Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Review: Apps to make holiday shopping easier


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Even if you love to shop, it can be a pain this time of year. Stores are crowded, gift options seem endless and it's hard to determine if you're getting the best prices.

If you have a smartphone, though, there's a simple solution: Apps. There are tons of mobile apps to help you save time and cash this holiday season. Most of them are cheap or free.

I tried several apps meant to ease holiday shopping frustrations and found a bunch that make the task easier — and a few that make it more fun.

Price Check by Amazon and RedLaser (free, available for iPhone and Android) — With these two apps on my phone, I felt like a low-price-finding machine. Both let you search for items by typing in the name or by scanning a barcode. With Price Check, you can also search for items with your voice or by taking a photo of things like books and DVDs.

RedLaser, owned by eBay Inc., is great for finding items online and in nearby bricks-and-mortar stores. I found myself checking prices on everything from watches to collapsible water bottles, sometimes just for the heck of it. I used it at a local Sur La Table cookware store to compare prices on a set of water glasses before buying them, and was pleased to see the $19.99 price was lower than at some online retailers and a nearby Bloomingdales department store. Learn More...

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