Honeywell Granit 1910i

February 1, 2013

Honeywell Granit 1910iI’ve been waiting for Honeywell to release an industrial barcode scanner with their new Adaptus imager, and it’s finally available with their Granit line of scanners. The Granit 1910i barcode scanner is the cabled version of their new line, and it should be a smart fit for heavy manufacturing, cold storage, or any of those environments that would take down lesser scanners.

The Adaptus 6.0 imaging technology (I think that’s the full marketing term for it) has been around for a couple years in their Xenon scanners, and it’s a tremendous step up from the previous imager technology. The older Adaptus revisions were fine, but sometimes it’s nice to move into awesome or amazing territory. Yes. I just said barcode imaging technology is awesome.

With the Granit 1910i, Honeywell tuned the scanner for extended range scanning. So now those barcodes on the top shelf at Costco can be read as easily as the one right in front of you. For regular UPC barcodes, you get a scan range of half an inch to almost two feet, which is pretty solid for an imager. 20 mil gets to nearly 3 feet, and I can only imagine how far away you can be while still reading 100 mil reflective barcodes. Those things are like magic.

Industrial areas require tougher equipment. You might accidentally hit things with a forklift, or drop them off scaffolding, or maybe use two scanners to pound out a killer drum solo, and you need them to work after this abuse. Thankfully the Granit 1910i is one tough scanner. The rubberized body reinforces the scanner well, protecting it from 50 6.5-foot drops to concrete, at -22 degrees F. I imagine that testing was someone realizing it was 22 below and dropping the scanner while searching for a coat.
That does lead to the operating temperature specs. This scanner can scan barcodes at 22 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. For everyone outside of the US, that’s -30 degrees Celsius. I don’t know what’s stored at that temperature, but my guess is it’s for ice cream inventory management.

The Granit’s reinforced body is sealed to IP65 standards. This means no dirt whatsoever can get into the scanner (that’s the six,) and you can tag it with low pressure jets of water without the water getting into the scanner either (that’s the five.) That kind of sealing is fantastic for keeping track of inventory during a water balloon fight. Or garden center inventory control.

All in all, the Granit 1910i is a great way to scan barcodes, especially in environments where other scanners will fail.

Honeywell Voyager 1400g

July 12, 2012

Honeywell Voyager 1400gHoneywell has released a new Voyager, more voyagey than the old Voyager and way more voyagetastic than the original. The Voyager 1400g offers omnidirectional scanning and is a great fit if you’re looking to add 2D scanning to your business without breaking the bank.

The barcode scanner comes in three flavors: a 1D only imager, 1D and PDF scanning, and full 2D imaging. What’s really great about these scanners is that if you know at some point down the road you want 2D imaging, but right now you can’t justify the full cost, you can get the 1D model, then upgrade the scanner itself later on. No need to buy a full scanner each time you want additional functionality.

I’ve gotten to take a Voyager 1400g out for a spin, and it’s a great device. Standard UPC barcodes are read pretty easily from up to a foot away and at all angles, cutting out almost all of the hassles you run into with a standard 1D scanner. 2D barcodes are read equally easily, including Data Matrix, QR, and Aztec codes. The Voyager 1400g uses a red LED as an aimer, but a white light to illuminate the barcode, so if you have a way to power it, it can be a great makeshift flashlight.

The Voyager 1400g, by nature of being an imager, can read barcodes on cell phone or LCD screens. This is great for retailers looking to do mobile couponing, ticket checking, or just trying to see if you can read weird barcodes on screens. The scanner is not able to do optical character recognition (OCR) or image capture, but there’s the Xenon 1900 ready and waiting to recognize characters and take pictures, so no biggie.

We did run into some issues scanning outside on a sunny day. Our test sheet of barcodes is pretty glossy, and I think we managed to find the one angle where glare from the sun actually made it impossible to get a good read. As soon as a little shade covered the barcode, the Voyager 1400g would pick up the barcode. But really, it’s such a specific instance that it’s not too big a deal.

All in all, the Voyager 1400g is a fantastic and affordable addition to any business. The fact that you can easily upgrade the firmware to transition from 1D scanning to 1D and 2D scanning makes it great, in my mind, for retailers who want to scan 2D barcodes eventually, but don’t want to have to buy multiple scanners, or can’t justify the cost for a full 2D scanner quite yet.

Diginfo.tv has an interesting article on a new scanning technology from Toshiba, where the checkstand scanner uses image recognition to determine products as opposed to scanning a barcode. I think this is  a fantastic development for grocers, but I think their headline is a little hyperbolic in that this signals the end of barcodes.

The video shows a tech demo at a trade show, so they may have been running slowly to show how easily the products are read, but it seemed about as fast as the grocer down the street who doesn’t have a scanner and manually keys in products. And compared to an omnidirectional scanner at a real actual supermarket, this seems remarkably slow.

I’m sure Toshiba is going to tune this technology so it’ll be as fast, if not faster, than standard scanners you encounter at grocery stores & supermarkets, but right now it looks like it’d be a strong complement to a laser scanner, not a replacement. Using a camera instead of a scanner could also be a fantastic tool for self-check systems, where right now customers have to sift through screens of products to find the right jalapeno or onion. But I don’t think an employee trained to use the scanner in the video is going to be faster or more accurate than an employee trained to use a flatbed scanner and keyed entry combination.

So yeah, Toshiba’s technology will be really interesting to see in use, but I doubt it’s going to end barcodes.

Honeywell Voyager 1202g

November 4, 2011

Honeywell is continuing their transition away from legacy products, this time releasing the Voyager 1202g barcode scanner, a cordless laser scanner that should eventually replace the old VoyagerBT.

The Voyager 1202g uses the same scan engine as the Voyager 1200g, so you get a cordless scanner that doesn’t sacrifice scanning to maintain battery life. On retail barcodes, you get an optimal scan range of contact to about a foot out, which should make it easy to read products without searching for a sweet spot. Like the Voyager 1200g, the Voyager 1202g can also read pretty mangled barcodes, as Honeywell showed in a video a while back. It can also read barcodes with a minimum contrast of 10%, so faded barcodes shouldn’t be a problem at all.

The Bluetooth radio in the Voyager 1202g is pretty standard for the current generation of cordless scanners, giving you about 33 feet of radio range before interference can become a problem. Honeywell claims they’ve gotten 300 feet line-of-sight connectivity, which falls in line with the legacy VoyagerBT, but we won’t be able to test those claims until we get one in house.

Swapping batteries in a retail cordless scanner is pretty rare, but sometimes it’s needed. Thankfully, Honeywell’s built the Voyager 1202g to give you tool-less access to the battery compartment, a tremendous lifesaver when compared to competitors’ use of screws to lock compartments. The battery is an 1800 mAh Lithium Ion, which seems like a lot of milli-Amp hours. For this scanner, 1800 mAh translates to scanning 45,000 barcodes per charge, or 12 hours of work. That’s pretty solid, I don’t think I’d ever want to scan barcodes for that long, so I’d be set. And recharging takes about 4 hours, so you should be set for day to day scanning.

Durability is pretty vital for cordless scanners, as they seem more likely to be dropped than their cabled brethren. The Voyager 1202g is built to withstand 30 drops of 5 feet to concrete, shoulder height for an average person. Waist height for Yao Ming but I don’t see him getting into retail any time soon. The scanner also sports an IP42 environmental seal, so dirt & random water splashes shouldn’t get in to harm internal components. I wouldn’t put this out in a lumber yard, but it should be okay in most retail environments.

With the Voyager 1202g, you get a 3 year warranty standard. Honeywell offers Service Made Simple comprehensive coverage plans if you really want to protect your investment. In all, the Voyager 1202g is a great progression from the older VoyagerBT, and a fantastic upgrade for aging hardware.

We’ve got a video review out for the Honeywell Xenon 1900 barcode scanner, the new 2D imager from Honeywell.

Honeywell Voyager 1250g

July 13, 2011

Honeywell Voyager 1250gHoneywell’s continuing their migration toward a single cabling setup, this time unleashing the Voyager 1250g onto the world. It’s a laser scanner built like more common triggered barcode scanners, and kind of looks like a 3800g/Hyperion 1300g with a laser scan engine crammed into it.

The scan engine on the 1250g is a tuned up version of what you get in the standard Voyager, giving you faster scanning at a longer range. The optimal scan range for standard UPC barcodes is contact to about 18″ back, so it’s pretty easy to get a read at any checkstand. It scans 100 barcodes per second, on par with the LS2208 and VoyagerGS, and pretty solid for retail.

Honeywell tuned the 1250g to scan 4 mil barcodes as well. While that’s not as spectacular as the Voyager 1200g reading 3 mil barcodes, it’s still pretty great, especially when you add in the deeper scan range. And it’s one of the few laser scanners on the market that can scan in direct sunlight (according to their data sheet).

CodeGate is available on the scanner, so it’ll illuminate the barcode but not scan until you pull the trigger. For electronics retailers and cell phone providers, this is a tremendous feature. Any time you have more than two or three barcodes really closely packed together, like on most cell phone, hard drive, or consumer electronics boxes, reading the correct barcode can be troublesome. CodeGate takes care of this issue and definitely speeds up operations.

Durability is important even in retail environments, and Honeywell built the Voyager 1250g to take a beating. The scanner can withstand drops of 5 feet to concrete, so knocking it off a counter shouldn’t be too big a deal. It’s also got an IP41 seal, which protects the internals from some dirt and a little water. I definitely would hesitate to put it through a car wash, but it should be fine during a sidewalk sale or at a lumber yard or anything short of a thunderstorm.

The Voyager 1250g is a solid solution and does feel like it offers features of the Voyager 1200g and the Hyperion 1300g. Probably why it’s the 1250g. You get the speed of a laser scanner, but the range more commonly associated with imaging. I could see this being a great upgrade for most retailers.

Once I get my hands on a 1250g, I’ll run it through its paces, including the hammer test. It looks like a 3800g, hopefully it can hammer nails like a 3800g.

Our new video reviewer, Camille, has shot a review for the Motorola DS9208 barcode scanner, a retail 2D imager that can also read barcodes off cell phones.

Honeywell Dolphin 6000

June 17, 2011

Manufacturers are trying to hit a great market, Honeywell calls it Scanphones, Motorola calls it Enterprise Digital Assistants, but either way it’s that area between smartphones and mobile computers. More durable than a smartphone, yet nowhere near as expensive as a rugged mobile computer, these devices used to be plentiful. The Honeywell Dolphin 6000 is another great addition, and should be fantastic for a wide variety of uses.Honeywell Dolphin 6000

Compared to the disembodied hand in the picture, you can get a sense of the small size of the Dolphin 6000. The device comes equipped with GSM, GPS, 802.11b/g WiFi, and Bluetooth standard, pretty similar to standard smartphones on the market. It’s powered by Windows Mobile 6.5, so while you don’t get all the features of the Windows or Android App stores, you can run inventory or route management apps already developed for Windows Mobile, like RedBeam or Proxis Stock Manager.

For data capture, the Dolphin 6000 has a laser scanner built-in, plus a 3 megapixel color camera. I haven’t gotten my hands on one for extensive testing, so I don’t know yet if the camera can double as a 2D scanner. I’d like to think it does, but I haven’t verified.

The Dolphin 6000 only comes with a numeric, cell-phone style keypad, which is a little unfortunate. Text entry via T9 is slow and not always intuitive for users, and I just don’t really like it. I imagine there were space considerations when building out the unit, but a QWERTY option would’ve been fantastic. You do get a few more function buttons than a regular cell phone, so that should help with programming secondary functions.

Smartphones aren’t necessarily the most durable products on the market, especially not for the repeated data capture you see in grocery stores, retail locations, or remote sales. Honeywell built the Dolphin 600 to bridge the gap between smartphone and ultra rugged mobile computer, and the design adds durability while not making it a bulky monstrosity.

At room temperature, the Dolphin 6000 can survive 4-foot drops to concrete, about what would happen if an employee missed a jacket pocket, for instance. At all other operating temperatures, it can survive 3-foot drops. I did not realize there were optimal drop conditions, but it’s pretty cool to learn. The unit also sports an IP54 seal to keep out dust and water. The IP54 rating will keep out windblown dust as well as splishes and splashes of water, so it should be fine out and about in the environment.

What I really like about the Dolphin 6000 is that Honeywell’s releasing two variations, one with an 8 GB microSD card and one without. It makes it a lot easier to compare models when there aren’t 40+ different models. While it’d be great to have a QWERTY model, this should still be great for inventory management or mobile sales. And the price on the Dolphin 6000 is low enough that it could be a solid solution for single warehouse or retail inventory management.

Motorola DS4208 Barcode ScannerMotorola has a new 2D barcode scanner out, the DS4208, and it looks to be an affordable alternative to the high end 2D scanners that have come out in the past year or so. A lot of retailers may want to scan 2D coupons, or maybe read coupons off of cell phones, but can’t justify spending $400+ for such a scanner. Thankfully, this scanner hits a price point that should be a lot more palatable.

The scanner comes in three styles, Twilight Black, Cash Register White, and Healthcare White. Twilight Black & Cash Register White are the standard color schemes you see other Motorola hand scanners in, so that’s pretty standard. The healthcare model comes in hospital white and blue, and features the specialized plastic housing that can be cleaned by chemical agents without pitting or becoming brittle. And it matches hospital color schemes. You don’t want to clash at your hospital, that would be far too gauche.

Scanning with the DS4208 is pretty snappy, and you get a range of about a quarter inch to over a foot with standard retail barcodes. Performance was pretty similar to the LS2208, with the DS4208 able to read 100 mil reflective barcodes from about 8 feet back. I doubt many people will need this functionality from the DS4208, but it’s there, and that’s pretty rad. A red LED circle is projected before scanning to let you know what is about to be scanned. Aiming assistance is fantastic, and the LED helps especially with closely aligned barcodes.

There’s also some pretty legit motion tolerance for the scanner, with an ability to scan barcodes moving up to 100 inches per second, or about 6 mph. So you could catch the barcode on someone going for a light jog, maybe the wristband on a patient making a break for it, or maybe even use it to set split times on slot car racers. Or I guess you could also put it in presentation mode and scan high volumes of groceries & whatnot. That one seems more apt.

Motorola built the DS4208 to be pretty resilient, so this scanner could fit in pretty well at garden centers as well as retailers. The body is pretty sturdy and offers a drop resistance of 6-feet to concrete, so even falling off a shelf won’t really cause problems. And an IP43  seal, while not quite as robust & “sneezeproof” as the IP54 of burlier scanners, still keeps out some dirt and water splashes. I wouldn’t hose it down, but collateral damage from a water balloon fight might be okay.

And with all this fanciness you get a 5 year warranty. Used to be 2D scanners came with 2 year warranties if you were lucky. Now they’re so near bulletproof that manufacturers will give you another 3.

We’ve got a video up from Jessie, our grand new video reviewer. This time we’re taking the Honeywell Voyager 1200g for a spin, and trying our best to recreate the video they made of the scanner reading nasty and scratched out barcodes.

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