The best budget smart cube available, even if the software still sucks
Two years ago Moyu released the first smart cube on the market that felt like a speed cube with tech stuff inside rather than a sub-par alternative to speed-cubes that you accepted in order to measure your move counts. It appeared quietly and discreetly, at a ludicrously low price, and then disappeared just as quietly and discreetly, due to hardware faults that were too frequent for comfort. That was a shame, given that since then only one other smart cube has been able to repeat the feat of speed-cube level performance with a bluetooth connection, and that one costs 4x the price of almost all the other smart-cubes.
But now Moyu has come out with a new and revamped version that solves the technical issues of its predecessor while bringing some new features on the table. The 1 year of battery life is the first one, which is a big step up from its forebear, and means you’ll just forget about battery life until — many months down the line — you realise you need to replace two small button batteries (which take about 45 seconds and a small screwdriver to do). The design & logo have been updated to the look and feel of the newer moyu releases, making it look pretty good and modern. Its name might be the only gripe I have with it : in an age where everyone and their uncle are calling things by over-hyped names, calling a sensor-based measurement of how a piece of coloured plastic turns “artificial intelligence” might be stretching the concept a bit too much even for Moyu.
In terms of performance as a cube, though, this is a solid speed cube, with a feel not unlike the WRM v9, if a bit stiffer and less clicky, and at 56mm rather than 55mm. The lack of corner-core magnets means no auto-align, but that is hardly an issue : the standard magnets are well calibrated and the overall solving is pretty good. I was able to push out several almost-pb solves within one hour of solving, which is pretty good for any speed cube, let alone a smart-cube. There are no options for spring compression or travel distance, but at under 30$ for a smart-cube, it’s a very honest trade-off. The pieces sound a bit hollow, which makes it feel different from other Moyus, but sound is rarely the reason why you choose a cube (despite what your flatmates or parents might prefer), and this one is not noisy by any stretch of the imagination. There is no UV version of it, so you'll have to wear it off a bit before you can avoid any embarrassing yeets during your most enthusiastic solves.
The only true drawback is something that will be resolved with time : The cube is a bit too new for the usual smart cube platforms to have updated their drivers, so you’ll be stuck using the official Moyu WCU app until that happens. Say what you want about Moyu engineers, it would be better if they stuck to doing hardware... The app has a number of issues, most notably the English version not actually being in English (only few texts have been translated and the majority of the important ones are still in Chinese, making it difficult, for example, to create and activate an account). These are obviously temporary issues, and by the time you’re reading this they might have been solved. What’s more, once properly connected, the app works pretty well, even if most of the texts remain obscure. If that is not the case, hey, it's always a good time to learn a bit of a new language!
All in all this is likely the best entry-level smart cube you can get today, superior to the other smart-cubes in the price range (notably the lower-budget Gans). If you don’t mind spending a small fortune and want the best smart-cube the market has to offer, then I’ll still recommend the Gan12ui Freeplay, but if you want the best smart cube at a price lower than many speed cubes, it will be difficult to do better than the Moyu AI.
A note: this cube was generously provided by SpeedCubeShop.com, which is kind enough to send me cubes for testing as long as some of you use the code SCDB when purchasing from them. So if you’re buying a cube and you want to get it decently quickly, consider making your purchase using [This link]. That will send some love our way and let me keep doing this!