The OUYA Console
We had a look at the OUYA console in our unboxing video, which you can check out below, then we'll get into the look and feel of the $99 Android-powered console.
I quite like the look of the OUYA console itself, with its cube-like appearance and beautiful edges. It's not something you'd expect from a $99 console. Once the OUYA console has been taken out of its box, the first thought is to lay it down on the flat layer - but you'd be wrong.
The top of the OUYA console is flat, with a power button on top. It is curved at all four of its sides at the bottom, with those trims being black. It's a great-looking console, and again, something I didn't expect from $99.
It's incredibly small, with the footprint of the OUYA not taking up much room at all. I have mine sitting next to my TV and thanks to its micro size, it's barely noticeable sitting there.
The OUYA controller
Ah, the OUYA controller. Equal parts good and bad. It looks and feels great, but it doesn't perform too well at all. We'll start from the top. We went over the specifications of the controller itself earlier in the review, but I really need to talk about the physical AA batteries powering the controller.
I live in a technology-driven world. I work from home, and everything I use has electronics in it apart from my clothes (for now). Everything I use, and I mean everything (smartphones, tablets, portable batteries is driven by microUSB connectors.
Why oh why did OUYA not decide to use a rechargeable lithium-ion battery like virtually all other devices? Cost. Giving consumers the retail cost of $99 has to come from somewhere, and that's one of the only reasons I can think of. I hate to spend so much time on one tiny portion of the review, but when the device is two parts: the console, and the controller, you kind of have to.
Getting over the fact of having to dig through boxes and boxes to find AA batteries, the installation process is quite easy. Now we get into the actual use of the controller itself.
I've used plenty of console controllers in my life, owning virtually all consoles that have ever been released. I wasn't expecting Xbox 360 or PS3 levels of control here, but I was expecting something decent. OUYA delivered, but only on half of the argument.
The OUYA controller feels great in my hands, it weighs what I think it should weigh, and the button placement for the most part is great. But the buttons just don't feel great to press. I had issues pressing some of the buttons at times (mostly the O, U, Y and A buttons). This annoyed me considerably, especially with most of the games on OUYA being button-heavy titles.
On my last day of physical testing before I finished this portion of the review, I was playing a game when I was prompted to press the 'O' button a bunch of times. Multiple times in a row it didn't register, which made me lose my game over and over again - disappointing to say the least.
I feel that OUYA have some work in the controller department and hope if we see a version 2.0 (which I'm sure we will) that those two major issues will be squashed.