electronic brain surgery since 2001

11 iPhone QR Code Readers Tested

I'm a fan of 2D barcodes and of course I wanted to have a decoder for them on my iPhone. The appstore has a nice selection of tools available. But which to use? I downloaded all free ones I could find (and one payed one) and tried to test them.

To be honest, these tools have a really hard job because the camera on the iPhone sucks (unless you own the brand new 3GS model). For testing the recognition skills I let them decode two codes in three different sizes. I used one very simple code and one very complex one (the more data is encoded the more complex the code gets). I gave one point for each code that was easily recognized by the tool. So there were 6 points to reach. If I managed to get a code recognized after several careful tries, I assigned 0.5 points. None of the tools was able to recognize the blurry mess the iPhone cam made from the small versions of the codes, so the highest score reached was 4.

All tested tools understood at least QR Code, some recognized additional 2D barcodes like DataMatrix.

But it's not only important to recognize and decode the code. It is also important to interpret the data correctly and let me easily use it. URLs should open in Safari, E-Mail addresses should open the email application, and phone numbers should be callable. Ideally the App should also understand vcards embedded in the code. For phone numbers some applications needed the number to be prefixed with TEL: while others did not like that prefix at all :-/.

Well, here are the results in a shiny table:

Recog CamRoll URLs Tel Mail VCard Codes
2D Sense 3 {no} {yes} {yes}1) {yes} {no} 6
Snappr 2D 4 {no} {yes} {yes} {no} {no} 1
UpCode 4 {no} {yes} {no} {no} {no} 2
NeoReader 4 {no} {yes} {yes}2) {yes} {no} 2
Barcodes 4 {yes} {yes} {yes}3) {yes} {no} 1
Barcode 4 {yes} {yes} {no}4) {yes} {no} 2
Camclic 4 {no} {yes} {yes}5) {yes} {no} 1
BeeTagg 3.5 {yes} {yes} {no} {no} {no} 3
dood me co 4 {no} {yes} {no} {no} {no} 1
QuickMark lite 3.5 {no} {yes} {no} {no} {no} 2
QuickMark 4 auto {no} {yes} {no}6) {yes} {yes} 3

My favorite is “Quickmark” (prized at $2) because the ability to add new contacts to my address book by using vcards is the killer feature for me. The missing telephone number support looks more like a bug than a missing feature to me, so I'm hopeful this gets fixed soon. And the automatic scanning (no need to take a photo - just point the camera in the right direction) makes scanning much easier.

What's your experience? What application works best for you? Did I miss one? Let me know in the comments please.

2dbarcode, semacode, qrcode, datamatrix, iphone, apps, comparison
Similar posts:
without TEL:
2) , 3) , 5)
with TEL:
“call number” opens email
recognized with TEL: but not callable