Symbol CS4070

August 6, 2014

CS4070-SR-remote-frontCompanion scanning is blowing up! There are more than a few scanners out on the market, and now there’s a new one from Motorola. It’s the Symbol CS4070, I guess they’re going back to their roots now that Zebra is buying them. And it kind of makes sense; at this point there are 3 different Motorola companies: one potentially owned by Zebra, one owned by Google/Lenovo, and one out on its own. And the Symbol LS2208 never got Motorolasized, so there’s a precedent.

Anyway, the Symbol CS4070 is their 2D companion scanner, designed for mobile POS, bed-side scanning in health care environments, and more. It’s available in a standard black model, as well as a white model made with health care plastics, so there’s one for before or after Labor Day. These scanners use the same scan engine that is in their DS4800, so you have a pretty tremendous scan range, pretty comparable to a linear imager. They run in Bluetooth mode for pairing to iPhones, Android devices, or other Bluetooth devices, or you can set it up as a batch device to connect to your PC and download spreadsheets of scanned data. It’s very much like the CS3070 but on steroids.

We were able to test out a beta unit for a few weeks, and it’s really a great scanner. I’ve been told that the performance will improve with the production models, which just seems like a bonus.

The unit I received came with its Product Reference Guide, affectionately referred to as the PRG by our Motorolalien friends. PRGs are massive tomes, 330+ pages of everything from how to set up your scanner to the arcane practices required to pair it to a Pontiac Aztec. Maybe not so much on the latter, but it’s a very in depth book.

The CS4070, like the CS3000 line, comes with a config.ini file on its built-in memory. This allows you to make changes to the configuration if you don’t have access to the PRG or 123scan. I like having this secondary method for programming the scanner, as it allows you to do bulk configurations simply by uploading a file to each device.

Batch Mode
For registry applications, inventory checkout, or other bulk scanning tasks, the CS4070 is a dynamo. The scanner has 512 MB of memory built-in, meaning you can store… millions and millions of 13-digit UPC barcodes before it fills up. When you plug it into a computer via USB, it mounts as a flash drive, so you could theoretically upload an autorun procedure and a standalone application, ideally to export the saved data to whatever platform you happen to use. You could probably put Snood on there too if you were so inclined.

BlueTooth Mode
This is the main course for the scanner, there’s a BlueTooth button on it even. Bluetooth mode allows you to pair the CS4070 to any Bluetooth-equipped device, or the optional Bluetooth dongle that Motorola sells. Setup takes a couple steps, either scanning the “Bluetooth HID mode” barcode in the PRG, or holding the Bluetooth button on the scanner until it beeps. Then all you have to do is scan for Bluetooth devices on your smartphone or laptop, and click pair. You might have to scan a PIN, those codes are in the PRG as well. If you have an iPhone, it just works. I think it’s because of the MFi chip that’s built-in.

Once you’re paired to a mobile device, if you hit the minus key on the CS4070, it’ll toggle potential on screen keyboards, such as those on iOS and Android devices. This is great if you’re using the scanner for mobile inventory management and need to enter in descriptive or quantity data.

Motorola makes some incredibly powerful scanners, and the CS4070 is no exception. I was able to scan regular UPC barcodes from about two feet away, which is a pretty fantastic depth of field. The depth of field change depending on the symbologies you’re scanning, such as a 5 mil Data Matrix or 15 mil PDF417, but the range is still ideal for minimizing training to find the “sweet spot.”

The CS4070 can charge either using a microUSB cable or one of the various charging cradles Motorola’s made. It only takes a few hours, and there’s a nice battery gauge on the front of the unit to let you know just how charged it is. The battery is removable, as well, so you can pocket a spare for longer scanning sessions.

There are a few charging accessories available for the CS4070, in case you want something a bit more formal than a microUSB cable. A single slot cradle is available, which also includes a smaller secondary battery charging bay. For larger deployments, there are some larger options: an 8-bay scanner charger as well as an 8-bay battery charger. These also have all mount options, so you can have it in an employee area where it’s easy for employees to grab one and head off to do their duties. A Lanyard should be out soon as well, making it easy to clip the CS4070 to yourself in case you need to move or pick something up with both hands.

All in all, the Symbol CS4070 is a great companion scanning option for both batch or mobile scanning. The memory on the scanner is great in case you want to store files or apps, and the Bluetooth mode is relatively straightforward to set up. It feels pretty comfortable in hand, there’s a nice groove under the bottom for better ergonomics.

Motorola DS4208 Video Review

September 27, 2011

We’ve got another video up, this time for the Motorola DS4208 barcode scanner. It’s the lower-cost alternative to the DS6707/DS6708, and is a great fit for retailers looking to add 2D scanning at their checkstands.

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.

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.

So I’ve already made my claims to the problems with trying to use a cell phone camera as a barcode scanner. Mostly in that it’s lame and not good for more than a couple scans here and there. But we’re still getting customers with iPhones who want to track their inventory with the phone. So after much consternation, and two searches on Google for “iPhone Barcode Scanner”, we’ve got a couple units that should do what you need.

First up is the Socket Cordless Hand Scanner (CHS) Series 7 barcode scanner. Talk about a Socket CHS Series 7 Barcode Scannermouthful. We’ve actually had the CHS up on our site for a few years, but recently they upgraded the apparatus to run in human interface device (HID) mode with a special barcode you scan to configure it to communicate with iPhones, iPads, and iPods Touch (iPod Touches?) There’s also a method for it to work with Blackberries, so the CHS is a solid, rechargeable alternative to the Cipherlab 1660 barcode scanner.

This scanner comes with in 3 body designs: Standard for day to day use, rugged for rougher environments, and a rugged antimicrobial housing for healthcare applications. Tracking patient info is getting to be more important everyday, and giving employees the option to use this scanner with a smartphone they already own seems like a great alternative to buying an entirely new device. You also get your choice of standard or high-powered 1D laser or 2D imager as your scanning method, so the CHS 7 definitely can be scaled to meet your exact needs.

Not to be outdone, the Motorola CS3070, when in Bluetooth HID mode, also connects & Motorola CS3000 Barcode Scannercommunicates with iPhones. This is the combo batch & bluetooth scanner that replaced the aging CS1504 and can hold far more barcodes than is necessary while in batch mode.

Though it has only a 1D laser scanner option, the CS3070’s scanner is pretty burly. On a UPC-A barcode, what you see on pretty much every consumer product ever, I was able to scan from about 2 feet away with no problems. Motorola knows laser scanning, and the CS3070 is no exception.

We’re still hacking away on the demo units we have, in an effort to make setup as painless as possible.

Part of the fun of being a product manager is getting to know manufacturer reps. These guys & gals live and breathe their product line, and they’re more than happy to extol the virtues of their new fantastic product. I figure there’s either some kool aid involved, or the smell of new plastics has some sort of mind altering effect, because they exhibit a level of exuberance I’m more accustomed to seeing at a Disney theme park.

The reps seem to enjoy picking my brain about products as well. A few have said that often times we have a view of what our customers need that might not line up with other resellers or developers. Twelve cell phone radios might not be what our customers need. But sometimes a product comes out that so specifically hits our main user base that we know it’s going to be a knockout even when it’s just a 3D render and a few buzzwords.

The Motorola CS3070 barcode scanner is one such item. For the longest time, Motorola/Symbol (or Motorymbol if you dig synergy) had been manufacturing & shipping out the CS1504, a batch barcode scanner that ran on a few watch batteries and looked like something you’d find at the bottom of a toy chest. As far as I can tell, it wasn’t designed to take the market by storm, but it was a good and inexpensive way for businesses and consumers to scan a ton of barcodes and output them into a spreadsheet. We sold our share of them, and customers really liked the fact that you could perform basic inventory management for under $400.

But the scanner was pretty lacking and showing its age. The scan engine was an older model that seemed underpowered compared to its cabled brethren, 3 disposable watch batteries really doesn’t scream environmentally friendly, it was very much something that needed some refreshing. And whenever our rep came to visit, we’d mention that if they put together a newer unit, with a rechargeable battery, we could probably move a few. And so they did, and in a big way.

The Motorola CS3070 takes entry level batch scanning and makes it easier than you could imagine. Because people often imagine scanning tons of barcodes and exporting it to something else. They’ve built it with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that charges over USB no sweat. It’s available in two flavors, straight up batch data sending and Bluetooth. The Bluetooth model acts as a regular cordless scanner, or it can send batch data over USB like its radio-less partner.

What sets it apart from the Opticon OPN 2002 is that the CS3070 has 512 MB of flash memory. Motorola claims that’s enough memory to store over 1 million barcodes and timestamps, however the OPN 2002 can store around 20,000 with its 1 MB of memory. I did some a little math, because math is fun, and with a straight comparison, 512 MB could theoretically store 10.2 million barcodes. Possibly. I don’t know who has that many barcodes, but it’s a possibility.

The  CS3000 actually mounts as a USB device, so you can grab the barcodes manually and not have to install a bunch of drivers. And because the CS3070 mounts as a flash drive, you can install software onto it, and after setting up an autorun file on the unit, whenever you plug it in it’ll run the apps you need. So now instead of having one computer that syncs your devices, the device does all the work. I could see this being a fantastic solution for businesses who have gift registries and multiple checkstands. You don’t have to wait for the licensed computer to be open; the license travels with the device.

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