Is a smartphone camera better than a physical barcode scanner?

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You may wonder why would someone replace a physical barcode scanner with a smartphone? Isn’t a real scanner better?

Acquisition technology

You may be thinking: isn’t a proper barcode scanner better than a smartphone camera?
The short answer is yes, of course yes, and the reason is that they employ a different acquisition technology.

Physical scanners use a light source such as a laser beam in combination with a photodiode that is able to measure the amount of the reflected light and use this information to interpret the barcode.


Speed and Formats support

Since the physical scanners are single-purpose devices they scan faster and more reliably.
But on the other hand, physical scanners are optimized to scan a particular barcode format and won’t work with other formats, whereas a smartphone can scan any type of barcode format such as QR codes simply by installing a proper app.

Form factor

Another advantage of smartphones is their form factor and their availability: since you already have one in your pocket you won’t have to pay the cost of new hardware, buying multiple barcode scanners can get expensive.


A smartphone can be brought anywhere, and thanks to its wireless capabilities you’ll be able to send the data to the computer from another location. This means that you can scan on the go and can get your products’ inventories without having to find and carry a scanner at all times.

Save barcodes

And if the network is not available you can always store the barcodes into the smartphone and send them later to the computer when the connection will be available again.

Enrich the data

Another benefit of using a smartphone is that you can collect additional data and send them to the computer along with the barcodes, as parameters. For example, you may want to save the date and the time when a scan is performed, or, you may want to save the quantity of the product that you’re scanning, and so forth.


Physical barcode scanners are faster, but the smartphones offer features and characteristics that can still help you increase productivity, and speed up your work.


Send barcodes to the computer

If you’re wondering how you can connect your smartphone to the computer, you’re in the right place because we developed an app that allows you to interact with your existing programs on your computer, you can see how it works in this video:


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