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 PioneerPOS unit finished our speed test in 260 seconds, one of the slowest of all units tested. However, there’s a caveat to that score.
We asked for our test units to be shipped with POS Ready 2009 because it’s built on the more stable, established, and streamlined platform of XP. One unit — PioneerPOS — had similar hardware specs to the other units, but arrived with POS Ready 7. Nelson took the PioneerPOS system and spent about 90 minutes tweaking it, making registry changes, altering Windows settings, and adjusting drivers. After his changes, the unit’s speed dropped to the sub-100 second time, putting it on the same level of the fastest units. (Click here for a list of tweaks Nelson recommends for optimizing a POS system)
The lesson here is you can sell your customers the best hardware and software, but if the OS and drivers aren’t properly configured, speeds will suffer. Ultimately, if manufacturers aren’t going to fine-tune the systems, it’s up to you as a VAR to step up on your customer’s behalf and learn how to make such changes. Whether such fiddling should be your responsibility or the manufacturer’s is another story.
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 PioneerPOS unit was concerned, the VAR felt the unit should only be serviced at the bench.
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 PioneerPOS unit passed with flying colors.
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. Off topic, Nelson pointed to the great packaging of the PioneerPOS unit. While not a factor in the build and performance of an all-in-one test, he felt strongly enough to mention it as something above and beyond the competition and something most VARs who receive, ship, and transport terminals would appreciate.