I've never beaten a Rubik's cube. Unless you consider peeling off the stickers and arranging them correctly a legitimate way to solve the puzzle?
The TouchCube is pretty much exactly what you'd expect - A Rubik's Cube that is entirely touchscreen based.
It sounds like a nightmare, but they developers were smart enough to install some kind of clever gyro system into the toy, so it always knows which way is up. Only the top facing squares respond to any input, so you can hold the thing and don't have to worry about accidentally performing a move.
If you DO happen to make a mistake though, you can double tap a button and it'll return to the previous position. The cube actually remembers every move you make, and can go backwards through every step should you want to start from a number of turns back.
There are a number of controls here. The "undo" we've covered. There's also a "?" hint button that shows you the next logical move. There's a scramble button to reset the puzzle. There's even a button that has the cube solve itself, without cheating. And it will show you every move it makes in sequence.
Obviously, only being able to interact with the up facing square means you'll be spinning the whole cube around in your hands a lot more than you would if this were a classic cube. You could argue that this makes solving the thing even harder.
The TouchCube charges from the mains, and when it's on the charge stand it puts on a pretty nifty display, solving and scrambling itself for 15 minutes at a time. Think of it as a swanky, new-age Lava Lamp. The initial charge takes around 8 hours but after that it retains the charge for a good amount of time. When you switch it off, it remembers your last position too. So you can switch it back on and continue from where you left off.
It's kinda pricey for what it is. But the technology is definitely impressive the novelty certainly hasn't worn off on me yet. It's also worth noting that the cube is pretty kid friendly, and feels incredible sturdy. Whilst I obviously wouldn't recommend dropping it, the TouchCube could likely withstand a little heavy handed treatment.
The Touch Cube comes in a sturdy black cube box with a coloured picture on it, complete with instructions, stand and power adaptor. Its solidly built and the coloured lights are bright in all but direct sunlight.
It basically does what it says on the tin, with scramble, solve, hint, undo features, as well as being able to set the sound level emitted as the faces are "turned", and the volume of the TaDaaa sound when you complete the cube.
Its not possible to "turn" the layers quickly as with a manual rubik's cube, as it will occasionally miss your move if you're not reasonably deliberate in your finger movements, so you won't be setting any speed records (about 1 "turn" per 1.5 seconds at best) but you can do all the same moves. There's even a nice diagonal move between two edge squares on the top face that will rotate that face only.
On the minus side I've found its battery life to be limited to around 1 hour before it requires being placed upon its triangular stand to be recharged from the mains adaptor. It flashes red when getting low on power, giving you about 2 minutes worth of moves before it switches off!
The adaptor itself is a little fiddly as its light stays red to indicate charging until you nudge the cube a little, at which point it goes green to indicate charged! As such I can't say how long it takes to recharge, other than around 2 hours.
It can be quite irritating also as it can be placed on its stand and appear to be re-charging but not be at exactly the right angle. I nearly sent it back as being faulty before I experimented by placing the cube at slightly different angles on its stand!
If you don't know how to do the rubik's cube then this may be irritating having to stop to re-charge, but it does remember its last state before its switched off, so you can continue from where you left off when its charged again.
I'd recommend buying a manual cube to play with while the Touch cube is re-charging :-)
The cube's programming is quite sophisticated as it appears to use the 3 x 3 block method of solving the cube (which requires less moves) if you watch it doing its auto solve, rather than the traditional layer by layer method that people generally learn first. As such don't expect the Touch Cube to teach you how to solve the cube, go to various websites for that.
If you can live with the rather poor battery life and fiddly re-charging then the Touch Cube is a nice variant on the traditional manual cube.
I originally bought the Touch Cube as a Christmas present for my teenage nephew but decided to get him a manual Rubik's Cube in the end as the charge issues would have frustrated him.
He loved the manual cube BTW, so the Touch Cube will make a colourful "ornament" when in display mode sat on my TV stand when I'm not playing with it :-)
Too slow for the expert!, too little charge life for the beginner...I'd agree with a previous reviewer, more for the collector than a mass market thing, but nice despite the flaws.