve spent with it, it crashed several times. If the crashing problems can be fixed, it deserves to be either the favorite or a close second.
If you have the space on your phone for just one, it is between ShopSavvy and AmazonBarcode; the former is probably preferred as it searches outside of Amazon, but if you do a lot of Amazon shopping then AmazonBarcode is worth the download. For the price conscious shopper, ShopSavvy Barcode Scanner and AmazonBarcode are two must-have apps for any Android device.