Okay, I've now spent the weekend playing with both the Buckycubes as well as the larger 1/4" cubes I purchased on eBay from seller "joba51".
First, to answer Niric's question, the metallic coating seems to be identical. I have no idea how thick the coating is, but from a purely aesthetic "beauty is only skin deep" approach, they look the same. I expect them both to hold up equally as well over time. Besides, if I understand it right, it's the colored paint on the colored Buckyballs (like red, gold, etc) is what flakes off, not the actual metallic coating under that paint (which these don't have that colored paint, it's just the metallic coating).
Now for some quick pro's and con's for each.
- Because they're smaller/weaker, they're easier to manipulate and pull apart
- If you bought 3 woots (6 sets), that's a lot of cubes for a low price
- They are smaller/weaker. Personal preference, but I am more impressed by the stronger big ones
- As mentioned above, the consistency and quality is a little more mediocre than I would have liked. 2 or so cubes came with chipped edges, and at least 1 is malformed (wider than the rest, so a rectangular prism rather than a cube)
eBay/Joba51 1/4" cubes
- Bigger/stronger may be a personal taste thing, but they are almost twice as big, twice as strong, twice as impressive. Easier for me to stack them as they're easier to see and hold.
- Better consistency and quality, as NONE were chipped, and ALL were consistent and uniform cubes!
- Bigger/stronger, so they are harder to pull apart than the smaller/weaker Buckycubes.
- joba51 sells on eBay, which some may despise. Other places like Amazon and specialty stores have 1/4" cubes, but I can't speak for them, only joba51's.
Overall, I give my tip of the hat to Joba51's cubes. Mostly this is because they're bigger/stronger, and more uniform (better quality). Plus, I've been meaning to avoid the Bucky brand name, as I feel they're overpriced for what you get. Your mileage may vary.
Hope this helps!