Opticon OPN-2006 vs Zebra CS4070 Handheld Bluetooth Barcode Scanners

Posted on: November 28th, 2017 by Simon Swords

Need a handheld Bluetooth barcode scanner for your warehouse staff? We tested two of the most popular brands available in the UK.

Here at Atlas, we are specialists in designing and building inventory management software, and in the course of building inventory management software solutions for companies large and small, we have been asked to source and test many handheld Bluetooth barcode scanners.

Here we present two of the most popular brands of handheld Bluetooth scanners, Opticon and Zebra and we pitted their small, mobile, companion scanners head to head against general ease of use and against our inventory management software solution.

Key Questions When Choosing a Handheld Barcode Scanner


Before buying your handheld Bluetooth barcode scanner there are several considerations that will help you identify the best scanner for your business requirements:

1. Will your handheld Bluetooth barcode scanner be used indoors or out?

Some handheld Bluetooth barcode scanners work just as well in natural daylight and dim indoor lighting conditions as they do in ideal lighting. If you required outdoor scanning or scanning in dim indoor lighting conditions, you will need to check the lighting specifications for the scanners you’re considering. We tested the scanners in our office environment, under artificial lighting.

2. What types of barcodes and symbologies do you work with?

If you have to work with edge-of-shelf or product barcodes which are damaged, dirty or faded, you’ll need a scanner capable of reading imperfect barcodes. Additionally, there are several primary categories of symbologies, including 1D, 2D, and Postal barcodes. Not all handheld scanners are capable of decoding all symbologies. We tested the scanners scanning standard printed barcodes and barcodes on a computer (LCD) screen.

3. How often, and how heavily, will the barcode scanner be used?

If your business requires ongoing scanning for long periods of time, considerations such as the scanner battery life and mobile connectivity come into play. Also, some scanners are able to capture 100 barcodes per second or more and offer rapid, continuous scanning capabilities without any noticeable delay. If your business requires the scanning of hundreds or thousands of barcodes in a single day, every day, you’ll need a handheld barcode scanner with these capabilities to avoid unnecessarily slowing down your workforce and their workflow. We tested the scanners for a number of hours to get a feel for how they are to use for extended periods of time.

4. Will your barcode scanner be exposed to harsh environments?

In the operation of your business if you’ll be using the barcode scanner in a less-than-ideal environment, such as scanning edge-of-shelf or product barcodes stored in harsh environments like industrial freezers or outdoors in the rain, wind, snow or other environmental conditions, you should choose a handheld barcode scanner with great durability and the ability to read less than perfect barcodes, as in these harsh conditions your barcodes will be less than ideal. We didn’t test the scanners in a harsh environment, only in our office environment.

5. What scanning distance do you require?

In some large warehouses, holding a handheld scanner within a few inches of a barcode is not always achievable, like if you work on a forklift and have to scan edge-of-shelf barcodes at a distance. For these situations, you will need to check the scanning distance specs for the handheld scanners that you’re considering. We tested the scanners at standard scanning distances of a few inches to a few feet, this was due to space considerations in our office.

Opticon OPN-2006 Handheld Bluetooth Barcode Scanner


We have been using the Opticon OPN-2006 (the newer version of the OPN-2005) for a while, it was released in the UK on 1st July 2014 and is still one of Opticon’s most popular handheld Bluetooth barcode scanners.

The Opticon OPN-2006 was one of the original units that we used when we did mobile app development and software testing of the integrated inventory management software that we designed and built for the Hayley Group and Sigma-Aldrich.

We like the OPN-2006 for its size and weight and the fact that it can easily be worn on a keychain or on a lanyard around your neck, but only if Health and Safety laws allows it.

It is also very easy to set up and works out-of-the-box once in SPP (Serial Port Profile) mode. Simply pair the device with your Apple iOS iPod, iPhone, iPad or your Google Android OS smartphone or tablet and set it to SPP mode and you’re good to go. Once set to SPP mode the OPN-2006 works flawlessly with our inventory management mobile applications.

The range of this little companion scanner seems very good, it is officially rated as a Class 2 Bluetooth device so its range should be in the region of 10 meters, but during the testing it did disconnect from the paired device occasionally and had to be paired again with the Android OS Smartphone we installed our mobile inventory management application on.

Due to the very small size (2.44″W x 1.26″L x 0.63″D ) some people might find the size more awkward to use long term as it is very small (see the photo above comparing the OPN-2006 to a standard size business card) and has no weight (1 ounce) to it.

Unfortunately, in comparing it with the Zebra CS4070 it was more cumbersome to set up than the Zebra unit, still straightforward enough, but finding the default PIN or setting a new one takes a little longer than with the Zebra unit in practice, but we could just be nitpicking minor details here.

While scanning standard sized printed barcodes the OPN-2006 is fine, but the frequency of the scanner (1D) doesn’t allow the scanning of barcodes from a computer (LCD) screen.

Opticon OPN-2006 Summary

PROS:

  • Super small and lightweight
  • Works out-of-the-box in SPP mode with the Atlas inventory management mobile app
  • Simple to pair the device and set to SPP mode
  • Class 2 Bluetooth device so has a range of 10m

CONS:

  • Seems to disconnect occasionally for no apparent reason
  • Some people might find the smaller size more awkward
  • More cumbersome to set up than the Zebra unit
  • Cannot scan barcodes from an LCD screen

Opticon OPN-2006 Company Specs


The OPN-2006 Bluetooth Companion Scanner enables real-time barcode scanning into any Bluetooth ready device including Android, iOS, Blackberry and Windows. The OPN-2006 scanner is extremely small as it fits into a pocket or on a keychain and weighs only one ounce. It comes at an affordable price point that enables any business to integrate barcode scanning into their mobile applications. The OPN-2006 product highlights include:

  • Price point makes real-time barcode scanning with an Android, Apple, Blackberry or Windows Mobile host device affordable
  • Simple Bluetooth pairing and one-touch barcode scanning
  • Supports HID (Human Interface Device Profile) and SPP (Serial Port Profile) Bluetooth profiles for added flexibility
  • Ready-to-go out of the box, just pair it with your iOS or Android OS device
  • High speed 100 scans/second laser barcode scanner
  • Memory: 512KB FlashROM, 96KB RAM and 1MB External FlashROM
  • Leverage the free Software Development Kit (SDK) to customise scanning behaviour
  • Small form factor: 2.44″W x 1.26″L x 0.63″D and weighs only 1.0 ounces
  • Easily fits into pocket, on a keychain or on a lanyard
  • Audible and visible feedback after a successful scan
  • USB rechargeable, high capacity Lithium-Ion battery
  • Scanner comes with USB data/charging cable and neck lanyard
  • Two-year warranty

Atlas Rating: 3 out of 5-stars

Zebra CS4070 Handheld Bluetooth Barcode Scanner


The Zebra CS4070 is a handheld Bluetooth barcode companion scanner from Zebra, our test unit was labelled as a Symbol unit and has made for iPod, iPhone and iPad icons on the back of the box.

The Zebra CS4070 companion scanner was easy to set up and worked out-of-the-box with the Atlas inventory management mobile app. It is simple to pair the device and set to SPP (Serial Port Profile) mode and you’re all set to start scanning. Our test unit also suffered from no disconnects while we were testing it.

The Zebra CS4070 was also easier to configure than the Opticon OPN-2006, by simply connecting it via USB to a Microsoft Windows PC, then you can look at the files on the device, which is much better than the OPN-2006.

Like the Opticon OPN-2006, the Zebra CS4070 is a Class 2 Bluetooth device so it has an officially rated range of 10 metres.

Unlike the OPN-2006 it even manages to scan barcodes on computer (LCD) monitors, which is something the OPN-2006 cannot do, so we expect that the CS4070 would also scan damaged, dirty or faded barcodes.

It is lightweight, but much larger (4.39”L x 1.79”W x 1.02”D) and heavier (3.28 ounces) than the Opticon OPN-2006 and it feels sturdier in your hand.

We didn’t test the Zebra CS4070 in batch mode because we don’t currently support batch mode in our inventory management mobile app at the moment, but it allows you to use the scanner unpaired and then sync the data with a PC later, so that is a good feature if you need it in your business, due to interference with the Bluetooth signal in your warehouse for instance.

Zebra CS4070 Summary:

PROS:

  • Works out of the box with the Atlas inventory management mobile app
  • Simply pair the device and set it to SPP mode
  • No disconnections
  • Easy configuration
  • Class 2 Bluetooth device with 10m range
  • Can scan barcodes on LCD monitors

CONS:

  • Lightweight, but larger and heavier than the Opticon OPN-2006

Atlas Rating: 3.5 out of 5-Stars

Zebra CS4070 Company Specs


Tablets are taking the enterprise by storm because of the many benefits they offer.

The large screen provides plenty of real estate for data-rich applications. Employees are already familiar with the device, virtually eliminating training. And Tablet operating systems support the elegant and highly-intuitive graphics-based applications today’s users expect.

But one critical feature is missing — true enterprise-class barcode scanning. When the integrated consumer-grade camera is used for scanning, barcode capture is not only slow, it requires a perfect label — something not common in the business world. Just positioning the tablet to scan a barcode is awkward and uncomfortable.

Introducing the wireless handheld Bluetooth CS4070 Companion Scanner, the little device that provides the enterprise-class scanning technology and scanning ergonomics that are missing in your tablets, laptops, smartphones and other devices that are not designed with intensive barcode scanning in mind.

The ideal companion for tablets and more, this affordable pocket-sized device offers our most advanced barcode scanning technology, able to capture virtually any barcode, in any condition, in the time it takes to press the trigger — even if it is damaged, dirty or scratched. The natural feel delivers comfortable no-fatigue scanning — no matter how many times a day your workers need to scan. The CS4070 — the easy way to empower tablets and more with true enterprise-class scanning.

  • Wireless scanning for iOS, Android and Windows mobile devices
  • PRZM Intelligent Imaging technology for next-generation barcode scanning performance — only from Zebra
  • Scan virtually any barcode on any medium
  • Superior Ergonomics
  • Easy Bluetooth pairing
  • Point-and-shoot scanning simplicity
  • Built for business
  • Full-shift power — period
  • Makeover a million scans
  • Real-time and batch mode support

Conclusion

These handheld Bluetooth Barcode scanners are very similar, with the Opticon OPN-2006 being smaller and lighter than the Zebra CS4070, but so small in our testing we are not sure that you could use it continuously all-day, every-day. The Zebra CS4070 feels more robust and seems to have better scanning technology which makes it a better handheld Bluetooth barcode scanner in our opinion.

We would recommend the Zebra CS4070 over the Opticon OPN-2006, for any business looking for a reliable, small handheld Bluetooth barcode scanner that easily connects to readily available iOS (iPod, iPhone, iPad) or Android OS (Smartphone, Tablet) Bluetooth enabled devices. That is not to say that the Opticon OPN-2006 is a bad scanner, far from it, it is a great scanner if used in an environment where it isn’t used continuously and the barcodes it is used to scan are all good quality and not damaged, dirty or faded, if they are go for the Zebra CS4070.

Simon Swords

Simon Swords

Director

Managing Director

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