Comparing Mobile Computers and Cordless Barcode Scanners

Posted June 27, 2014

With a variety of terminology out there these days it can be confusing and difficult to find exactly what kind of scanning device you need.  One of the more common terms to get mixed up is the difference between cordless scanners and mobile computers.

Outside the physical shape and size differences, there are a couple key functional use differences between them:

  • A cordless barcode scanner only scans a barcode and either transmits to a computer in real-time or stores the code into memory for a bulk upload at a later time.
  • Cordless barcode scanners only captures the data and cannot process or manage it.
  • A mobile computer combines a computer and a barcode scanner into one device with an operating systems (OS) to run apps and process the data beyond just storing it.
  • With a mobile computer you can edit and share information on the spot using Wi-Fi or Cellular networks. You can also get feedback  or look-up information through a variety of apps based off of the scanned information.

Making the right choice

Deciding which type of device you’ll need really comes down to how you’ll be managing the data you are scanning. For simple data capture of list making only, a cordless barcode scanner will be the most efficient route. If your application will require looking up data based off of the barcode scans or sending the data to inventory, asset tracking, or other management software, then a proper mobile computer will suite you best.

The table below is a quick guide to the basic features available in cordless scanners vs mobile computers to make your decision process a little easier.

Cordless Scanners

Mobile Computers

Scan Barcodes YES YES
Only provides the ability to scan YES No
Only uses Bluetooth technology to wirelessly transmit data YES No
Must send data to a host computer YES No
Can use Wi-Fi or Cellular Networks No
Runs a Windows or Android operating system No
Can run 3rd party or custom applications No
Has a keypad and touchscreen options No
Available in a variety of sizes and designs YES YES

Filed under: Product Review,Solutions
Tags: , , ,