Aures/J2 Sango: All-In-One POS Terminal Product Review

Aures J2 POS

Last year, one of our most popular articles was a product review of all-in-one touch terminals. For that review, we worked with Greg Nelson, CTO of VAR and ISV GWare, who tested seven different units. To level our playing field, we asked each vendor for a unit that met a certain spec we wanted as a baseline. Price was not a consideration. Nelson conducted a series of tests and, in the end, we discussed the highs and lows of all the units reviewed.

This year, we wanted to do something a little different. Specifically, we received feedback from readers that, while they enjoyed reading about powerful machines going head-to-head, they often get asked by customers for low-priced options. Therefore, this time we asked each manufacturer to send us its best (highest spec) unit that was under $1,300 dealer cost. We didn’t care so much about the other specs. In the end, we were going to see who provides the most bang for the buck.

Some manufacturers opted to skip this review, because they claimed to not sell on price. Some didn’t have a unit at that price point. Fair enough. Others followed our instructions and sent us a $1,300 unit. And some sent us very affordable units. How affordable? One of the units tested is almost half the cost of the $1,300 max. In the end, we received units from Touch Dynamic, GenPOS, Aures/J2, NEC, POSBank, and Pioneer POS. Oh, and we also included a Harbortouch unit to see how the “free” POS variety stacks up.

We once again partnered with Nelson to conduct our testing. Last year, Nelson wrote a custom application he could run on each unit to stress the processor. He conducted tests on the touch screen sensitivity. He commented on the fit and finish of each and the ability (or lack thereof) of each unit to be serviced in the field. He commented on the software and configuration of each unit. Finally, he even made some tweaks and recommendations. He did the same for this review.

Aures J2 Logo

Processor Test

The first step in our review was to test the processors/performance of the units. Nelson installed his custom application that read and wrote large chunks of data to an SQL database. The goal was to monitor the processor and network utilization and see how quickly each could complete the test.

The Pioneer POS unit was the fasted tested, coming in at 49 seconds. The slowest performer was the Aures unit at 95 seconds. However, don’t get too hung up on the numbers. The 49 versus 95 seconds is just a way for us to compare the units. All the units performed at a level adequate to be used in real-world environments. In fact, every unit tested this year performed as well as, or better than, all the units we tested last year (including units from NCR and HP).

Another interesting note of comparison between last year’s test and this year’s is the introduction of SSD memory. The Aures unit shipped with a good old-fashioned SATA drive, while some of the others had SSD. The result? The SSD units booted very quickly, but beyond that, there were no performance improvements. Until ISVs code to take advantage of SSD memory, there’s not much value. To satisfy his curiosity, Nelson performed some registry tweaks to make additional use of the SSD memory. The result was a 20 to 35 percent speed increase in the test results.

The draw and screen test had similar results. Nelson performed a series of touch-and-drag gestures and noted the lag experienced. As with the speed test, all performed adequately. The Touch Dynamic unit was the only one that showed any signs of lag. Upon inspection, Nelson found that the unit was using the generic plug and play drivers for video. In fact, he learned that all the units shipped with generic drivers. After installing the proper drivers, screen performance increased. We saw similar things last year. “Whose job is it to make these units shine?” asks Nelson. “I think the manufacturers need to install the right drivers and ensure customers are getting the most for their money.” The reality is that a properly “tuned” machine will outperform a higher spec’d and priced competitor that’s using plug and play drivers and not optimized.

Fit, Finish, Repairs

This is where things get a little subjective. We trust Nelson, as an industry veteran, to apply reasoning and his experience to determine whether he’d want to service the units in the field or on a bench back at the office. While all the manufacturers might claim their units could be worked on in the field, practicality would dictate otherwise.

Nelson found the GenPOS and NEC (once he figured out its unique levers and latches) units the easiest to access for repairs. The Aures unit was among the most challenging to work on, so Nelson would recommend bench repairs only.

As far as fit and finish are concerned, Nelson had his favorites and some he was less than fond of. Like last year, Nelson was a little conflicted about the Aures unit. He appreciates the aesthetics of the unit, but questions the 16:9 wide-screen format of the touch display since most ISVs don’t code for that resolution.

Additional Notes, Closing Thoughts

Nelson has mixed feelings about the Aures Sango unit. At $1,275 dealer cost, it was slowest of the bunch tested, although to reiterate, perfectly acceptable in real-world applications. Whereas he felt some of the other units tested could function well in high-traffic applications, he felt the Aures unit would be best in smaller mom-and-pop or boutique settings. Frankly, based on the high style points he gives the unit (including its 16:9 wide-screen format), boutique settings might be the target for Aures with this model.

So, who has the best? Nelson has his favorites, but his reasoning might differ from yours. When pushed, here’s what he recommended. For grocery settings, he’d feel comfortable using the GenPOS, NEC, or Touch Dynamic unit (once he installed the right drivers). For retail, he thought all were good enough for mom-and-pops or boutique settings. For busier stores, he’d recommend GenPOS, NEC, or the POSBank unit. Finally, for restaurants, he’d recommend the Pioneer POS and Touch Dynamic units (although all the others would be fine in restaurants as well).

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