Vitaliy Zasadnyy

Best test devices for game development

Recently I had a task to select Android phones to buy to extend company’s test device list. To be more precise, I had to select 4-6 phones that will cover most of the possible hardware configurations (screen size, GPU vendor, etc.). Taking into account that mainly we make games using Unity 3D.

Why is it important to test on devices with different GPUs?

If we’re talking about iOS, this question doesn’t make sense because all iPhones and iPads use PowerVR GPUs. But Android devices can be powered by Adreno, Tegra, Mali or PowerVR GPUs. These differ in texture formats and how alpha is handled. Moreover they all have different drivers and shader compilers. Unity documentation recommends using ETC texture compression, which is supported by all Android devices. But in some cases it’s possible to achieve better performance using other compression format adopted for certain GPU.

Market research results

According to statistics from AppBrain for today the most popular Android phones are:

  1. Samsung Galaxy S3: 7.5 %
  2. Samsung Galaxy S4: 6.2 %
  3. Samsung Galaxy S2: 3.8 %
  4. Samsung Galaxy Note 2: 2.9 %
  5. Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini: 2.5 %

Top device models according to Unity Hardware Stats:

  1. Galaxy M: 4.1%
  2. Galaxy S4: 4.0%
  3. Galaxy Tab 3 7.0: 3.9%
  4. MI-2: 3.4%
  5. Galaxy Note 3: 3.2%
  6. Galaxy Note II: 3.1%
  7. Galaxy S2: 3.1%
  8. Galaxy S3: 3.0%
  9. Galaxy S3 Mini: 2.2%
  10. Galaxy S4 LTE: 2.0%

Most popular GPU models according to Unity Hardware Stats data:

  1. Mali 400 MP: 26.8%
  2. PowerVR SGX544: 10.1%
  3. Adreno 320: 8.5%
  4. PowerVR SGX531: 7.1%
  5. Adreno 330: 5.9%
  6. Adreno 200: 5.7%
  7. Videocore IV: 5.4%
  8. PowerVR SGX540: 5.4%
  9. Adreno 203: 4.7%
  10. Adreno 305: 4.6%

After merging all statistical data and requirements together we’ve got a table that shows what devices to buy to fulfill the most popular gpu/screen size combinations: Test devices table

result table

Kindle Fire and Nvidia Shield are on the table, but not in statistics data.

First one was selected to list because of almost square screen that allows to test your UI on non-standard proportions. Also, it’s good to have Amazon device if you’ll decide to publish a game to their store.

According Nvidia Shield, it is the perfect device to test user interaction with game controller.

Do you use other devices for game testing? Share your list in the comments.

Share with: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook