Unboxing the Miura M010 Reader
The Miura M010 might just be my favorite card reader of all time, but you might not have heard of it before.
There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it: The mobile EMV hardware scene is pretty fractured. Some companies don’t have EMV yet, some companies have EMV but not NFC, etc. Most consumers to consider EMV to be a major pain anyway. That, combined with Apple removing the headphone jack from its iPhone, makes it necessary to rethink how mobile card readers connect to tablets and smartphones.
That’s why I like the Miura M010: It’s easily the most future-proof mobile reader available right now: easy to use, comfortable in your hand, and compatible with magstripe, EMV, and NFC transactions all in one device. It even has a PIN pad. Even Square’s Contactless + Chip reader — one of the best values for EMV readers available right now — can’t manage all of that.
And the best part? It’s not just a single-platform device. Miura licenses its hardware to other companies: currently, PayPal Here, Square, and Shopify are all offering the M010, though PayPal and Shopify have chosen to brand theirs. (Note: You’re not going to be able to just head over to the Miura Systems website and buy one. You’ll need to get it from your card processor.)
We purchased a Miura M010 reader from Square to take a closer look, and the technical information in this unboxing review refers to the Square model — such as the pairing process. However, the core specs and design are identical and the experience will be pretty much the same once you’ve set it up, no matter which provider you choose.
Table of Contents
Hardware and Design
First things first: The Miura fits pretty neatly in your hand. It measures just 4 inches by 2.8 inches and is thicker than your average cell phone at 0.7 inches deep. But it’s comfortable to hold. And I think it’s a lot less awkward than trying to balance a phone with a reader attached in your hand while swiping a card.
Of course, not everyone is going to be using a handheld mobile setup — they’ll be using a register set up on a counter, with a tablet and stand. Don’t worry, the Miura has a mounting cradle as well. We’ll take a look at that, too.
The design is pretty simple — at the top is a power button, a charging port, a reset button, and the magstripe reader. On the bottom is the EMV/chip card reader. There’s the PIN pad obviously, and a little button to activate Bluetooth.
The four little lights on top aren’t just for show, either: the indicators for contactless payments. When the device is ready to accept payment, you’ll see one green light. All four will turn green when the transaction is complete.
The screen is pretty small — just 1.4 inches by 0.8 inches, with a resolution of a whopping 128×64 pixels. This isn’t exactly the cutting edge of displays, but it doesn’t need to be, either. Miura claims it has an extra-wide viewing angle, which is also nice — you’ll be able to read it from more vantage points.
Battery life is a pretty important issue with any piece of tech. The M010 has an 800 mAh battery, which will charge to full capacity in about 4 hours. There are no firm estimates on how long the battery will last — I’ve read that you can get three hours of “continuous use” out of it, but that seems awfully low, and it doesn’t account for the sporadic nature of checkouts. No one has an estimate of how many swipes the device is good for.
In my own experience using the PayPal version of the reader at conventions, I’ve found that you can get a full day (8 to 10 hours) without needing to charge the reader. The mileage you get will vary based on how often you swipe (or dip) cards. By default, when the reader is on it will go into sleep mode after 8 minutes of no use to help you conserve battery.
The good news is you can charge the reader while using it! When you get the reader, it comes with a standard microUSB charging cable that you can plug into a USB charging base (portable battery, wall charger, etc.)
Features and Ease of Use
The Miura M010 connects to devices via Bluetooth — no headphone jack required. When you’re setting it up for the first time, you should do three things:
- 1. Charge the reader in advance. Again, 4 hours should give you a full charge.
- 2. Enable location and Bluetooth on your iOS device.
- 3. Read over ALL of the instructions. My working memory is not unlike Swiss cheese (full of holes!), and so I found myself backpedaling and checking the next step over and over. I’d have been better to just read the instructions in advance and process them before I started. It’s not a complicated setup, but you need to make sure you follow a particular set of steps in the right order.
Once it’s paired for the first time, as long as you don’t switch devices, it’ll detect the reader pretty easily. If you’re using one reader for multiple devices (which is permitted) you’ll have to go through the initial pairing process over and over.
Once that’s taken care of and it’s time to actually start processing payments, it’s pretty simple. Make sure the reader is on (or awake) before you open the app. If it’s already been paired properly, Square will automatically reconnect to the M010 when the app is opened.
Then you’ll enter the items (or just enter a transaction amount) and press charge on the tablet or phone. You can swipe or dip the card via the reader right away. If you’re using a contactless payment method, you’ll have to select “Apple Pay and Contactless” on the screen first.
This is where the one minor inconvenience of using the Miura M010 comes into play.
If you’re running the Miura M010 from an iPhone, or you’re using it with a tablet for line busting — meaning no countertop setup — you’re going to have to do the device shuffle. Type information into the phone, put that aside, grab the reader, swipe or dip the card, put that down, grab the phone/tablet to finish the transaction.
It’s not the worst process I’ve ever dealt with, but it will be awkward, especially while you’re still getting used to it.
If you’re using the Square stand with your iPad, it’s not going to be a problem. You can get an optional Miura-made cradle that mounts on the countertop with a 3M adhesive pad.
The reader clips in super easily — it just slides into place. I was kind of worried about the charging port being on top, but this actually works — the cradle gives just enough that it pops in without stressing about whether the port will line up. Getting it out of the cradle isn’t too difficult either. I never felt like I had to apply too much force or that the plastic of the cradle was too flexible or inflexible.
Then you just plug the USB cable into the Square stand (there’s a USB hub). You can also plug it into another USB charger — it all depends on you.
Seriously, the Miura M010 might look more complicated than most other EMV readers. There’s no headphone jack, and unlike the very sleek Square Chip + Contactless reader, there are a LOT of buttons. But don’t let appearances fool you. Pairing the reader isn’t any more complicated than another Bluetooth device, it auto-reconnects when you open the app, and actually processing payments is easy. It might be a bit awkward to shuffle devices around if you’re on a mobile setup (especially at first), but for a countertop setup, the experience is pretty seamless.
The biggest mark against the Miura M010 reader is the cost. EMV readers are more expensive than basic magstripe readers, and adding NFC hardware drives up the cost even more. But what you’ll pay for the M010 depends on which option you use to process payments.
- Square (iOS only): $129 (cradle +$30)
- Shopify (iOS only): $89; $149 regular (cradle +$39)
- PayPal (iOS and Android): $149 (no cradle available from PayPal)
PayPal will offer you a $100 rebate for processing $3k through PayPal Here within 3 months, which effectively brings the cost to $49 — which is the lowest price available.
Honestly, though, I think the cost is more than worth it. If Apple sticks with its commitment to eliminating the headphone jack, I think we’re going to see the end of the free card reader. Most basic EMV readers (just magstripe and EMV support) cost about $30, which is double the retail price for the magstripe readers Square and PayPal hand out like candy to every new merchant. Adding NFC increases that price — but it’s worth paying, because market research shows that consumers really don’t like paying with chip cards.
Final Verdict: Yes to the Miura M010
The Miura M010 is the best EMV hardware on the market right now. It’s not the least expensive, but it does what its closest competitor — the Square Contactless + Chip reader — can’t: integrate swipe payments in the same device as NFC and magstripe.
The design is excellent — it fits comfortably in the palm of the hand so you can swipe, dip, or tap with ease. It pairs easily with your phone or tablet, and with the addition of the cradle it makes for a great countertop register setup.
I’m really glad to see that that 3 of the biggest names in mPOS and commerce have picked up the device, and I wonder what other companies will follow suit.
The price point might have some people balking — but it’s absolutely worth it for a genuinely future-proof device. Even if you’re in denial and think EMV will never catch on, there’s a magstripe reader built in — and since it pairs via Bluetooth you don’t have to worry about the latest iPhone’s lack of a headphone jack.
Got questions? What’s your experience with the Miura M010 like? Be sure to leave us a comment!