/ mobile

Barcode reader test: Kaywa (test winner)

I have tested 6 different barcode readers for mobile phones. And I will publish a review of each barcode reader here. First out is the test winner Kaywa. The Kaywa barcode reader makes all the other barcode readers seem like beta software. This barcode reader is so much better than any of the others tested. This software is a good example of how it should be done.

Authors Note:

Better barcode reader than Kaywa

After Kaywa I tested a different barcode reader that now would have won the test. If you are looking for a good barcode reader, I now recommend Quickmark. Read my review of Quickmark.

All of the other barcode readers tested (except shotcode) require a lot from the user. You have to get the barcode correctly focused, correctly placed on the screen and hold the phone still long enough for the barcode reader to do it's action. This however is not the case with Kaywa barcode reader. All you have to do is point the phone towards the barcode and it scans. It's totally amazing how Kaywa manages to read barcodes from great distances, weird angles and even in bad lighting. This test showed that most barcode readers used anywhere from 5 to 60 seconds to scan a barcode. Kaywa however normally scans a code in less than 1 second. I repeat, less than one second.

Article continues after ad

So let's take a look at the features of Kaywa reader. Kaywa reader is a full featured 2D barcode reader for mobile phones. Let's take a look at the settings first:

Language: This setting seems not to be enabled yet.
Audio: Turn on and off the beep when a code is scanned
Keep history: The reader can keep a history of your last 10 scans
Resolution: Best or basic
Scan mode: Normal or close up

The software also features an invite a friend feature that sends a SMS to somebody inviting them to download the software. (Never used it though) It also features a nice check for latest version feature that opens your browser on the phone to check if there is a newer version of the software.

These barcode readers use different codes for different things, like an URL, a phone number etc. Unfortunately they mostly use different standards for this. So let's take a look at what Kaywa can do:

Supported formats


If you format the text in the barcode in the format URL:http://www.yoururl.com, Kaywa will recognize it as a website address. Kaywa also normally manages to find URLs in the text even if you don't put a URL: in front of it. When you scan a URL Kaywa will automatically detect it and give you the choice of surfing to the webpage, or saving it as a bookmark in your browser.

Telephone number

If you format the text in the barcode in the format TEL:phonenumber, Kaywa will recognize it as a telephone number. This has to be formatted correctly though. If you just enter the phone number in standard national format without the TEL: tag, Kaywa thinks it is an internal blog code (we'll get to that later). If you format it in the standard international format ( +xxxxxx ) without the TEL: tag, Kaywa will recognize it as regular text. When you scan a telephone number Kaywa will give you the option of calling the phone number, or adding it as a contact in your contact list (unfortunately it only can be added as a new contact, not as a new number to an existing contact).


If you format the text in the barcode in the format EMAIL:emailaddress, Kaywa will recognize it as an e-mail address. Kaywa will also normally recognize an e-mail address even if it doesn't have the EMAIL: tag in front of it. When you can an e-mail address Kaywa will give you the option of sending an e-mail to that address using the phones built-in e-mail client, or saving it in your contact list. Again it can only be saved as a new contact, not added to an existing.


This is a really nifty feature. You can format the content of a barcode to be SMSTO:number:message_to_send, and Kaywa will recognize it as a SMS. When Kaywa scans a SMS message like this it will give you an option to send the SMS. This is great for ordering ringtones, etc.

Kaywa blogs

With Kaywa you can get a free mobile blog website. Or if you like sign up for their premium services that offer you more. Each blog gets a personal id, and a barcode is automatically created for this id. When Kaywa scans a number it will believe this is a blog id and give you the option to go to that blog. Nice feature if you are into blogging.


The last thing Kaywa handles is called free text. This basically means anything not formatted like the above options. When you scan a free text Kaywa will let you copy the text, so you can paste it in any other application on your phone.

Article continues after ad

Supported handsets

When this article was written the following phone where supported. And according to their website they are working on adding support for more phones.

When this article was written the following phone where supported. And according to their website they are working on adding support for more phones.


E770, RAZR V3x


3230, 3250, 5300, 6136, 6233, 6260, 6270, 6280, 6288, 6600, 6620, 6630, 6670, 6680, 6681, 6681, 7610, N70, N71, N73, N80, N90, N91, N93



Sony Ericsson

K300i, K610i, K700i, K750i, K800i, V630, V800, W300i, W550i, W710i, W800i, W810i, W850i, Z520i, Z610i



  • best cell phone barcode tested yet
  • extremely fast
  • extremely easy to use
  • nice features


  • uses the same interface as the camera (at least on my N80). So the screen is rotated.
  • we would like to see features for encoded barcodes containing images and business cards.


Rating: 10/10 (test winner)



How to get it

Direct download

Point your phones WAP browser to http://reader.kaywa.com. It is important you use your WAP browser not web browser (On my Symbian 3rd edition N80 this means use the browser called Services, not the one called Web) otherwise you will get a message stating that your phone is not supported.

Download to your computer and upload to your phone

First go to http://id.kaywa.com and register (it's free). Next go to http://reader.kaywa.com/getit, log on with the account you created in the previous step and select the Via computer to you phone download.

Photo by Pete Bellis / Unsplash