How Do Barcode Scanners Compare to Scanning Apps?

November 12, 2018 by Amelia Albanese | BLOG

SocketScan 800 Series (1 of 1)

A host devices’ camera is designed to take pictures, not to decode barcodes. Scanning barcodes requires a careful two-step process– first focusing the device’s camera on a barcode to be clear on the screen, and then scanning. The user then must toggle out of their device’s screen to view anything other than the scanned barcode. This affects the speed of the workflow. Every barcode must go through the same process – refocusing, then scanning.

Tests (conducted by Socket Mobile) prove using a phone application to scan a barcode can take 2-3 times longer than a barcode scanning solution. The process can take even longer with variables such as unsteady hands or in a mobile environment (i.e. moving vehicle). A phone’s camera does not focus easily because it does not have a designated aimer like a proper barcode scanner does. 

A device’s battery also drains faster on a phone than with a scanning app. Barcode scanning requires the phone taking images and supporting an application that decodes barcode data, which drains the battery faster.

In addition, toggling the same screen used for scanning barcodes and checking the list of scanned barcodes is a hassle and time-consuming.

The cost of application upgrades and the requirements for changing devices depends on the app. 

What can you expect from an application that uses a smartphone device’s camera for scanning? 

·       Cheaper setup costs

·       Slow solution – 2-3 times slower than a designated scanner

·       Costly overtime– Requiring 2-3 more people to complete a 1-person job

·       Drains device battery faster

·       No scanning aimer provided

·       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

·       Limited customization – An application is set with its own abilities and is therefore limited


With a Socket Mobile scanner, data can be transferred to your desired application with a simple point and press of the button. On the device screen, users can observe the data assigned to the corresponding barcode with no need to toggle back and forth between screens.  

Socket Mobile provides a range of options for handheld scanners, including scanners which allow you to connect to mobile devices. With this feature, Socket Mobile offers an ergonomic one-handed and long-lasting scanning solution, improving the convenience of a device's downloaded application. 

Using a barcode scanner that transfers data to a designated device via Bluetooth® wireless technology:

·       Cost-effective investment

·       Fast solution – 2-3 times faster than a scanning app

·       Long-lasting battery power – Up to two work shifts

·       Scanning aimer – Provides speedy/accurate reading

·       Dependable technology – Built specifically for barcode scanning jobs

·       Customization options – Select symbologies, vibrations and tones, modes, etc.


Although barcode scanning applications are reasonable and cost-friendly, designated barcode scanning devices prove to be a more usable, long-term option.

Try it free.

Test out our data reading and scanning technology for free with SocketCam. The SocketCam C820 lets you scan directly into your feature application using the camera on your mobile device, ensuring high-performance scanning without the need for an external barcode scanner.