5 Best apps for scanning QR codes on Android devices

QR codes are all around us: you can find them on flyers, posters, websites, applications, event ads, restaurant menus… almost anywhere. These are two-dimensional barcodes, consisting usually of black square dots on a white background which can be read by an imaging device. They are used for storing alphanumerical data, thus they are a good way of sharing information, like a website or product information on a small square. Obviously, your Android smartphone or tablet can easily be turned into a QR code reader with the appropriate application. We have identified the best five QR code-reading apps: read our article to find your favourite!

1. Barcode Scanner

This aptly named app from the ZXing Team is a veteran of its kind, as it is one of the most well-known barcode reading apps. It does exactly what its name suggests: scans barcodes. It supports many types of 1D and 2D barcodes and has quite a lot of settings to be configured. It can automatically open recognized web addresses, stores a history of scanned codes, can use the device’s LED light to help read codes, can scan inverted (white on black) codes and can even scan many barcodes continuously with the help of the bulk scan mode.

Download page: Barcode Scanner

2. Google Goggles

Yep, Google has its own barcode reading application - although it might not be as well-known as Gmail or Google Calendar, it is sometimes bundled on Android smartphones. Goggles is more than a simple barcode reader, although it can surely read all types of barcodes. Besides that, it can recognize many different kinds of data and process t hem: for example it has optical character recognition, so it can recognize text, which can then be automatically translated with Google Translate. It can also recognize famous landmarks, paintings, books, DVDs, CDs and display additional information, or it can scan business cards and create contacts based on the information on the card. Oh, and it can also solve sudoku puzzles. Neat, isn’t it?

Download page: Google Goggles

3. QuickMark Barcode Scanner

As a barcode scanner, this app from SimpleAct Inc. has all the major, required features covered: it can scan many kinds of barcodes, also inverted ones, recognizes web addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and geographical coordinates, supports bulk scanning and it can even export barcodes in.csv or.txt formats. QuickMark can also decode barcodes from gallery photos or the web and you can also key in codes to be decoded.

The app’s most interesting feature is that it can create barcodes: you can have many types of information stored in these barcodes, like another application’s address, a contact, an event, a web address, an e-mail, phone number and so on.

Download page: QuickMark Barcode Scanner

4. i-nigma QR & Barcode Scanner

3GVision brings us a barcode reading app that incorporates all the necessary features: it supports the most important code types (QR, DataMatrix and UPC/EAN - a.k.a. "Supermarket" codes), can scan colored or unusually designed codes and can share scanned codes via SMS, Facebook, Twitter or other social networks. An interesting addition to the app is the i-nigma shopper, which is a web service offered by the app’s creators: whenever a product’s barcode is scanned, it can automatically search the web for the best offers, so you can instantly check whether you are buying the current product at a reasonable price, or there are much better offers in other stores. Besides this nice little bonus, the application also keeps track of scan history, you can save your favourites and scanning speed is incredibly fast - probably the fastest of all apps we have tested.

Download page: i-nigma QR & Barcode Scanner

5. Norton Snap qr code reader

A QR code reader from a well-known security company? Yep, you read that right, Norton has its own barcode scanning application, that has a nice little feature, but first let’s see its basic features. These aren’t abundant at all: Norton Snap can scan only QR codes, not 1D or other special types of barcodes, but it can use the front and back camera as well, has a bulk scan mode and can use the phone’s LED light when scanning the dark. And for that bonus feature? Since Norton is a security company, it is of course security-related: whenever a web address is scanned, the app automatically scans it, shows you the final address when a URL shortener link is embedded in the QR code, and scans the code, showing its Norton rating, so you know whether it is safe to visit the website.

Download page: Norton Snap qr code reader

Conclusion

QR codes might not have become the groundbreaking thing they were hoped to be, but they are still found everywhere and can be useful. Of course they’re not worth much without a scanner, but that’s where your smart Android device comes into play. There is an incredible number of barcode reading applications available on the Google Play store and most of them have the same features. In this article we tried to share applications that are at least a bit unique, offer useful extra features, or at least they are very fast and can scan codes in a snap. Which is your favourite QR code scanner from our list? Do you know other good QR code scanning apps for Android?