When it comes to retail, restaurant, and grocery IT, no system is as crucial as the point of sale. While margins have eroded over the years, and there’s been outside pressure from tablets and similar mobile technologies, the time-tested POS continues to stand as the primary customer payment and interaction device. With that importance in mind, Business Solutions teamed with Greg Nelson, VP and CTO of Genesis POS, to test 10 all-in-one units from a variety of leading manufacturers. The goal: to arm you with the information you need to either confirm your existing product line or shorten your time of evaluating new products.
All-In-One Speed Test: More Than Just Hardware
One of the most significant ways you can help your customers is by enabling them to churn through patrons. That is, your customers need technology that’s going to keep the checkout lines moving quickly and efficiently. Therefore, 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.
The HP unit ended the SQL speed test in 145 seconds, placing it in the middle of the pack when it comes to speed. During the testing, the CPU hit 47% utilization. When I asked Nelson to explain why he thought the HP didn’t perform better, he responded with:
“I think it has to do with drivers and processor selection. The CPU seemed to be always at full processing which I think was video-related (starved). The newer CPUs just seem to be trying to do more in video than needed and that took RAM and CPU clocks away from normal work. When I asked Intel it was suggested updating drivers on video would help, but since we used stock the results are what the results are. I’m sure, like many slower systems, tweaking drivers and OS would have provided higher numbers.”
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. For the HP unit, Nelson noted that memory could easily be swapped, but recommended the bench for most repairs.
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.
The results of this test were either pass or fail. In the event of “fail,” Nelson tried to understand why the unit was struggling to keep up with touch gestures. The HP unit passed perfectly, according to Nelson.
Apart from touch tests, there were some additional screen-related notes to share. For instance, Nelson absolutely gushed over the screen quality of the HP unit.
Fit, Finish, Other Considerations
Unfortunately, here’s where testing gets a little less scientific, and where you really need to decide what’s most important to you. He felt that the HP had the excellent build quality of a high-end PC, even including some significant RF shielding with the chassis. Nelson went so far as to assert that the HP unit (along with the NCR) would “last forever.” Additionally, he said the dual-joint tilt was a welcome plus.
In the end, we asked Nelson to choose his top picks for many of the verticals VARs sell into today. In high volume retail, where IT controls the spend, and longevity and build quality wins over cost, he made the HP one of his two picks (NCR being the other).