For this month’s blog, I thought I’d take a look at the main 3x3 cubes on the market. For future reference, I'll generally have these blogs up in the first week of the month.
I’ve selected 4 cubes, the flagship models from the main 3x3 manufacturers. The Dayan Zhanchi, the Moyu Aolong v2, the Gans 357, and the Fangshi Guangying.
For each cube, I will take an average of 50 solves, attempting to replicate the conditions as best as I can on each attempt. Of course, this barely qualifies as any sort of experiment, firstly because 50 solves isn’t a very large sample, and because I have biases in my solving style that suit particular types of cubes.
The accompanying video is simply my best average of 5 within the average of 50 for each cube.
The graphs indicate how many of my solves were ‘x’ seconds, ranging from 4 to 9+
Some notes/thoughts on these results:
- The standard deviation for my solves with the Gans was significantly lower than the other 3 cubes, probably due to my familiarity with the cube and it being my main.
- For those at home counting, 9/200 solves were sub WR, approximately 1 in every 22 solves.
- My fastest average of 12 was on the aolong v2, at 6.15 seconds.
- My fastest average of 5 was 5.98 seconds (Guangying and aolong v2)
- The only cube in this group that wasn’t broken in was the Guangying, simply because I only got it recently, which is probably why I got the slowest avg50 on it. I did get a really nice run of times on the guangying towards the end of the session (clocking a 6.28 average of 12) , so I know it definitely has potential.
- I said it at the start, but 50 solves is far too small a sample to get meaningful data.
Here are my thoughts on the cubes themselves. Note that this is all just my opinion and I’m sure people will disagree with some things I say.
One word: speed. The raw turning speed of this cube is amazing, it feels almost effortless to turn. It has a very light, dry-ish feeling. The corner-cutting is decent as well, and allows for some really fast algorithm execution. It is basically impossible to twist a corner or pop an edge on this cube, and despite its speed, the guangying does feel stable in that sense. Note that this is a very loud cube
My aggressive turning style, however, means that I sometimes encounter a few lockups on this cube, simply from overshooting. This is simply a criticism of the cube out of the box, and I would think that this could easily be countered by a different turning style, and by more time spent breaking in the cube.
I’d recommend the Guangying to anyone who likes fast cubes. Compared to the others, it is probably the least forgiving, but if you turn accurately, unlike myself, then this cube may suit you.
Moyu Aolong v2
YJ/Moyu’s premier 3x3 cube, the Aolong v2, is in many ways the opposite of the Guangying. The actual turning speed of the puzzle is slower than the others, but it’s by no means sluggish. It definitely requires more effort to turn out of the box, and some could definitely see that as a negative. However, given some time + lubricant, the speed of the puzzle can be improved.
The aolong v2 is extremely strong every other aspect. Once lubricated and tensioned, it has a really nice smooth feeling, and combined with great corner cutting, the cube feels very stable and reliable. Pops and corner twists are a non-issue as well.
I’d recommend the aolong v2 to more experienced cubers who prefer a solid feeling in their cube, as opposed to speed.
The Dayan Zhanchi is probably the most revolutionary cube in speedcubing – a few years ago, basically everyone was using it, and Dayan is yet to make a better 3x3. In terms of turning speed, it’s in between the guangying and the aolong v2, not overly fast, but doesn’t require too much effort to turn. The corner cutting is excellent, and popping is very rare.
Because it is older, it’s often overlooked, but when I took this cube out to make this blog, I was really surprised by how good it still was. The downside I noticed was that it locked up a little bit due to my aggressive turning style, but this isn’t an issue when solving more calmly.
I’d recommend the Zhanchi to those looking for a highly controllable cube, as well as to beginners looking to get their first speedcube.
After my competition in January, I decided to try out a few different cubes, as I felt my Aolong was slowly wearing out and locking up more on me. I had a few Gans 357s, and didn’t think much of them previously. Most of them didn’t really suit me, I felt they were too loose and locked up a bit on me. However, 2 of them, for whatever reason, were really great, and so the Gans became my new main.
I don’t think the Gans 357 is for everyone. Its appearance is quite unique, with rounded centers and edge pieces. The raw speed is pretty fast, and it cuts corners as well as any other cube. I really like the feeling as well, really fast without the dryness/airiness of the Guangying.
The main criticism of this cube is its tendency to lockup, the cube is definitely less controllable than the Zhanchi and the Aolong v2. This can be partially solved by tensioning the cube differently.
I’d recommend that you at least try out this cube at a competition or something, some people really like it, but some people don’t like its performance. Honestly, I didn’t like it that much initially, and now it’s my main.