Over the weekend, I played with the new ConsumerSearch app for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch devices. The free app provides information about products. You can search for a product you are interested in or browse through categories. In addition, you can also scan in a barcode to find information about the product. The most useful feature of the app is the product reviews. However, I didn’t find the pricing information or barcode scanning useful.
Reviews are helpful
The ConsumerSearch app doesn’t just provide you with a review of a product. It combines reviews from multiple sources. According to the press material, the app compares professional product reviews and user reviews to separate the top-rated products from those less trustworthy. For instance, when I was reading about a digital camera, the app highlighted reviews from seven sources (PopPhoto.com, Amateur Photographer, ConsumerReports.org, Imaging-Resrouce.com, DPReview.com, CNET, and DXOMark.com). Unfortunately, the app doesn’t let you click over to the source for the full review.
Pricing and store info lacking
I didn’t find the pricing information very useful. The app did provide the price for the product, but it wasn’t the lowest price. For instance, the app listed the following online stores and prices for the Canon EOS Rebel T3i:
- B&H Photo Video ($999)
- BuyDig.com ($999)
- Crutchfield ($999.99)
- QVC ($1129.96)
- Adorama ($1182.75)
However, when I checked online, I found the same item for $799 on Amazon and $799.99 on Best Buy. That’s $200 less than what was reported by the ConsumerSearch app.
I also didn’t find the app’s get local pricing option very useful. The app listed ten Sears stores for the Canon camera. That’s all it listed. The closest Sears store is over eight miles away. For some reason the app did not list either Best Buy and Target even though those stores are less than three miles away.
Barcode scan sucks
I was frustrated by the barcode scanning feature on the app. I couldn’t even get it to work when I tried to scan in the barcode on my daughter’s iPod Shuffle. I’m not sure if it’s because the barcode is too small, or if the case is too reflective. After several minutes of holding my device steady, I gave up and tried scanning in other products. I was able to scanned in the products below. Unfortunately, after scanning in the barcodes for the products, I got a message about a review have not been written yet for each of the product I scanned in. Here are the products I scanned in:
- Immortals Blu-ray
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 DVD
- Dynex Blu-ray player
- The Son of Neptune book
- The Invention of Hugo Cabret book
- Nintendo 3DS
As you can see, most of the products I scanned in are mainstream items. There should be product info for them. Here’s something a little interesting: when I used the app to do a search for the Nintendo 3DS, I was able to find information about the product even though the barcode scanning came up with nothing. There appears to be a misconnect between the app’s search function, which is powered by the ConsumerSearch database, and the app’s barcode scanning feature, which is powered by ShopSavvy.
In summary, the app is free so it’s worth a try. The reviews are informative and useful. However, I wouldn’t count on the app for finding the lowest price or the closest store.