There is no shortage of QR Reader apps in the Google or Apple marketplaces, but there certainly is a difference in speed and quality. We’ve tried many of the most popular QR Reader apps and have a few suggestions for you.
Most reader apps can read QR Codes and product bar codes. Most of them save a history of your scans so you can go back and review them later.
In our opinion, the best QR Reader app is simply called Scan which can be found in the Google, Apple, and Windows app stores and at their website Scan.me. What makes Scan so good is that it is fast, reads well, and unobtrusive. The built-in web browser is fast, there are no built-in ads, and it has great code recognition. We’ve tried many different codes, from the basic black to the custom color codes that we create at Real Estate Digital Services and they all scanned quickly and correctly.
Scan can be used instantly after you download it, or you can sign up for an optional account for more features. Scan is also more than just a QR reader, it can scan barcodes on many products as well.
The code reader with the most downloads in the iTunes app store is QRReader. It is also fast and does a good job recognizing all of the custom QR codes and product barcodes we tested it with. QRReader does have some ads on the sites you view in its built-in browser, but they aren’t obtrusive at all. It has an easy to understand interface and history, and allows you to add favorite QR codes. After reading a product bar code, QRReader gives you an option to search for it at various locations such as Amazon, Google Shopping, eBay, Bing, and more.
QRReader is only available for Apple and Android products so Windows Phone and Blackberry users will have to look elsewhere.
We’ve also had great success with the i-nigma reader. If you’re a Blackberry user, i-nigma is available in the Blackberry store, as well in the iTunes, Google Play, and Windows Phone marketplaces. Tested on our Samsung Galaxy S III, iPhone 4s and iPhone 5, i-nigma was by far the fastest at recognizing the scans. In fact, in testing the custom codes on our website here, i-nigma was so fast that we had to hide portions of the screen because it would read the first one it came across as we tried to focus.
i-nigma is different than other readers in that it doesn’t include its own web browser – it relies on your device’s built-in browser. This is nice in that it doesn’t add any unnecessary or redundant software, but if you’re going to be scanning several websites you’ll be switching back and forth between the two apps. Then again, besides testing, how often do you scan multiple QR codes to bring you to multiple websites?
i-nigma did have a problem identifying bar codes. Scan was able to find the Pink Otterbox we showed above, plus a pack of Dentyne gum, and a Sylvania light bulb with no problem. While i-nigma was super fast with the QR codes, it couldn’t identify either of these three product bar codes.
There are literally 100’s of other QR and bar code readers in the app marketplaces and we’re sure there are many other great ones. In our opinion, you can’t go wrong with Scan, and QRReader is neck-and-neck with it. i-nigma is super fast, but lacks in the bar code department – use it if you’re only going to be scanning QR codes.
If you are particularly fond of another reader app, please let us know in the comments.