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 J2 unit ended the SQL speed test in 165 seconds, placing it in the middle of the pack when it comes to speed. During the testing, the CPU hit 24% utilization. When I asked Nelson to talk about the speed test results, he said, “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 J2 unit, Nelson recommends bench repair only.
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 J2 unit was “perfect” in the VAR’s touch tests. Apart from those tests, Nelson absolutely gushed over the screen quality on the J2 unit, although he was puzzled over its widescreen 1368 x 768 format since most software isn’t written for such a resolution.
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.
Nelson loved the design of the J2 in that it was a “pop-up” setup (unfold and go). The terminal reminded him of a tablet stuck onto a base, which is the direction the industry could be headed. “This design had me thinking about the future of POS terminals,” he said. While we didn’t weigh the units, the J2 was clearly lighter than the others. This might be good for some customers, but Nelson was concerned the unit might fail the time-tested needs of busier environments such as a grocery setting.
In the end, we asked Nelson to choose his top picks for many of the verticals VARs sell into today. He felt the J2 unit was one he’d recommend for the Salon vertical due to its cost and style points.