OUYA controller

Ouya, the Android gaming console that became a poster child for Kickstarter when it was massively over-funded last year, has had its share of problems in getting into the hands of backers.  However, the growth pains seem to be easing, as we recently heard that all backers will receive their Ouya units by the end of May.

As any gaming device, the Ouya must be able to handle the requirements of most titles, which usually requires a beefy spec sheet. In this light, it’s important to note that the new console is powered by a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, which, although still perfectly adequate for Android gaming, has been overcome by newer processors, such as the Snapdragon S4 Pro and the Snapdragon 600, found on versions of the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One.

While benchmarks don’t always provide a faithful image of the actual performance of an Android device, they do give us a general idea of what to expect. So we were naturally interested to learn how Ouya does in benchmarks.

Ouya game developer James Coope collaborated with Futuremark, maker of popular bechmarking application 3DMark, to find out how well the console stacks up against the competition. The console scored 4077 points in 3DMark, which placed it on position #73 on Futuremark’s “Best Mobile Devices April – 2013”.

Here’s a video of the Ouya benchmarking:

The explanation for this mediocre performance lays in Ouya’s internal configuration. In addition to the Tegra 3 processor (first released in early 2012), the console is equipped with just 1GB of RAM . As a result, Ouya’s 3DMark score is behind many newer tablets, and even smartphones. Here are just a few Android devices that performed better than Ouya in the benchmark:

  • Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700 – 4245
  • Samsung Galaxy S III (MSM8960) – 5076
  • HTC One S – 5797
  • HTC EVO 4G LTE – 6097
  • Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE – 6369

Compared to the latest Android devices, Ouya is even further behind. For example, Sony’s Xperia Tablet Z scored 9248, while the quad-core Galaxy S4 scored a 10761.

However, there is one very important factor at play: price. At just $99, OUYA is very affordable, especially when compared to smartphones or tablets that cost in excess of $600.

Moreover, thanks to Nvidia’s TegraZone program, and the optimization work that game developers are able to do for specific hardware, it’s likely that Ouya games will look stunning, regardless of benchmark scores.

Bottom line, if you’re a serious gamer who demands the absolute best graphics on a console, you’re best waiting for the Xbox 720 or PS4. However, if you’re a casual gamer looking for something more affordable, Ouya has a lot to offer.

We look forward to giving the Ouya a spin. How about you? Will you buy an Ouya when it becomes available in June?

Mike Stenger
Tech lover and enthusiast, I've been rocking Android since the EVO 4G. When I'm not here writing, you can find me on social media or cracking jokes that nobody laughs at.