The GoCube is a smart Rubik’s cube that boasts that it can teach you to solve it in one hour, but can it live up to that claim?
The GoCube is a connected, smart Rubik’s cube that is meant to teach people how to solve a Rubik’s cube. It comes accompanied with a robust app which gamifies the learning of Rubik’s cube concepts, keeping the Gadget User entertained.
Looking around the GoCube we can see that it is quite small and has rounded edges. This makes it very comfortable to hold. This is even for someone like me who has particularly large hands. I didn’t have any problem holding or manipulating the GoCube.
The GoCube connects to your phone via Bluetooth and boasts a 60-hour battery life which is insane! It also features a range of sensors that allow it to determine exactly how you are holding it, which assists with the app teaching you how to solve Rubik’s cubes.
Unboxing and Setup
The GoCube comes packed in this really nice box that opens similar to a book. Once the box is open the GoCube is presented to you on one side and the other side tells you that there are more goodies to unbox. You are presented with some documentation that includes a quick start guide along with a product information guide. You also receive a charging cable as well as a two-piece charging stand and a nice velvet bag to store the cube.
Setting up the GoCube is really simple, once you have let the cube charge overnight all you have to do is open the app which automatically searches for GoCubes near you. Once your cube appears you can either tap on it to select it or change the name of your cube right there so that you don’t get confused in the future if you have more than one of these.
Once you open the app you will be prompted to create or log into an account to use the cube to its full potential. Once a Gadget User is logged in they will see the way that they are holding the GoCube reflected on the screen of their smart device, maybe after a little syncing, or a lot of syncing, like every 10 minutes whilst you are using the cube.
The app allows you to pick an experience level that suits you, personally, I have never been able to solve a Rubik’s cube, so I picked the easiest one. The app has many different minigames that you can play either solo, with friends, or with random people globally. All these games are targeted at helping the Gadget User become better at solving the Rubik’s cube. When you are playing solo, you go through game-style levels that progressively increase in difficulty and skillset which, in turn, increases your skills. Another game mode allows you to challenge people around the world with a random shuffle that you set prior to the game starting. This is different from the other game modes where both players have the same shuffle.
Now, let’s see if the claim made by GoCube that it will be able to teach me how to solve a Rubik’s cube in an hour has any merit.
So, it didn’t teach me how to solve a Rubik’s cube within an hour. To be honest, I wasn’t even done with the tutorial within that first hour. The tutorial took me a total of around an hour and twenty minutes and afterward you are just left to your own devices. Yes, there is a practise mode, but it is very confusing and even if you solve the cube the way it wants you to, if you haven’t done it with the exact moves that the app wants you to, it does not let you progress.
This experience is only worsened by the app only showing you generic videos on how to solve the cube, not specific actions for you to take like in the tutorial. If GoCube really wants to be able to teach people how to solve Rubik’s cubes, they need to sort this out immediately, because in my experience I was legitimately left in the dark with no way to advance my skills.
To the GoCube’s credit, it did teach me some really valuable skills on how to look at a Rubik’s cube to solve it and I do feel that I probably could solve one now given enough time. But I still would like to see them update their tutorials, because half of the app is essentially unavailable to me because I don’t know how to solve a cube quickly.
I don’t want this review to be all negative, but there are so many different parts to the GoCube and its app that are just not finished or buggy or clunky or just have something wrong with them. There are too many to go through them all in this video, but I’ll rattle off the highlights:
The app only shows the battery percentage your cube has at the beginning of your session, and it doesn’t update throughout your session. To get an accurate battery percentage of your cube you need to close the app completely and then reopen it and reconnect your cube.
When using the app’s unjumble feature you need to make sure that your cube is positioned perfectly, and you haven’t moved any of the faces with the cube offline or the app just doesn’t know where the faces are. This happened to me when I was first learning. I needed to unjumble my cube and I used this feature which then “unjumbled” my cube but when the cube was unjumbled it was as jumbled as before I started.
Finally, the positioning of the cube on the screen seems to slowly drift compared to how the cube is actually positioned in the real world. This is something that is very subtle, but when you are trying to learn and you have to re-sync your cube, it really takes you out of the experience.
But hey, at least the cube lights up – sometimes. Also, the battery life claim of 60 hours is ludicrous. I was using my cube with the inbuilt light off and I was barely pushing 10 hours of use. Maybe that’s 60 hours without the app?
Actually, let’s look at it that way, how does GoCube fair without the app? Well, it’s a normal Rubik’s cube. Ok, that’s a bit basic, but if we look at it from that perspective, someone who is buying a normal Rubik’s cube probably already knows how to solve it. In that case, the app is a lot better because you now have access to all the games and the tutorials can be used to refresh and refine your skills. Suddenly the cube is looking a lot better.
Until you have to contact support. You may have noticed earlier in this video that I had two GoCubes. That wasn’t intentional. The first GoCube that I received was essentially dead on arrival. The cube lit up and did its little dance, but it just would not connect to my app. So, I did what any customer would do and contacted support. Cut to the worst and longest support session I have ever had in my entire life. Now, don’t get me wrong, they did everything that I have come to expect from a support team in terms of troubleshooting before ultimately agreeing to send me out a new cube. However, it took nearly two months from the first to the last email. Honestly, there were some waiting periods that exceeded a week. This is not ok GoCube, do better!
Our Final Opinion on this Gadget
So, that’s the GoCube, a smart Rubik’s cube that can teach you how to solve a Rubik’s cube if you have the patience to persist with it. It is a really smart idea that I would love to revisit once some core bugs and issues have been fixed. In its current form, I would like to be generous and give it a 3-star rating. However, if GoCube does fix the issues I have outlined in this video, I would be happy to revisit my cube and re-evaluate it.
As a final thought, I would recommend this product to a Gadget User who likes Rubik’s cubes as it has a lot of features for someone who likes and potentially knows how to solve Rubik’s cubes would enjoy. However, if you are wanting to learn how to solve a Rubik’s cube it is a much harder sell at its $129 price point.