Magnetic Rubik’s Cubes
Magnetic Rubik’s Cubes are exactly how they seem, cubes with magnets, with the magnets placed inside each individual piece with the correct polarity so they don’t repel. And already you may ask yourself, why are magnets needed? Well, they are needed so that the face “clicks” into place once it has reached a certain area (due to the magnetic strength) meaning that turning is much easier and controllable, hence the reason all of the top cubers use magnetic cubes and that is the reason it has become the new “norm” of cubing (for flagships) as it is the best option.
How do they work?
Magnets work due to the strength that the magnets hold, for example, weaker magnets mean a lower controllability, and a smaller “bump” when turning, whilst stronger magnets leads to higher controllability – but larger “bump” when turning.
This is why magnets are such a big point of cubing, as it depends upon what magnet strengths the company chooses to use and that of course makes a big difference as we’ve just covered. As well as this the position of the magnets matter as well, considering how in “normal” cubes have magnets everywhere, whilst some companies have magnets everywhere as well as centre-to-edge/corner magnets. But don’t worry, we will talk about this next.
Magnetic Cube Brands
Some brands include GANCube, MoYu, QiYi MoFangge, YJ, Shengshou, DaYan, Rubik’s and more, all of these companies doing magnetic puzzles primarily, which shows how magnets are becoming the new norm, and how you need to know about it.
Why do positions of the magnets matter?
Well, it’s pretty simple. If magnets are on one side of the puzzle and not the other then that would cause a weird feeling cube, however, won’t be much of a difference, but that’s not what I mean by “position.” Certain recent flagships/midrange cubes have included “centre-to-edge” magnets, as well as “corner magnets” which improve the cube a lot and that is what we are talking about next.
Corner Magnets and Centre-to-Edge?
“Corner Magnets” was a recent improvement in hardware by GAN in their GAN 11 M Pro, however, how do they work? Well, in addition to the regular magnets in the pieces, corner magnets improve turning a lot as the cube is really stable and doesn’t leave a “bump” when turning due to the corner magnets. This is similar to the centre-to-edge magnets in the brand new MS3-V1 by MSCube; however, they stabilise the cube, whilst adding (along with the regular bump) an additional small “bump.” However, the ideas are great, and they help a lot. Now we’ll move onto the generic magnetic cubes and how you can adjust them.
Adjusting Magnet Strength
You may now be thinking… If the magnets are stuck inside the cube, how can you adjust them? Well that is simple… for some cubes.
For others, the only thing possible is to either double up the magnets by adding another to each magnet (so the strength increases) or you can chip of the magnets and add your own, although I would recommend not doing so as that may ruin the plastic of your cube, if strength of magnets matters to you, then maybe you should get an adjustable magnetic cube. And that is what we are moving onto next.
For example, the GAN356 XS has adjustable magnet strengths by a click of a switch, same with the GAN 11 M Pro, which has adjustable strengths of the corner magnets, as well as a spare set of corner magnets that are useful if you want to change strength. These can easily be adjustable. For example, the setting on the switch that is furthest away from the piece is the strongest, whilst the setting in the middle is neutral and the setting closer to the piece is weakest. This may sound technical, but it really isn’t.
For example, in this image, you can see that the setting on this cube is the strongest, because the setting is furthest away from the cube.
In the GAN 11 M Pro, we see switches on the corners that follow the same principal. On the corners, the setting to the right is the strongest, middle is neutral, and the left is the weakest. And the great thing about this is that once you change the setting on one of the faces of the corner, all of the faces change to that setting so that is good for customizing.
Although cubes with the option of changing magnet strengths usually are quite expensive, around the midrange-flagship mark of $30-$60 for a cube, however, the option of customizing is great to get used to.
Why is this useful?
This is very useful. Why?
Well, to put into perspective, you buy a cube that you use all the time and you speed up with that cube, but once you speed up, your preference changes, and you become more of a lighter turner than a more aggressive turner, in this case you would want to maybe decrease your magnet strength in order to get that quicker speed, however with a non-adjustable cube, you can’t do that.
That is where magnet adjusting comes into place, even the simplest of 3 settings can change customizability to a whole new level leading to you not having to buy another cube, whilst is why this area of the cube market is turning out to become very popular amongst either professional cubers who would like to improve even in the slightest and are looking for a cube that they won’t have to switch from again, or a cuber that is a beginner but doesn’t have a budget at all and wants to get into the “bigger” cubes much quicker than those who had a budget.
Overall I would say magnetic cubes were a great improvement in hardware and won’t be overshadowed by any other improvements in hardware no matter what happens within the cubing market. However, others may have a different feeling, for some cubers believe that magnetic cubes are taken for granted in modern day cubing and should be treated with much awareness of how cubes felt before this improvement was revealed to the cubing market.
However, overall I believe that magnetic cubes are great and would never be overtaken in popularity by any other big improvement in hardware… Or will it?