You may have heard the news that Amazon has opened up their Dash Wand to everyone, meaning that it is no longer just for users of their Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service. Here’s what the Dash Scanner Wand is, and what it isn’t.
Now, if you are anything like us, you may have been excited at the thought of being able to take a scanner to the store with you, and instantly scan something to look it up on Amazon, or even just to one-click order it from Amazon without looking it up.
Because that’s not what it is.
In fact, the Amazon Dash Wand is nothing more than the order/reorder function of the Amazon Echo, without the..you know.. Echo.
In fact, it’s not even as smart as the ordering function of the Echo, because the Dash Wand only puts each item in your cart. You still have to log in to Amazon to complete the orders. (With the Echo, if you say “Alexa, re-order Marley Coffee”, the Echo will confirm what you said, and that’s it – the Marley Coffee is on its way to you.
Moreover, the Dash Wand requires a wireless connection, so you can’t even take it shopping with you (although we guess you could tether it through your smartphone).
Which brings us to another point: you have to have your smartphone or your computer in order to actually place the order, because, again, it only adds items to your cart, you can’t even one-click order with it.
So what’s the big deal? Well, basically that now the Dash Wand hooks into Amazon’s entire catalogue, whereas before you had to be a member of the Amazon Prime Fresh grocery service to even get or use the Dash Wand, and the wand only hooked into Prime Fresh’s catalogue.
To our mind, the much better Amazon offering in this regard, and which doesn’t even require you to buy an extra gadget, is the Amazon Flow app.
Amazon Flow is a stand-alone app from Amazon that uses your smartphone camera as a scanner to look up items on Amazon. You can take it with you shopping to comparison shop, or to order that “Ohmygod I didn’t know they made that, I must order it from Amazon now!” item on the spot, as well as, of course, to order/reorder things around your house.
Scan a Code with Amazon Flow
Once you’ve scanned the bar code with your phone, the product info pops up right on the scanner screen, including the price and how many review stars it has, and a button to click if you want more information or to order it on Amazon (if you click the button it opens the Amazon shopping app).
Product Info on Scanner Screen
And here’s something else really cool – the Amazon Flow app doesn’t just scan bar codes, it scans objects!
Ooh, Pretty Blue Dots!
Amazon Flow Identifies Vitamix
Now that’s pretty cool! We also tried it on our Macbook.
In both instances it correctly identified the object (!), and then showed us some accessories. In the case of the Vitamix, it took us directly to this Vitamix book.
All that said, if you are interested in the Amazon Dash Wand, you can order it here (and actually that page on Amazon is worth visiting if only to watch the creepy Mr. Frog video they have put together to explain the Dash Wand).