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.
As far the Stingray was concerned, the unit came in as one of the fastest among those tested, finishing the speed test in 99 seconds. CPU utilization reached 48% during the test.
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. As far as the Panasonic was concerned, his message was mixed. “The computer LCD panel can be pretty much on-site rebuilt,” he remarked.” The stand can be repaired, but bench is always better. I typically would just bring an extra base on repair calls.”
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 results showed that the Panasonic model had issues keeping up with his finger’s movements. Nelson speculated that the film thickness on the Panasonic touch screen was to blame for the spotty results.
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.
The Stingray Envo unit received generally favorable comments in all areas, although, similar to the NCR unit, Nelson wasn’t a fan of the giant power brick. “Like others here in the review it is a stand out in fit and finish but it does have some issues that could be improved on,” he said. “The unit Panasonic sent needed some alignment on the stand in respects to a few panels. While not a show stopper, some stretch wrap would be a good idea during packaging. The modular design was nice if you just need a great touch device/CPU combo and is sold in this manner.
In the end, we asked Nelson to choose his top picks for many of the verticals VARs sell into today. He felt the Stingray unit was one of two units he’d recommend for the large grocery ($8 million plus) vertical where the long haul is important, as well as for the small and large restaurant spaces.