Opticon OPN3002i

August 28, 2013

Opticon OPN3002iThere’s a growing class of barcode scanners hitting the market, companion scanners. These are cordless scanners that are small, don’t necessarily come with a charging/communications cradle, and are designed to communicate with mobile computers, tablets, and smartphones. The Opticon OPN3002i is a recently released companion scanner and should offer some fantastic 2D scanning at an affordable price.

The OPN3002i is designed primarily for use with iPhones, iPads, Android devices, and any other Bluetooth-equipped consumer smartphone. It’s even white with chrome accents, like some familiar iOS devices. Configuration is really easy, you just have to scan a barcode to set it up in Serial Port Profile (SPP), HID, or MFi serial modes, then hold the scan button for a few seconds until it chirps. Then it can pair to whichever Bluetooth device you’re using.

We prefer using HID mode over MFi or SPP, as it allows the OPN3002i to act like a keyboard and scan into any active text box. MFi and SPP act as virtual serial ports, so your software will need to be configured to take advantage of that type of connection to get a read.

When a HID device connects to iPhones, the on-screen keyboard will hide until the connection is broken. This is difficult if you’re doing inventory management and want to add notes such as quantity or condition. Thankfully, hitting the secondary function button on the OPN3002i will bring the keyboard back up, a great addition to the scanner.

In terms of performance, the OPN3002i is a pretty solid 2D imager. Regular retail barcodes can be read from about 8 inches away, so for registries or light inventory scanning, you should have an easy enough time getting a good read. The scanner can also read 2D barcodes, such as QR, PDF417, or Data Matrix. A popular option for cordless 2D scanners is for loyalty program sign-up. Since most driver’s licenses have PDF417 barcodes on them, you can scan the barcode and parse out the data you need, making it incredibly fast to sign customers up for loyalty programs, credit card applications, or admit them in healthcare environments.

On the demo model we had, we did notice a lag when sending barcode data to the device, something very noticeable on larger 2D barcodes. data was entered at about the same speed as a competent typist, which is a bit slower than the fast blast of data we’re accustomed to with cabled scanners.For standard 1D barcode scanning, it’s really not noticeable, you may just see it if you decide to scan a driver’s license or shipping label.

Opticon let us know that this is a bandwidth issue on HID mode and isn’t a problem when running in SPP or MFi modes. So if speed is key for your data entry, you may want to look into developing your software to communicate directly with the OPN3002i.

All in all, the OPN3002i is a great 2D scanning option for small business or personal inventory management. Since it’s an area imager, you don’t have to properly orient the barcode for a good read, which can speed up the data capture process. Configuring and pairing the scanner is incredibly easy, and being able to enable the on screen keyboard is a prime feature.

We even have a video of the OPN3002i in action, in case you want to get a feel for the size and capabilities of this great companion scanner.

Now that we have some industrial scanners available to test, we’re trying to up our game. With the Honeywell Granit 1910i, we¬† froze it in a block of ice, threw it around, smashed it pretty solidly, and it held up to quite a bit of damage. Running it over with a pickup, then backing over it, did push it beyond its limits. But who drives over scanners anyway?

And something to keep in mind- Honeywell offers their Service Made Simple comprehensive coverage plans at a remarkably affordable price. So even if you don’t plan on driving over your Granit, it’s less than $100 to get 1-day turnaround and repair or replacement if your scanner happens to fail. Given the cost of an industrial 2D scanner, and the environments they tend to be in, Service Made Simple is a no brainer.

Here’s our video review, complete with frozen scanner and pickup testing.

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