This month’s blog will be simply a review of the new Gans 356 cube. I got a few of these about 1 month ago, and was very keen to test them out, given that my main was the Gans 357. The cube comes in a very unique clear plastic box, unlike anything I have ever seen. The box is of a greater volume than the cube, however a small attachment on the inside prevents the cube from moving around inside. Externally, the cube has the traditional Gans look, featuring circular center pieces. The number 356 indicates firstly that it is a 3x3 cube, with a side length of 56mm, 1mm smaller than the conventional size. This size difference is unnoticeable in solves, in my opinion.
Firstly I’ll quickly cover the common metrics used for reviewing cubes, and then I’ll go into some more detail about the overall feel of the cube, and its unique characteristics.
Raw turning speed – It’s pretty quick, like most cubes on the market. Of course, it depends upon your tensions, but in my experience, it’s a tiny bit slower than the Gans 357. I think it’s somewhat equivalent to the speed of the Moyu Weilong and Aolong V1.
The corner cutting is on par with most other top cubes, as is the reverse corner cutting. This is in part a result of the rounded center pieces.
Popping and corner twists are a non-issue, which is a slight improvement on the 357 on which corner twists occasionally occur.
So what does the cube feel like?
Honestly it’s a pretty unique feel, and fairly different to the original Gans 357. It has a very slight, but noticeable bumpy/crispy feeling. Compared to the 357, I believe it is far more controllable and predictable, which is always a good thing. It feels slightly drier and airier, but also more solid. It’s trustworthy in the sense that I basically know how it will react – If I’m too forceful or aggressive and overshoot turns, then it can occasionally lock up – but when my turning is calm and smooth it works wonders. I actually haven’t lubricated it yet, just because I like it so much out of the box (Yes, even 1 month after the fact). There does seem to be some sort of factory lubricant inside it though.
One issue I’ve heard about is that the cap of the corner piece is able to infringe upon the edge of the center piece. The sharp edge of the corner is said to catch on the center piece. The solution to this (it has been done on two of the Gans 356 cubes I have) is to simply round off the centers even more. In solving cubes with these pre-rounded centers, this catching is not an issue.
A unique feature of this cube is the screws on the corners and edges. Not having designed the cube, I’m not entirely sure of their purpose in the design, but they sure look cool and innovative! It has been suggested that they exist to allow adding weights to the cube. Some have said that loosening the screws on each corner a tiny bit also helps to solve the previously mentioned catching issue.
I don’t normally give numbers or grades, but I thought I’d do it today. My final verdict on this cube is a 9/10. Personally I quite like it, it's very good. That being said, there aren’t really any objectively ‘bad’ speedcubes being released any more, they all have their pros and cons. I’m not sure it will replace the 357 immediately, but I can definitely see it becoming my main in the future once I’m a bit more used to it. I’m solving it more than the 357 in practice at the moment anyway, and I will definitely try it out in competition next weekend, at least for one round.
Who would I recommend it to?
If you’re an avid speedcuber or collector you’re probably already looking into getting this cube, if you haven’t already got it.
If you like the 357, but want a more stable cube, then the 356 will give you that.
More particularly, if you have a gentle, accurate turning style, I think this cube would be a good fit.
Obviously it’s one of the more expensive cubes on the market, and in my opinion, beginner solvers probably wouldn’t be able to appreciate it as much as sub-20 or sub-15 solvers. However that doesn’t mean beginners shouldn’t use it whatsoever, but in my opinion it’s more tailored to faster cubers.
Ideally you should always try things before you buy them, so if you can, do so. The number of 3x3 cubes on the market means that there aren't really any clear standouts, or 'must-buys', and so I don't think that the Gans 356 is clearly above the pack. It's a very solid cube, and a 'must-try' when deciding upon a main.
Gans 356 Competition/Giveaway!
Speedcube.com.au has three different versions of the cube – the standard, advanced, and master editions. Their differences are outlined in this chart. The master edition comes with a metal tension-adjusting tool as opposed to a plastic one, as well as a spring kit which allows for even more experimentation with the cube. The advanced edition comes with half-bright high quality stickers as opposed to the regular sticker shades.
We're running both a Twitter and Instagram competitions which you guys can enter for a chance to win a new Gans 356.
The prizes for each competition are as follows:
1st place: Gans 356 Master edition
2nd place: Gans 356 Advanced edition
3rd place: Gans 356 Standard edition
For the Twitter competition, tweet using the hashtag #getgans – In 140 characters or less tell us why you want the Gans 356 and follow speedcube.com.au on Twitter.
For the Instagram competition, simply tag speedcube.com.au and also use the hashtag #getgans in a cubing-related photo for your chance to win, as well as follow speedcube.com.au on Instagram.
One entry per person, per competition. Winners will be hand-picked by the speedcube.com.au team according to originality and creativity, and announced on Thursday the 4th of June - stay tuned!
Sorry for the delay on this month’s blog, the good news is that the next one will be up in 2 weeks!
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