I've pretty much always been a comparison shopper. Sure sometimes I buy things that I know I can get cheaper somewhere else, but I need them right then and there and don't feel like running around. The internet has certainly made it easier to find deals, but for those who still like to visit brick and mortar establishments, RedLaser is a must have app for you!
In these economic times everyone is looking to save a buck here and there. One way to save money is to not pay more for something than you have to. Although I have a couple of apps for doing price comparing on the iPhone, neither of them is as cool as RedLaser.
Here's how it works
You're standing in the aisle at a store and you pick up an item that you're thinking about buying. You see the price and you say to yourself, "I wonder if I can get this cheaper somewhere else?" No problem, take out your iPhone, fire up RedLaser and point your iPhone's camera at the barcode. "Beep", RedLaser scans the barcode (amazingly well I might add) and immediately looks up that item online. This is an obvious advantage over the other apps that make you key in a search word or UPC number. Then it presents you with a list of stores selling that item and how much they are selling it for. Then of course the choice is yours! You can decide if you want to pay what's being asked by the store you're in or order if from one of the sources RedLaser found for you.
Barcode scanning can be tricky, but RedLaser does an amazing job!
I've had other apps that scan barcodes and let's just say it's an art at times to get the camera to recognize the code. Whatever method RedLaser uses works GREAT! I was even scanning stuff in a fairly dark environment and it was getting them every time. I'm BLOWN AWAY by how well this works!
The Bottom Line
This app is fun and addictive and can easily pay for itself with the first purchase you save money on. As you can see had I bought the headphones above from another source I could have easily saved $20 or more! The one downside to this app is that there is no way to just search for a product by keywords/name. You have to have the barcode (which can be entered manually if scanning it doesn't work.) RedLaser goes for $1.99 and you can get it here from the App Store:
This week's iPhone App of the Week is actually from my buddy Richard Harrington. I've known Rich for years and he's an excellent instructor.
His Understanding Photoshop – Quick Fixes app aims to be a series of video tutorials on how to do common tasks in Photoshop right in your pocket. We've all been there when you want to do something and you've got the app open on your computer and you just can't remember how to do it or you want to know the best technique to do something.
CameraGenius aims to give you more options for using your iPhone's built-in camera. When you think about it the iPhone's camera is OK, but limited in features. If you bought a stand alone point and shoot camera you would be able to do things like Zoom, set a timer, use image stabilization, etc.
More features for your iPhone camera
Camera Genius adds some pretty useful features to the iPhone's built-in camera. The first one that caught my eye was Zoom. This digital zoom feature allows you to Zoom in on the shot you're taking with an interactive on screen slider.
The next feature that got me interested was the Anti-Shake feature. If you want to take a decent picture using your iPhone, you have to be sure to hold it very steady. So having a digital anti-shake feature can only be a good thing. Even if it only improves things a little, it would be worth it. I was not disappointed at all by this feature. The minute I enabled it, I could see an immediate difference. The image on screen was a lot less jumpy.
A Timer? Yes, there's even a Timer feature so that you can get in the shot. Provided that you've got some way to mount the iPhone or if you just want to start the timer and then hold your iPhone out away from you Myspace style so that you don't have to worry about pressing the button, it works!
Shot taken with the built-in iPhone 3GS camera app
Shot taken with Camera Genius Zoom and Anti-Shake
One of the things that really bugs me about the iPhone's built-in calendar is that there is no way to set an alert/alarm for Birthdays. They are already present in most of my Contacts. They appear automatically on the "Birthdays" Calendar, yet Apple doesn't allow you to set reminders for this calendar without going through some workarounds. It wasn't even until iPhone OS 3.0 that I had a way of subscribing to my Birthdays calendar on my IPhone directly. So there is still a LOT of room for improvement in this area.
Occasions is an iPhone app that is designed to overcome this shortcoming. It automatically picks up the birthdays and anniversaries in your Contacts. You can also enter events manually if you need to. It then keeps a running list in chronological order of upcoming occasions. While there are many iPhone apps that do this including the app I was using before "Upcoming Events", this app supports the iPhone 3.0 Push Notifications feature. This means that the app can pop up alerts and sounds without being open! My old app still hasn't been updated with this important feature so I've moved on.