9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The world's first six-layered puzzle cube.,
= Durability: = Fun: = Educational:
The V-cube 6 made its debut in 2008 as the world's first six-layered puzzle cube. The infamous tale that no cube larger than five layers could be constructed has been busted, with the new state-of-the-art design allowing the possibility of up to eleven layers. The V-cube 6 is possibly the most notorious of the `big' cubes for its complex design and reliability issues, which has roused much criticism and divided opinions across the cubing community.
The cube is constructed from 152 surface `cubies' with 218 moving parts in total. At first glance, the V-6 is about the same size as the Rubik's Cube 5 x 5 as the `cubies' are only 10mm wide. However, the outer pieces are 3mm wider in order to allow thicker stalks thus increasing the cube's durability. Interestingly, the V-6 contains more pieces than the 7x7x7 Cube due to the extra mechanism intended to prevent the hidden middle layer from misaligning. The 8 corner cubelets, 48 edge cubelets and 96 centre cubelets give a total number of permutations of 1.57x10^116, 3x10^95 orders of magnitude greater than that of the original 3x3x3.
Out of the box, the V-6 feels sturdy and well constructed. However, the outer edges `click' four times per 90 degree turn and the centre two layers `snap' per 90 degrees. This is the mechanism at work to prevent lock-ups. Ironically however, this very mechanism causes a new problem: If you don't hear the `snap' after a single 90 degree turn, the whole cube will lock up. Forcing any side thereafter will result in the cube literally exploding, and putting it back together takes a very long time if you have little experience in re-assembling cubes. When the cube locks, turn the current layers you were working on back and forth repeatedly until you hear the `snap'. Some people won't particularly mind the mentioned limitation because it only really becomes apparent when speed solving the cube. Otherwise, it is a pleasure to use.
As with all even-layered cubes, the V-6 has parity. This is where edge groups become flipped, seemingly impossible to rectify. New algorithms are required to undo these parity cases, although there are ways to avoid it if you know the techniques. In my opinion, this makes the cube more fun to solve, since odd-layered cubes become boring a lot more quickly when you're able to use the reduction method (getting the cube into a state where it can be solved as if it were a 3x3x3) without parity every time.
Overall, the V-Cube 6 is an amazing product. It is a mile stone achievement and solving it is an extremely gratifying experience. If you are prepared to use your brain and you have the money, buy it.
N.B. The three star rating I gave for durability refers specifically to the reliability of the cube. The actual quality of the cube is very high.