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 NCR unit ended the SQL speed test in 94 seconds, placing it as the fastest unit tested among the 10. During the testing, the CPU hit 47% utilization.
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 NCR unit, Nelson said that it would take a bench to repair the unit, so typical onsite repairs would be difficult.
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 NCR unit passed perfectly, according to Nelson.
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 went so far as to assert that the NCR unit (along with the HP) would “last forever.” Indeed, his exact remarks were: “NCR builds a very stout system what many would call bullet proof/tank-like." The external case is built so that heat is absorbed into the case structure aiding in the cooling. The system also has active cooling via a tilted (down slope) fan. This fan design will require active maintenance in most environments.
In the negative column, Nelson noted that the external brick is huge (perhaps for 24V USB powered ports). Hiding the brick could cause issues for many stores. It’s rumored that NCR is coming out with a stand/system to deal with the brick.
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 NCR one of his two picks (HP being the other).