Camera-Based Scanner vs. Bluetooth Barcode Scanner

Camera-Based Scanning

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Summary

Using the phone's camera is a good solution for general-purpose usage such as price checking or scanning a QR code.

Pros

  • Set-up - Virtually no set up if required barcodes are supported.
  • Cost - No need to pay for new scanners. Purchasing multiple barcode scanners can be costly.
  • Photo-ability - Take pictures and attach them directly to data for timely problem solving.
  • Multitasking - Perform multiple functions such as taking a picture, passing images to applications, notating date & time and passing quantities.
  • Anytime Scanning - Smartphones are carried by most people and go everywhere. Scan on the go without carrying a scanner.
  • Storage - If a network is not available, you can store the barcodes into the phone to send later.

Cons

  • Scanning Ability - Limited read range.
  • Battery Life - Powering the screen and running applications on the OS while scanning drains the phone’s battery more quickly.
  • Ergonomics - Phones are heavy and not designed for repetitive scanning motions and angles.
  • Setup - Camera systems are more complicated and take longer to set up than a barcode scanner.
  • Security - Data scanned on a device opens the opportunity for information to be shared outside. BYOD requirement makes it even easier for confidential info to leak.
  • Total Cost of Ownership - A barcode scanner has a longer lifespan. It does not rely on the latest technology to operate, therefore, won't require replacement as often as a smartphone.
  • Replacement Cost - Smartphones can be easily damaged while scanning. The replacement is more costly than a dedicated barcode scanner. Even with protective cases/enterprise sleds, smartphone screens can easily crack, which is expensive to repair and can make the device unusable.
  • Lost Productivity - If the smartphone breaks before transferring data, the data will need to be rescanned.
  • Operating System Updates - Smartphones require regular software and OS updates; barcode scanners do not.
  • Speed - Slow scanning capabilities, especially in difficult lighting conditions.
  • Limited Scanning - Not ideal for more than 20 scans per day.

Bluetooth Barcode Scanners

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Summary

A dedicated barcode scanner is the best for large quantities of scanning, efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Pros

  • Performance - Barcode scanners are intended for a single purpose making them faster and more reliable than a smartphone.
  • Read Range - Reading range on a scanner is greater than a phone, allowing you to scan a variety of barcode sizes and distances.
  • Ergonomics - Scanners are lightweight, minimizing wrist movement and protecting the user from heavy repetitive motions.
  • Battery Life - Barcode scanners have sleep modes and are only "on" when pulling the trigger or reading a barcode. Battery life is considerably longer than a smartphone.
  • Integration - Scanner doesn't require any drivers or specific software to use with a computer.
  • Security -Since scanners are not designed to store or share data, there is minimal danger of a data breach. You cannot download data-altering apps or other software onto the scanner.
  • Cost Efficiencies - Scanners are single-purpose devices, less complex and less expensive to buy and maintain.
  • Total Cost of Ownership - Barcode scanners do not rely on the latest technology to perform and don't need to be replaced as often as a smartphone.
  • Replacement cost - Smartphones are not designed to be scanners and can be easily damaged. A barcode scanner is less expensive to replace if broken.
  • Extensive Scanning - Great for 100+ scans per day, saving substantial time and comfort.

Cons

  • Photo-ability - Barcode scanners can't take pictures.