I've bought cubes recently as follows:
1-FEB (approx) , Ideal's with "Rubik's CUBE tm" on the center white cubie.
Pakaged in cardboard and cellophane. Hollow edge and corner cubies. Squeekie,
but fine after lube with graphite. No problems with facies. Good size
tolerances--very smooth operation after lube.
20-FEB (approx) , bought 3 that looked identical to the pevious one, except
they were packaged in cylindrical plastic packages.
Two of the three turned out the same as the one purchased 1-FEB, except that
size tolerences were very poor and operation was very rough, even after
lubrication. No problems with the faces.
The third cube was packaged the same and has the same "Rubik's CUBE tm" on
the center white cubie, but is quite different. Although the cubies are
hollow, it is heavier then the others. The plastic isn't so squeeky and
seems more like earlier cubes from last year. The edge cubies have casting
ridges visible through the middle of the faces like the early, early cube I
got before last summer. The shoulders on the edge cubies were flat so the
action was very rough. The corner cubies were loose. Filing down the
inside surfaces of the edge cubies cured the loose corners, and rounding
their shoulders made the action quite acceptable. LASTLY, ONE (just ONE!)
of the red facies is inferior, darker in color, and crinkling!
20-MARCH (approx) , bought a cube with no acknowledged manufacturer, with
cylindrical plastic pakage very similar to Ideal's, labeled "Made in Taiwan".
Cubies are hollow very much like the third one from the 20-FEB batch, but the
corner cubies have covers glued in the openings of the inside surfaces. The
quality of the facies seems good, but it may be too soon to tell. The orange
facies are not brilliant like Ideal's--more of a peach color. The size
tolerances seem quite good compared to Ideal's recent cubes. Biggest drawback
(and possible overriding factor) is the plastic seems much softer than Ideals's
and lubrication (at least with graphite--I haven't tried other recommended
lubes such as silica gel) doesn't seem to make it any easier to turn. It
remains quite stiff. Also, some of the centers were screwed in much to tightly.
I'd be interested to hear any other experiences with recently-bought cubes.
I'm curious about their availability in the Bay area and elsewhere. --Dave--