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Attachable Scanner VS Phone App



December 10, 2018

Though it may be a sore and worrisome subject for barcode scanning manufacturers, the best manufacturers need to know their competition, so testing out these downloadable scanners was imperative. At first glance, the apps are seemingly reliable. Under a microscope, there were some flaws that could hang up some companies’ workflows.  

Pros of Phone Scanning Apps

After reviewing a short list of impressive scanning applications, they were found to be quick, easy, and inexpensive.

QR Reader  (free) –Scans QR codes, barcodes, puzzles, business cards and documents.

Quick Scan (free)– Scans and decode all QR codes, including contact, detail, plain text, website URL, telephone number, SMS message, email address, email message, calendar event, locations and more.

Scandit Flow (free trial) – A web-configurable mobile app that supports custom enterprise barcode scanning workflows, including Mobile Inventory Management, Mobile Asset Tracking and Mobile Proof of Delivery; save scanned barcodes to a list, or scan barcodes to complete forms, access websites and more.

Barcode  Reader for iPhone (free) – Compares the prices of products on thousands of online shopping websites.

Some applications are customizable, support multiple devices, provide time stamping and, best of all, the applications are inexpensive, anywhere from FREE to $10 to download. It’s not a bad price for a small business that needs a quick and simple way of capturing data, in-spite of the Apps limitations.


Limitations with Phone Scanning Apps

The pros of the attachable far outweigh the pros of a scanning application, and there are way more variations of cons with Apps than there are with attachable scanners. Each negative trait varies from App to App. However, there are some cons and possible issues that apply to all scanning applications.

  • Limited Support on Symbologies - not all barcodes can be scanned, nor are the settings modified easily
  • Limited Users – each scanning session requires logging into an application that is not shared between users
  • Slow Scanning Ability – taking images of a barcode is inherently slower than scanning with an actual barcode scanner
  • Drains Phone Battery – smart phones notoriously lose battery power quickly when an App is running and using a scanner App for an hour or so of work drains power even faster
  • Limit Customization – an application is set with its own abilities and is therefore limited

Attachable Scanner Pros

An attachable scanner provides the same convenience as using an App (using your smart phone for work) while maintaining a small size and providing much more.

  • Extended battery life of phone
  • Faster scanning ability
  • More economical for companies (with BYOD - bring your own device – policy)
  • Dependable technology

In addition, Socket Mobile’s 800 attachable scanner can be customized (select symbologies, vibrations and tones, modes, etc.), has Bluetooth® wireless technology, is made with antimicrobial material, is certified by Apple® for iOS devices and compatible with Android and Windows.

For most people, the main downside of an attachable scanner is the compared price, which can be about a couple hundred dollars or more per unit. However, depending on your barcode scanning usage, buying in bulk could save you money, which is why buyers should ask about channel-based pricing to get the best deal. Also, consider that purchasing a reliable scanner is an important investment for your business’ POS (point of sale) system. If you’re looking to expand your business and be an integral part of your industry, investing in a dependable and versatilely functional scanner is the best way to outfit your team.


Phone Attachments

Understandably, everyone is so reliant on their smart phone’s versatility that it is hard to imagine anything their phone can’t do. What may seem as endless possibilities for a smart phone is not currently the case. However, attachments to a cell phone are quickly becoming the answer to that problem.

Motorola has come out with several mods/attachments for the Moto Z cell phone –  Speaker, Projector, and the True Zoom camera attachment. Samsung is using their phone as an attachment for virtual reality with their Gear VR.

Thanks to attachments, smart phones’ abilities are reaching new heights. While mobile phones offer numerous apps, their line of tools are becoming as handy as an army pocket knife.

End Result

Despite the fact “there’s an App for that” is a common mentality, that doesn’t mean an application is the best solution for any problem. The cheapest handheld scanner is about $10, with quality that is probably on par with an application, though obviously bulkier. Buy cheap, get cheap – as the saying goes.

Yes, your cell phone can probably be a part of everything that you do. It just can’t actually DO everything you need it to do. Attaching a high-grade scanner, camera, speaker, or VR gear is still a convenient means to get work or a project done. Today, your cell phone is still necessary as the ultimate accessory for attachments. But, getting your job done with an application may not always be the best decision.


Read More:
Learn more about applications versus barcode scanners in How Barcode Scanners Compare to Scanning Apps
Learn more in
Reasons to Choose a Wireless Bluetooth Barcode Scanner