As designed the SquareOff Pro is a great, innovative product. Here are my pros and cons.
- auto-recording of OTB games
- playing OTB against online opponents at slower time controls, e.g. 10+10
- compact-ish (in its product box)
- useful options to play against app engine
- ChessHouse is a great supplier (trying to buy direct from Square Off for international delivery was not a good experience)
- the in-board firmware and app (especially) is very buggy, but this should be completely fixable over time if Square Off make the effort. The bugginess only screws up games < 5% of the time (currently).
- working around the bugginess (e.g. recovery from error states) takes patience and a little adjustment (e.g. in how one moves the pieces) from the board owner
- the Square Off community is too small to be useful for online play
- the Lichess app integration (I haven't tried chess.com yet) is still poor and only just on the right side of usable (bugs = big rating losses because the ELO matching doesn't seem to work)
- playing against the AI (engine) is very useful, but Stockfish's skill levels (to make the engine beatable) is clunky (obviously dumb moves to lower it's ELO) and not very human. But learning to accurately win against a handicapped engine is clearly useful and playing out endgame positions is great.
- the price is a bit eye-watering, especially for international customers (to the UK cost +£50 for fedex and +£60 for customs).
So, bottom line, the SquareOff Pro is a very cool chess tech with definite benefits (for learning and playing chess). The hardware is fantastic. The software is early days and SquareOff need to be careful it doesn't devalue the hardware. The price/value is up to the buyer but I'm happy so far, hence 4*. When I worry I worry about the long-term reliability and reparablity of the sensor wiring in the foldable board element (already received/replaced one defective board).