Since the release of the first bluetooth enabled speed cube from Xiaomi in 2018, there have been plenty developments in the software and hardware aspects. But is it really worth shelling out the extra bit of cash to purchase a Bluetooth Rubik's cube?
Watch our video on purchasing a bluetootoh smart cube here.
What is a Bluetooth cube?
A Bluetooth cube is speed cube that is bluetooth-enabled, allowing you to use the wireless technology to connect a Bluetooth enabled cube to a bluetooth-enabled smart device, typically a smartphone or computer. Bluetooth cubes have sensors on the inside, where they can detect turns of the puzzle and send the subsequent turns to a smartphone, where the smartphone can then keep track of turns made on the puzzle.
Some Bluetooth speedcubes even include gyroscopic sensors, allowing them to detect rotations of the puzzle as well.
Typically, Bluetooth cubes will connect readily to a companion application made by the manufacturer, whether it be GoCube, Rubik's (with GoCube), GAN, or MoYu, all of which have their own user interfaces, styles and features.
Bluetooth enabled GAN 356 i3 3x3 Bluetooth Smart Cube
What are the pros of a Bluetooth speedcube?
Quick and Easy Timing
Since Bluetooth Cubes connect directly to smartphones, these smartphones can detect the exact first and final turn of the cube when solving. This allows for highly accurate timing without the use of a keyboard or a stackmat. This is great for "hands free" timing, where in some situations a stackmat might not be ideal. However, this is not allowed in World Cube Association sanctioned competitions.
Instant Reconstructions and Statistics
One of the major positives of Bluetooth speedcubes are the instant statistics that are available after each solve. Since the moves are tracks, the individual steps of a CFOP solve can be broken, timing each part of the solve and recording the solution used - a great analysis tool to find weaknesses in solves.
Since the Bluetooth cube is directly connected to the smartphone, the smartphone can facilitate real-time races between two cubers with automatic timing through tracking the moves. Online head-to-head battles are used in the RedBull Rubik's Cube World Cup, where competitors use the first party Rubik's Connected to record their times onto a leaderboard and in the final stage for a head-to-head knockout-style tournament.
For new cubers, built-in tutorial features that use the real-time move tracking can help a new cuber learn how to solve a cube through an exact guide tailored for any case a new cuber may come across using a Bluetooth smart cube. For the intermediate or advanced solver, they may be more interested in the former three functions.
Other Fun Features
Typically speed cube manufacturers include other fun features in their companion applications, such as games that use the smart cube as a controller input of sorts. Some examples include Rubik's Connected's "Guitar Hero-esque" game, where the user turns the cube in time with the music, whilst Xiaomi's Giiker smartcube companion app has small puzzles that the user solves through input through the smartcube.
Integration with other smart cubing products
GAN in particular released their own smart, bluetooth-enabled timer that connects to their companion app similarly to their smartcube, which automatically transmits the time recorded on the timer to the companion app, removing the requirement of manual input of the time after each solve.
GAN also offers their "GAN ROBOT" compatible with their bluetooth smart cubes that can automatically scramble and solve their bluetooth smart cubes.
3rd Party Software
Other third-party software is currently available on the internet for a multitude of Bluetooth speedcubes, primarily on the desktop, which allows for timing, smart reconstructions, and reconstructions using other methods than CFOP.
What are the cons of a Bluetooth Speedcube?
Not World Cube Association Legal
Bluetooth speedcubes are explicitly not World Cube Association legal.
3a4) Puzzles must not have electronic components (e.g. Bluetooth or Wi-Fi capabilities, motors, sensors, lights).
That is, cubers are not allowed to use any Bluetooth-enabled cube in a WCA competition, or any cube with electronic components for that matter - please do not try to attempt to submit and use a bluetooth speed cube in a WCA competition, as typically these bluetooth speed cubes are recognizable and repercussions could be had.
Pricier than Regular Cubes
Bluetooth speed cubes are on average pricier than regular speed cubes, and pricier than even some flagship speed cubes. The GoCube Edge is $79.95 USD and the MoYu WeiLong AI is $69.95 USD, more than double the price of MoYu's current 3x3 flagship, the MoYu WeiLong WR M 2021 Maglev 3x3 priced at $29.95. For some cubers this may be more than justifiable, with the extra cost going into the development, electronics implemented in the hardware and the software whilst for other cubers the extra bluetooth functionality might just be an extra luxury.
Bluetooth speed cubes have a battery within the puzzle to power the electronics in the puzzle. Typically, these bluetooth smart cubes have proprietary connectors which means that it is important to not lose the usually bundled charging cable with the bluetooth smart cube.
Some other smart cubes, such as the GAN 356 I Carry has a replaceable, non-rechargeable battery. GAN claims that the battery in the 356 I Carry can last for 280 hours before needing to be changed.
Which Bluetooth Speed Cube Should I Buy?
Prices for bluetooth speed cubes can range anywhere from $30 USD to upwards of $80.
The cheapest bluetooth enabled cube currently is the Monster GO AI Bluetooth 3x3, from the budget subbrand of GANCUBE.
Smart cubes include sensors that can detect when a turn is done to any of the six sides on a cube. However, some smart cubes include extra gyroscopic sensors that can sense rotations of the cube, creating better reconstructions that include rotations rather than a static, rotation-less solve which is unrealistic for most CFOP solvers.
Stickered vs Stickerless
Some smart cubes are available in stickerless, whilst others are notably only available in stickered plastic, namely the Rubik's Connected and GoCube X.
Redbull Rubik's Cube World Cup
The only puzzles currently used in the Redbull Rubik's Cube World Cup are the GoCube,
GAN 356 i3 3x3 Bluetooth Smart Cube
GAN 356 i3 3x3 Bluetooth Smart Cube is the most advanced smart cube yet to come out of the GAN factory. Key features Numerical GTN system (GAN tension nuts) Adjustable strength magnets Gyroscope technology allows movement tracking LED charging indicator… >> SHOP PRODUCT <<