Toy Review: The Rubik’s TouchCube

I’m sure some of you came over here from my Facebook. Yeah. I really did buy that Rubik’s TouchCube. See, the thing is, since I work at the Geek Squad, and since Geek Squad owns Best Buy, I get an incredible employee discount. I still spent over a hundred bucks for the damn thing, but yes, I really did buy one. Let me explain.

I bought a Rubik’s TouchCube. What’s there to explain?

See, the thing is, I can solve the Cube (the analog one, that is) in just over two minutes. I’m not going for some speed championship. I just enjoy playing with it. I love puzzles. And I have this weird obsessive posture towards a Cube that’s sitting there on the shelf, desk or table. If I see a scrambled Cube, I simply must solve it. No big deal. But my biggest problem is that if I see a solved Cube sitting there, I must scramble it. And then I must solve it. So it’s a vicious cycle in which I sometimes find myself stuck, and end up solving it twelve times in a row before I finally get called away to do something more productive.

Anyway, back to my point. I can solve the Cube in about two minutes. I can solve the Revenge (the 4x4x4) in about seven minutes, and I can solve the Professor (the 5x5x5) in about fifteen. Again, I’m not a world record Cubist, but I can solve them all pretty quickly. And I own all of these, of course. I own like five or six three-by Cubes though, in various states. The stickers start wearing out pretty quickly when you buy a new one – just from rubbing on them. Silly. Should be made of some space-age material that doesn’t rub off. Either way, a new Cube costs you about ten bucks. So I said, if I go through ten a year because the stickers start falling off, then I’ve spent a hundred bucks in that one year. Why not get an electronic one that has no real moving parts? Tada!

Well, it’s pretty fantastic. And when it’s plugged in at night, it’s a bad as hell night light. Party light, I should say. I don’t think I could sleep with that thing blinking away. It’s pretty bright. But it’s also pretty hard to get used to. I bought mine a few days ago, before we even officially started selling them, and have solved it five or six times. But it takes me like fifteen to twenty minutes to solve it because the way the whole thing works is just so different from the real one. You can’t for instance, turn the bottom face. Because the TouchCube is equipped with an accelerometer, the face you want to work on must be on the upper side. Which is wrong in itself. When I’m solving my Cube, I never turn the cube. I always have the yellow center facing me. This way I always know that the white is away from me, the blue is on the right, the green to the left, red is up and orange is down. Ahem. Yeah, that was geeky. I know. But I don’t actually change the orientation of the Cube. I just turn whatever face needs turning. So that takes some getting used to.

Then that also leads to other problems. Like when you’re turning it over in your hands, you’ll accidentally spin one of the faces. And you can’t just automatically tell which one turned inadvertantly unless you were watching it. So you have to then either find the bad turn or turn the Cube over until you locate the Undo button, double-click it and wait for it to fix itself, then reorient the Cube and find which side you wanted to work on, and so on. You see where this is going, right? It’s a whole lot more work. The iPod touch was awesome. Less work, intuitive, genius. But this, while it’s a great idea, needs a little work. It’s more of a hassle than it is fun. And your muscle-memory doesn’t work like you solve the real Cube. You have to concentrate on which side needs to turn for every move, so it’s like relearning the entire thing again.

Anyway, it’s a great conversation piece, and it’s awesome to have sitting there blinking when people come over because they’re like, “WHOA! What’s that?” and you’re like, “It’s the Rubik’s TouchCube,” and they’re like, “WHOA, how much was that?” and then you tell them and lose a friend. But it is cool to have sitting around and it’s fun to putz around with. But for $150 retail, I don’t think they’re going to sell too many. Once it comes down to say $75 or so, I’d run out and get a couple more. Novelty, you know? Since I have all those other Cubes and I’m a Cube addict, it only makes sense that I’d have one. I’m definitely that guy. Sigh.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Jeremy

    I can’t even solve the regular 3×3 one. I think I woudl end up throwing it through the window.

  2. Scott

    Genius! I remember when the original debuted. I was around 10 years old, and I would OCD on it until I figured it out. Bought my boys one each for xmas last year, and know what they did to figure it out? GOOGLED IT! I was like, so weak.

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