I use a fair few apps, but generally I don’t post reviews. I thought I’d start. Downloaded Red Laser – www.redlaser.com – by Ocipital, purely on a whim and because it was in the Top Apps. Yes, I’d normally be cautious of that, but it turned out well…
Basically, when you start the app, you hit a lightning button and then hold the camera over the barcode. An onscreen guide assists in getting the right spot – and when steady the app auto-scans. Once done, Red Laser searches your local Amazon and Google for the best deals.
Firstly, no gushing here. I noticed that a couple of reviewers have said they have been unsuccessful scanning anything; but, my experience has been about 85% success, about 10% scans that identify the item or manufacturer but no detail, and 5% are just wrong. It might prove less than that, as I’ve only scanned a few dozen items and suffered just one truly bad result. So, no it isn’t perfect.
I have found books, DVDs, CDs and games work best – so, I’m not sure what the negative reviewers have been trying to scan. If it’s on your localised Amazon site – you should have no problem.
However, in addition, I’ve had good results with niche food items. It would be good to have a way to search in tandem with a supermarket site; but, despite no such link, I have managed a successful scan of Kraft Vegemite, Anchor Chicken Salt (knew what it was, but no current seller), Skippy Peanut Butter, and even Free & Easy Dairy Free Cheese Flavour Sauce Mix. Yes, the app thought a Tesco’s own brand Tomato Puree was some kind of inflatable ring – but that was the only complete fail. Even where no offer existed, it got the manufacturer of other product right.
Scanning is pretty simple and I’ve had results from barcodes that looked positively unreadable. With the assistance of my Griffin Clarify case, the scanning becomes even easier on the 3G. It isn’t always instant, but more often than not that’s because my hand isn’t steady or the light is poor.
I shop a lot and comparing prices against Amazon means typing the ISBN in again and again. With this, life should be a lot easier.
I hope to see some extension of function to include other search sources; and, I’ve raised a query about Amazon outward links with the developer. Otherwise, I thoroughly recommend this app and look forward to future developments. For £1.19, I don’t feel cheated. This app will get used many times over and it’ll save my poor fingers from all those ISBNs.