Utilizing our recent Best Channel Vendors survey results, we re-sorted the data to determine which manufacturers had the highest product-related scores in the survey. As a result, we had a field of 13 manufacturers with scores we felt were high enough for consideration. Among those companies, Elo and ToshibaTEC declined to participate in this round of testing. Of those willing to participate, we used input from readers and Nelson to establish our baseline target specs for the test units, which we felt represented a typical regular-duty terminal. We asked manufacturers to provide Nelson with their model that had (as closely as possible) a 1.8 GHz Intel Dual Core Atom Processor, 2 GB RAM, a mechanical hard drive, and POS Ready 9 as the OS. If you want more info on why we chose these specs, visit the extended article online (the link appears at the end of this article). Once the units began arriving, Nelson began his testing.
How To Test For Speed
Testing the processing capabilities of the POS units was something we definitely wanted to do. Of course, if every manufacturer was able to exactly meet our specs, this comparison test might produce exactly the same speeds and prove to be a wasted effort. As it would turn out, we received a variety of slightly different configurations, which yielded some surprising results.
To facilitate the test, Nelson took the time to craft a SQL-based VisualBasic application designed to equally stress the processors, hard drives, and Ethernet components of each system. The test included measuring the time it took for 5,000 PLUs to be added, updated, and deleted. Additionally, since many vendors use local database systems to contain offline transaction history in the event of power failure or a credit card gateway drop, Nelson crafted his test software to mimic this situation.
Below is a short video of Nelson walking you through the testing process.
Servicing Your All-In-One
The ability of VARs or even your customers to easily service the terminals also played a factor in our testing. Nelson found the units to fall across a spectrum of serviceability ease. Indeed, many were classified as “bench repair only,” which means that Nelson felt the units would be best serviced off-site by a bench technician. Others could be serviced on-site with minor considerations.
Many manufacturers claim that their units can be easily serviced, but what that means exactly is open to interpretation. Does that mean a hard drive can be swapped out? What about replacing the entire motherboard? The important thing to note here is that the results of the testing are Nelson's opinion based on his years of servicing POS equipment.
Touch Screen Testing
The part of the POS system your customers are going to experience most often is the touch screen. For that reason, we wanted to see how the screens responded to the most basic of tests. Nelson opened Windows’ Paint application on each unit and dragged his finger to create a line. Additionally, he performed a series of gestures where he tapped his finger around the screen.