Best App for Comparison Shopping
Behind bars: Scan a product by lining up its barcode in RedLaser’s crosshairs. It takes only a moment for the app to read the barcode and give you its results. The scan works exceptionally well with the iPhone 3GS and its autofocus camera (and serviceably on earlier iPhones, too). The app’s huge library of barcodes can recognize nearly any product—books, CDs, electronics, groceries, even your favorite hot sauce, as shown here.
Price-conscious: After it reads a barcode, RedLaser shows you the product name and usually a photo, too. Below, it shows prices and availability at a variety of stores, grabbing price info from both Amazon and Google. Tap a result to open the product in the selected online store using the app’s built-in web browser. For international users, RedLaser lets you customize the currency and country where you’d like to do your shopping.
Wish list: RedLaser keeps track of all your scanned products, saving them for later, so it’s easy to build a wishlist for future shopping. Whip out RedLaser in a store and start blasting barcodes to stash items you want to remember. Tap the Share button at lower left to email the entire product list along with all the barcodes and their accompanying Amazon and Google links.
RedLaser arms your iPhone camera with a barcode scanner, offering you instant price comparisons on just about any product you put in its path. Early versions of RedLaser had trouble getting accurate results, but starting with version 2.2, it’s remarkably fast and accurate. It really works: Point your camera at a barcode, and the app bleeps like a grocery-store scanner, listing prices and availability at Amazon and other stores.
Bargains: Tap a product from the search results to see how its price stacks up at available stores. The lowest price is shown first. Save Benjis has access to 15 million products—certainly enough to keep you and your wallet busy, but not quite enough to cover every item under the sun. Food and clothing have relatively sparse coverage, for example, while electronics and other durable goods are well represented.
Website: Sol Robots
Save Benjis is a coy reference to Benjamin Franklin’s mug on the $100 bill, and it will indeed save you cash by finding the cheapest deals. The app doesn’t offer barcode scanning, but unlike RedLaser, it does let you search by product name when you don’t have the product in front of you. (Or, if you’re feeling industrious, you can also tap in a barcode number for the most precise results). The app fetches prices from hundreds of online stores, a quick way to do a sanity check before making a purchase or to find the best bargain when you’re shopping online.
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