The Big Flaw in Modern Mobile Design

November 23rd, 2013

What’s the point of product design if everyone is just going to put the device in a case? A case rarely improves the user experience and instead simply provides the user with the reassurance that if they accidentally drop their device it will be alright. Not to mention the larger pocket fingerprint. Cases usually don’t seem to bother people once they’re on too, this is only a good measure of how important software, operating system, and software ecosystem are over hardware design.

A non-durable device, no matter how sleek, provides a sub-par user experience due to its fragility, or rather the feeling of fragility. There are devices out there that are the epitome of this, devices that make me 100x more careful when handling. So much so that I am constantly focusing on making sure the device is secure in my hand, rather than the experience the product has to offer.

The best device should feel not only feel durable but it must live up to that feeling at the same time. It should feel herculean, it should instill the same level of confidence we have in the software on the phone, essentially, it shouldn’t fail if we make a mistake. The phone case industry today is a testament that we are not confident in the structural (let alone aesthetic) integrity of our phones. There is certainly glass that can take the impact of a drop, there are also materials and practices that can make a device withstand said drop. Why aren’t they both in a product in my hand?

54.6mm FangShi Shuang Ren Review

October 29th, 2013

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My first impressions said a lot in the video review of the FangShi ShuangRen. It’s my hope that these post impressions say just as much. It’s a really good cube, stands as a testament along how far cubes have come in the last five or even three years. I cannot open this cube up and as a result it does not pop.

A Bit of History First

There have been cubes that do not pop in past, the name “DIY New Type A” comes to mind and I’d be very surprised if anyone reading this remembers it. The “new type A” couldn’t pop but was pretty atrocious. The edges had these planks on them, a bit like the Alpha V but longer. These planks were separate from the edge and would come off easily, and you had to assemble it yourself when you first get it. If you assembled it correctly and the planks stay in, the cube could not be popped, but one of those planks fall out and you could have a mess on your hands to take the edge out and repair it. Believe me, it was awful and I haven’t seen one since.

The Rest of the Review Now…

I can confidently say that the FangShi is nothing like that. The Fangshi works like a charm. The turning reminds me a lot of a ShengShou 4×4 or 5×5, very smooth, no catches. Corner cutting margins are not the same as you would get on a Dayan cube, but they’re still very acceptable. The one annoyance I have is the size actually, it’s just that much smaller that my fingers collide too much. I can still get good times despite this, but I have to make a small adjustment every time I start a session with it. There is also a 57mm version of the cube I would be interested in trying.

b-w

A comment on the video clearly explained how to take the cube apart. The insides are very complicated and it’s soon apparent that a lot more pieces make up this cube than you think. Pictured below are the edges, the corners, and a all three parts of a corner. I believe this is the first time I’ve used this phrase for a cube, but it is beautifully designed, truly built inside out.

edges corners coner-dis

Overall the cube makes you wonder how much better it can get than this, but we’ve all thought that at one point or another I’m sure. This would be a good cube for any level of cuber to get, and I imagine it would last them a long time. You can buy it at Lightake for $15 and shipping is free.

Dayan PanShi Review

October 19th, 2013

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The PanShi is a combination of daring and lazy. On one hand they were trying to make some thing new and better. On the other hand you can see exactly how the designers just copied the ZhanChi CAD file and made a few small modifications. These modifications include wider “wings” on the edges, and a higher “lip.” Both do a really good job of keeping the pieces from popping, but at the expense of wide corner cutting margins and hence speed.

ZhanChi corner on the right, PanShi on the left.

ZhanChi corner on the right, PanShi on the left.

ZhanChi edge on top, PanShi edge on bottom.

ZhanChi edge on top, PanShi edge on bottom.

This doesn’t mean it’s a bad cube. I can certainly get sub-15 times on it, however not very consistently. (For context I consider myself to average a mid-14 with a ZhanChi). I’ve been trying to get better at blind solving and I think this is a really good cube for my practice. It’s hard to make accidental moves on it and the sides click in such a way that is very distinct. It gives the same kind of good feeling the clicks from a mechanical keyboard give, that is I get tactile and audible feedback from a turn.

You can see the mechanisms that keep the edges in here.

You can see the mechanisms that keep the edges in here.

I can see this being a really good cube for people still over 25-30 seconds. It encourages clean turning, and it doesn’t pop as frequently as a Rubik’s brand might. However in the end this is a prime example of the innovator’s dilemma, it just doesn’t stand up to its predecessors at all.

 

The Dayan PanShi can be bought on Lightake.com for $13.08 USD and they have they have free shipping anywhere in the world.

The stickers are actually pretty nice.

The stickers are actually pretty nice.

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