What’s The Difference Between Barcode Scanners and Mobile Computers?

What’s The Difference Between Barcode Scanners and Mobile Computers? | Mobile Computer Repair - Barcode Scanner & Handheld Terminal Repair

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For many casual observers, the terms “barcode scanners” and “mobile computers” might seem to be practically synonymous – although, of course, that isn’t quite the case.

While both of the above can be regarded as handheld computing devices – with the associated potential benefits for many an organisation’s efficiency and productivity – there are some crucial differences to account for. So, let’s take a look at them.


Introducing The Venerable Barcode Scanner

Barcodes themselves might scarcely seem to require any introduction. They have been around in the retail world since the 1970s, when one was first applied to a pack of Wrigley’s gum, and they have since been used across many other environments and sectors, ranging from warehousing to healthcare.

Barcode scanners have sometimes been referred to down the years as ‘price scanners’ and ‘readers’, and their central purpose is the same: to ‘read’ barcodes, converting those ubiquitous black-and-white bars into contained information about the products bearing the barcodes.

It’s worth remembering that barcodes don’t just take the form of the “picket-fence” style lines that many of us have long associated them with; QR codes, for example, are also a widely used form of a barcode, having gained a whole new level of relevance during the coronavirus crisis.

There have also been many different types of barcode scanners over the years. Most of us are immediately put in mind of the classic handheld ‘gun’ form of barcode scanner, but these devices come in such variants as simple pen-type readers, laser scanners, camera-based readers, CCD readers, and omni-directional scanners. The latter are the most efficient and sophisticated of all – they can scan immense volumes of barcodes, even some distance away.

How Does a Mobile Computer Differ From a Barcode Scanner?

If the term “mobile computer” sounds broader and less specific than “barcode scanner”, that’s because it is. Indeed, the typical mobile computer tends to include barcode scanning and the associated scanning software. But it is also a device capable of doing a lot more, effectively being a PC and scanner contained within one unit.

If the above sounds like we’re simply describing a smartphone, that characterisation wouldn’t be quite right either, as these machines are particularly geared towards data entry and integration into larger systems.
While a barcode scanner manipulates data in a limited way, a mobile computer provides users with a broader array of options for sourcing the data they require and updating their database. Let’s imagine, for instance, that you work in a warehouse and need to find various specific pieces of stock within your organisation’s inventory; a mobile computer can make online inventory management so much quicker and simpler. Such a device can effectively provide you with your firm’s entire inventory in your hand.

Other common features, functions and benefits apparent on the leading mobile computers include the ability to run several business applications simultaneously – encompassing apps for such purposes as asset management and auditing – as well as functional QWERTY keypads and colour touchscreens making the most of full Windows or Android operating systems.

Mobile computers also often have eye-catching designs, including in such forms as gun-grip and wearable devices, and might combine a tough, rugged exterior with a relatively lightweight build to help ensure optimum ease of use. There is a lot that mobile computers are expected to do these days, but industry-leading models like the Zebra TC25 mobile computer are more than up to the task.

A Repair Service to Help Make Your Devices Last Even Longer

Whether your organisation makes more extensive use of barcode scanners or mobile computers, it will greatly aid your firm’s objectives if you can ensure minimal downtime in the event of problems occurring.

With our team here at Mobile Computer Repair able to offer trusted Zebra, Honeywell, Symbol and Motorola barcode scanner repair and mobile computer repair, we can help get your devices back up and running in next to no time – and at the right price. Simply get in touch today for further information.