Look Beyond Megapixels when Choosing the Best Android Device for your Barcode Scanning

A smartphone has become indispensable in our daily lives. Like a mobile personal assistant, it enhances and simplifies our lives socially, thanks to a range of clever tech and software programs deftly packaged into one single, handheld device.

In fact, such is the widespread use of smartphones, with an estimated 3.5 billion users worldwide, that it seems logical to adopt them in our working lives too.

With most people familiar with the use of smartphones, using one multi-functional device for many tasks can result in high rates of employee adoption, an increase in productivity and a reduction in overheads

Scandit’s computer vision technology, integrated into enterprise apps on smart devices, streamlines a plethora of uses across all types of industry, including inventory management, search and find and product re-ordering. And the great news is, Scandit barcode scanning software supports more than 20,000 models of smart devices, including Android models. Watch smartphone barcode scanning in action on any device, under any conditions on any barcode that matches the performance of hardware scanners:

Employees can also use their own device, encouraging many of us to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) to carry out essential work-related tasks and reducing outlay on enterprise-provided devices. But do all Android devices lend themselves equally well to scanning-related processes in the workplace?

You’d be forgiven for thinking that a smartphone’s aptitude for barcode scanning relies solely on the camera resolution. Whilst important, a healthy number of megapixels will help, the best barcode scanning software combines several with other hardware capabilities to deliver the kind of fast, accurate scanning Scandit enables.

To help you choose the best Android device for your app-based barcode scanner, we’ve developed guidance against the top five considerations:

1. Does the camera adapt quickly to changes in lighting?

In an ideal world, all barcodes would be perfectly lit to suit any device with barcode scanning software. That’s rarely the case, with barcodes being located anywhere from a brightly-lit shelf edge, to a dark floor. From dawn to dusk, and often throughout the night, scanners need to respond quickly to changing light conditions and angles, so the speed at which a camera can adjust exposure settings is an important consideration. 

While an LED flash is great for capturing images where light is an issue, in the case of barcodes, the glare from this additional fluorescence can hinder readability. Barcode scanning software works best on a camera with a shutter speed that lengthens when light is low, as well as an image stabilization feature that prevents blur at these slower shutter speeds.

2. Does the camera focus and keep the focus on the object with the barcode?

Some smartphone cameras struggle to adjust and keep focus on the object you want to scan, for instance an item with a barcode on it. Speeding up the scanning process relies on a fast and stable autofocus and is therefore a key consideration when selecting a device.  

3. Does the camera software run image enhancing algorithms that beautify regular photos?

Most smartphone camera users are happy to tweak their images so that they can be displayed at their finest. However, the use of image enhancing algorithms can interfere with the readability of a barcode by softening and distorting lines. 

In order to successfully use your smartphone in conjunction with barcode scanning, you’ll need to check that you can turn off any image enhancing features. 

4. Can the camera focus on objects with little contrast, such as barcodes printed at a very small scale?

The most sophisticated barcode scanning software is able to read barcodes of any quality, regardless of size or background. Here’s where a smartphone camera’s exposure control comes into play. 

With some of the bars on the tiniest codes measuring less than 0.13mm in diameter, and/or placed on dark backgrounds, such as is found on many consumer products, the ability to achieve good resolution is paramount. 

5. Does the camera focus on multiple items?

In many cases, fast and accurate barcode scanning can reduce the time and money spent on routine tasks by up to 40%, especially when used alongside Augmented Reality (AR)

In order to focus on multiple items at once and give your barcode scanning software all it needs to perform, your smartphone will require a fast processor speed. Devices now boast 3.0GHz and above, so you’ll have plenty of choice. As we’ve discussed previously, good camera resolution will also aid multiple barcode scanning performance. 

It’s not all about the pixels

When looking for the best smartphone for your scanning application, these five considerations will help steer you to the right choice. Of course, a good SDK, is a great way to guarantee high-performing scanning in challenging conditions, whatever device you are considering.

Download our Android Device Guide 2020 for more insight on how to choose the best Android device to suit your specific barcode scanning needs. We’d be happy to talk and offer more tailored guidance for your specific smartphone scanning requirements – just contact us by completing this form