April 19th, 2023
Basilio Noris

A locky, unreliable, quiet cube with a papery feel that is functionally identical to its predecessor, but with slightly different center caps.

  • Weight & feel – light, with a papery feel when turning
  • Turning Speed – moderate
  • Corner Cutting – very dependent on settings
  • Magnets – Medium strength, theoretically adjustable, in practice not really
  • Lockups – Very frequent on compression settings that let the cube go fast, but also happen on tighter compressions
  • Sound – Very quiet with a papery sound that won't disturb people sitting close by
  • Looks – Weird: center caps look as if they were from another cube, but overal it's not a bad looking cube. 
  • Plastic – High quality, colors are a bit less muted than on its predecessor
  • Similar-feel cubes – MGC Evo 1
  • Price – 20-25$
For a cube called Evolution, it doesn’t showcase much of it…

A couple of years ago, everyone was adding dual adjustment, then triple adjustment systems to their cubes, in a race to see how many things could be tweaked and changed within the cube itself. They started by adding different springs in the box, then added ways of compressing those springs with caps, nuts, bolts and whatnot. They then moved their attention towards magnets and made a bunch of not glorious experiments there as well. The trend has since calmed, and some manufacturers have gone back to making most design decisions for their users and removing some of their adjustment freedom (or selling you 3 different cubes where the only thing they change is the magnets they put in). Last year MG C decided to do something similar, just badly.

The contribution from MG C to cube engineering has been not to remove magnet adjustments or maglev, but rather to remove the screws and making it impossible to adjust travel distance. Unfortunately, much as I agree that many adjustments and settings from cubes are not what I’d call “useful”, having a bad version of them is worse. Spring compression is important IN TANDEM with travel distance : it makes it possible to fine tune the trade-off between speed and flexibility, allowing for particular feels like the 1st Tengyun with very stiff springs on a relatively loose screw, or on the opposite end of the scale the Tengyun V2, which manages to be TOO flexible regardless of whatever settings you try to use (oooh Dayan, you creative devils!).

This is not possible on the EVO: you either have loose springs and a cube that locks up all the time or tight ones and a cube that is just slow, with no possibility to compensate the stiffness with slightly more travel distance. The result is a cube that will either work for you, or it won’t, and too bad if it doesn’t. And having 11 different settings for spring compression just means being more accurate at making the same mistake. What they DO let you change are the magnets, and here you'll find yourself baffled as you try to understand in which direction magnets are weaker or stronger, with barely any difference between the maximum and minimum settings, and an iffy screw system that sometimes cycles back to strongest, but sometimes doesn't.

The look has changed slightly : gone are the octogonal center caps, replaced with a rounder (albeit still somewhat squarish) cap that actually sinks slightly inside. The very round and long bevel makes the center caps look as if they were made from another material, and not being flush with the outer pieces in the cube makes it seems as if they had put the pieces from the wrong cube onto this core. Fun fact : the center caps were VERY nice to take off on the first EVO, they are now flimsier (expect to break them if you try to open them up too often), AND they’re not symmetric, meaning you can only fit them one way, and usually have to try it twice before you get the correct one. The look of its predecessor was very particular but at least it was coherent. This is a rounder, more meh variation. The logo looks like a logo though, and not my sister learning to use Microsoft Wordpad.

I’ve managed to get through 4 very dense paragraphs without mentioning how it performs at all. That’s probably because out of all the things that come to mind, its performance is really not one that pops up. It’s an ok cube that locks up more than it should but is rather smooth and not too slow most of the time. The frosted surface makes it difficult to judge from the first ao100 I’ve done it, but my times were between 1 and 2 seconds slower than my first average with the other recent cubes I’ve reviewed (2 seconds with UV coated cubes, which have an unfair advantage on the starting block).

Other than that, it’s relatively quiet, retains that papery feeling from the first version, and you can get ok times with it when it doesn’t lock up. That’s a better experience than I had with the Tengyun V3, but that’s not a high bar to aim for. The looks are ok, the build quality is really good (no blemishes, transparencies or moulding marks anywhere) and it does not feel like a cheap cube. It just doesn’t perform as anything resembling the good cubes that have come out the past 2 years.

“But Bas, should I buy this cube?”
No, there is no reason to get this cube besides wanting to complete a collection of all MGC puzzles. It boggles the mind that a company that manufactures the best cubes for almost all non 3x3 events is so bad at making the foremost twisty puzzle.