The Baracoda RoadRunners tested
Baracoda make Rugged Bluetooth Barcode Scanners, specifically designed to work with laptops, smartphones or Rugged PDA’s. They’re often overlooked in the Rugged market because Rugged Handhelds tend to have barcode scanners built in but they still have a healthy market of smartphone and semi rugged pda growth to tap in to.
We have been looking a lot at the Opticon OPN 2002 this week but as we had a Baracoda RoadRunners here this week too so I thought i’d do another test on this one.
There are 4 models in the RoadRunners range all sporting the same rugged case and general spec but all with slightly different scanning options. In order of how good we feel these are:
- The RoadRunners EVO 1D comes with an OEM Motorola SE950 Laser scanner. Its one of the best 1D scanners on the market in our opinion.
- The Evo 2D comes with the OEM Honeywell Adaptus 5 SF imager that is a great scanner for all barcodes.
- The Evo 1D comes with an OEM Intermec EV10 LED scanner. Which is the one we’re testing here. Its not the greatest scanner in the world being Intermecs budget option.
- There’s also the DualRunners which can have either of the above scan engines but with an additional contact HF RFID reader built in too.
Baracoda RoadRunners 1D – In the box
Accessories and in the Box
Everything you need is in the box which we really like to see and we have an image below to show you the parts. However there are a lot of accessories you can also buy for the RoadRunners
If you need a rugged solution then this is it. We also love the little snap on stylus which means you can scan and tap with one hand. Having 4 models options is great with a scanning engine to suit your needs and I this is the only 2D scanner Bluetooth Barcode Scanner in this class on the market. It’s also the only fully rugged one that we know of too.
The RoadRunners is not small, in fact if you can remember the old Nokia 6100 series phone (I loved that phone!!) from the 90′s then it’s almost identical in size to that, a little larger if anything. However the larger size does come with benefits as we found the scanner easy to hold and use, especially in gloves, the battery could be larger and the case is of course properly rugged which does demand a degree of size in the design. Despite it’s size the scanner is still light.
Accessories for the RoadRunners Range
There’s nothing wrong with the unit and decoding speed, but the scanner is not great and along with price, this is the main reason why this scanner sits 5th in our top Bluetooth Barcode Scanner list at the moment. The LED scanner is certainly not good for any kind of intensive scanning and for the price the OPN 2002 or Ciperlab 1660 make for a far less awkward overall scanning pace. Our videos on our main product page show this well. The scanner was more susceptible to light interference and the speed and distance weren’t as good as others we have tested. Annoyingly the button on our scanner, despite being almost new, sticks too.
However if you opt for the Laser or 2D version of the RoadRunners then this will be markedly different. However the price goes up further for these versions.
The battery is big by Smartphone standards, let alone Bluetooth Barcode Scanner ones. At 2200mAh if this Li-ion one doesn’t last you then you’re in trouble and its good for at least 30,000 scans, between charges.
Software, Configuration and programmability
Again the theme here is that setting up the scanner was slightly awkward. Firstly The scanner’s aren’t HID compatible so they won’t work with an iPhone, they do not work with Android either and rather than taking the HID approach where the built in keyboard drivers on the device are used, Baracoda use a more classic software and driver approach for each OS they support.
The cons of this are that you have to find the right software for your OS and device, there are updates and versions to contend with and we genuinely put the wrong software on our devices when we first tried to set one of these up and we’re Windows Mobile and Phone experts here!!
Having said that, once you do get things installed everything seems pretty damn stable, especially the BT hookup so even if you somehow manage to walk outside of the 100m range the device re-connects seamlessly. You can configure the scanner and scan output on the device too which is a good feature. It’s a rugged solution and all rugged solutions tend to be a little bit awkward.
Baracoda RoadRunners Plus Points
- The battery is superb.
- The ruggedness is unrivalled in this class
- It has decent accessories.
- The size will be personal preference but the overall design is nice to use for extended periods and it has the OPN 2002 (Our current No1) beat on all of these features.
- We also like the techie nature of the Manufacturer. You can just tell they’ve been around for years, spec sheets and software are plentiful and as long as you have a techie your side, you’ll be very happy.
The Cons of the RoadRunners
- Its price is the worst feature. We know its rugged but for a comparable scan engine it’s well over double the price and nearing some Rugged PDA pricing with the same scan engines built in to them!
- We’d also stay away from the EV10 LED 1D scanner unless you know you’re only going to be scanning periodically. Baracoda do position this model as such so just be careful.
- The software set-up will not be easy for some, there’s no HID compatibility and Android and iPhone OS’s are not supported at this time.
- Distributor and service support is not well geared for the UK market and be prepared for faceless help unless you find a good reseller who can help you through. Its better than Opticons but thats not saying too much really!
Take away the price and ignore the LED version and Baracoda’s RoadRunners becomes one awesome product. However the scanner we tested just wasn’t up to the performance we like to see at the price they ask for it. If Rugged is what you need then you don’t need to look any further though.
The Rugged and Mobile blog.