How can you not love an iPhone app that costs less than $2 but can save you a lot more than that every time you use it? That app is called RedLaser and it uses your iPhone camera to scan barcodes and get you prices for the item from Google Product Search and TheFind.
Here's what the app looks like when it's scanning a barcode:
Assuming it can find the item in one of its two data sources (Google and TheFind), within a few seconds you'll see a screen that looks something like this:
Here's how it worked: The other day I was looking at this cool new Samsung camera with two LCD displays -- one on the front and another on the back -- at Wolf Camera. It was priced at $349.99 and I was seriously considering buying one when I remembered RedLaser. So I gave it a shot and as you can see in the picture above, found that it was available online for as little as $279.95 -- which would save me as much as $70! Or, if I absolutely and positively had to have it right now, there was a Best Buy less than 4 miles away selling the camera for $332.49 -- which would save me $17.50! Either way -- online or brick and mortar -- I would save a few bucks by buying the camera elsewhere. Needless to say that's just what I did (and, for what it's worth, the camera is pretty freaking' cool).
I have to admit that it doesn't always find me such great deals, like the Snuggies blanket shown in the image below, for example.
As you see, the savings were modest at best.
Furthermore, it couldn't find some items at all but it did find almost every item that cost more than $20 or $25. In other words, I found it quite a bit more effective with bigger-ticket items than commodities.
That said, it's worked more often than not, usually found a better price, and frequently found prices that were much lower than the store where I scanned the item. Here are just a few items that RedLaser was able to identify and find low prices for:
The Bottom Line
The iPhone makes it relatively easy to comparison shop using Safari or other apps, but RedLaser makes it faster and easier than any app I've ever seen. RedLaser has become one of my most-used iPhone apps and has earned a permanent place on my iPhone's first page.