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Review: RedLaser for iPhone

Victor Agreda Jr
Victor Agreda Jr|February 2, 2010 7:00 AM
Week after week you'll find it on the "Top Paid" list in the App Store and with good reason; RedLaser is, no doubt, one of the most useful iPhone applications out there! TUAW's Mel Martin originally wrote a review of RedLaser and thought it was quite capable. See the gallery here.

Just what is RedLaser? Think of going through a checkout line in any store: the clerk takes your item and scans it with a gun-like apparatus that reads the item's barcode with a red laser. The price of the item immediately shows up on the cashier's screen.

The RedLaser app is for just that purpose, only it's your iPhone camera that takes a picture of the barcode and then goes out to find the price it's sold for by everybody in Internet shopping land. Immediate comparison shopping!

Case in point: Shortly after purchasing my iPhone and loading the RedLaser app, I needed to purchase a hands-free device to comply with the new California State Law. My husband and I went into Best Buy and found what I wanted for $80. We took a picture of the barcode and, voila--21 websites with their prices displayed! Including one well-known mega site offering it for $38.50.

We took the hands-free device to the check-out and asked if they still offered price-matching. We were told that they did--"just bring in the ad." "What if it's not in an ad?" I asked. "What if I can show you on my phone? Would you match internet prices?" I asked dubiously. "Well..." came the response with some hesitation, "sure, we can do that." And just like that, we saved over half on the retail price. After having a comparable result on my second RedLaser shopping trip, it hit me that this little app could potentially make it possible for my iPhone to pay for itself!

Now, not every retailer is going to offer price-matching--and most probably won't match internet prices, but if there's no rush, you always have the option of going home and ordering it online to take advantage of the best deal.

Two thumbs up for RedLaser, which has earned its right, hands down, to be called the best iPhone app. Move over Yellow Book! RedLaser and your iPhone have discovered the 21st century way to "let your fingers do the walking."