My interest in the Rif6 Cube came from a Facebook ad claiming the device was the perfect thing for gaming. I later met with the company at CES and expressed a bit of skepticism about this claim, and they offered to send a loaner unit so I could try it for myself.
I've since become quite the fan of this little device
What it does
There are some pretty major limitations of the little thing that keep it from being an instant purchase. It outputs at 854 by 480 resolution, which isn't bad for most media but can be a bit on the low end for games that are heavy on text. The 50 lumen brightness means that as long as the lights are low you'll be able to see the image, but the darker the room the better.
The Cube features a built-in speaker, but it's so tinny that you're never going to want to use it. An included headphone port allows you to use external speakers, or you can output sound directly from your source. I spent much of my time demoing the projector with my laptop and used those speakers.
The $299.99 package also comes with everything you need and then some. You get the HDMI / MHL cable so you can connect it to almost any source you'd like. There is a USB cable for charging or connecting your Android phone. You even get a little stand with flexible legs so you can set up the projector safely and control where it's pointed.
The projector itself is tiny, measuring only 2 by 2 inches, and weighs a third of a pound. All the ports are neatly labeled and the device works with just about any source you'd like out of the box. It's an impressive package.
And although the WVGA resolution isn't great for all forms of gaming, it's perfectly functional for most, and the portable size and utility of the projector makes up for it. I had a great time bringing it into my son's room to play Star Wars: Battlefront on the ceiling. You can set it up in a driveway, point the projector at the garage door, and play Smash Bros. against your friends.
The Cube, a laptop and four controllers are all you need to throw a portable local multiplayer party basically wherever you find yourself. The rechargeable battery pack will last around 90 minutes, but you can plug it directly into the wall if you want to play longer sessions. While the battery is charged, however, the device is completely portable.
While it's not easy to take a picture of a projected image in an otherwise dark room, this is what it looked like when my kids and I played Crawl on our ceiling. The image was crisp and the UI was perfectly legible.
And this is where the magic happens with the Cube. There are so many great local co-op games that don't require a powerful laptop, and work very well on the relatively low-resolution screen of the projector.
Sure, playing on a standard screen is fun, but why not project a huge 120-inch screen on the side of your house and invite some friends over for Nidhogg or Duck Game? The stand and portable nature of the hardware mean you can attach it to just about anything and project at any angle and, I have to say, watching The X-Files on the ceiling while laying on your back and snuggling with your partner is just about the best thing.
Also, the fan is a bit loud, but once you have the volume going on a laptop or external speakers it's not very distracting.
I'm not sure what the ideal use case is for a portable projector with a 90-minute battery, but I will say this after spending a few weeks with the Cube around the house: It's fun. Being able to throw a video image on any wall or ceiling in or out of the house using the included stand at a moment's notice is a good time, and you can build a little fort with your kids and watch Tron inside it. Having a bright, clear projector that's only two inches opens up a lot of possibilities for social gaming, and it's fun to explore that space.
For $299.99 this isn't exactly an impulse buy, but it worked as advertised: Gaming is a great use for the Cube.