GAN 356XS Review – Cubezz
Written by @Mo_A2244
- Review of Service
- Review of Cube – GAN 356XS
- Completely Dry
- Lube + Tension
- Final Thoughts
Review of CubeGeneral Info
Name – GAN 356 XS
Link – https://cubezz.com/Buy-6117-GAN+356+XS+Speed+Cube+Stickerless+Version+Full-Bright.html
Availability – Black and Stickerless
Price - $44.99
Size – 56mm
Weight – 68g
Store - Cubezz.com
The GAN 356XS is a recent addition to the GAN flagship line, following its predecessor – the GAN 356X. GAN have continued to produce high quality, premium 3x3s, where the higher prices are justified by the performance and additional features GAN cubes have continued to offer.
GMS – GAN Magnet System
The cube features a brand-new magnet adjustment system, in which 3 settings can be found – strong, medium and weak. When the magnets are positioned closest to the centre of the cube, it is set to weak and when they are furthest from the centre, they are set to strong, along with a medium setting in between. This eliminates the need of carrying additional magnet capsules, and the settings can be easily tweaked with a click.
GES – GAN Elasticity System
GAN have produced an all-new elasticity system for this cube, in which various elasticities can be found using the tool provided. With the ease of setting all six sides to a certain number of clicks, all elasticities will be identical and very easy to modify further. To change the elasticities, insert the tool provided and twist anticlockwise until it reaches the desired number of clicks. After reaching the final elasticity setting, the next click will bring the nut back up to the loosest setting.
GAN IPG Tensioning System
With the XS, you can set the cube to various tensions, catering for different cubers’ needs. It is advancement on the Numerical IPG used in the GAN 356X, which had 3 possible tensioning options. The cube comes with a set of dark blue nuts, with the light blue already installed in the cube. The light blue nuts have the options 1 and 3, and the dark blue nuts have the options 2 and 4, where 4 is the loosest tension. Both have a 0 which allows the nut to be removed and exchanged. Due to the design, the cube does not have to be dismantled in order to remove and change the blue nuts, which makes for ease of tensioning.
The box consists of the cube itself, along with an accessory box containing the detailed GAN pamphlet, a blue GAN pouch, as well as the tensioning tool containing the additional nuts mentioned earlier. It also contains the GAN card, which can be used to request spare parts for the cube if there is ever the unlikely and unfortunate event of the cube getting damaged.
The cube box was difficult to open at first, but once I was able to get into it, I proceeded to removing the plastic wrap and getting first impressions
Out of the BoxFirst Impressions – Before Turning
In terms of the colours on this cube, GAN have opted for a darker blue and orange compared to the GAN X. Like GAN’s previous models, the cube features black internals, which I personally like. The black internals would mean both the black and stickerless cubes would have the same feel as opposed to some other cube variants.
The corner pieces feature GAN’s signature honeycomb design, which allows for optimum lubricant distribution as well as minimised contact area to allow for smoother and faster turning. The edge pieces feature the new GMS system, which I will be experimenting with further down the line.
Immediately, I notice the cube has a slippery feeling compared to the polished GAN X. The frosted plastic is less grippy than traditional cubes, but this would be something I would adjust to after solves.
Immediately upon turning, I noticed how fast and light this cube is. At only 68 grams, this makes it the lightest 56mm 3x3 on the market, allowing for longer sessions without tiredness, as well as ease of turning. A combination of a looser setting as well as the frosted plastic, meant that I was having troubles controlling the cube, and this is something that I addressed during the setup of this cube. The turning is similar to the Gan 356X, but has some noticeable differences, the main ones being the lighter feel and turning.
The magnets out of the box I think were set to medium, and provided suitable stability when turning, although I will probably change it to the strongest setting once set up.
The cornercutting on this cube out of the box is as follows:
Forward – 40 Degrees
Reverse – Line to Line
A lot of people look at cornercutting angle as an indication of performance. The GAN XS did not cut 45 degrees out of the box, but this doesn’t make it a poor performance cube. A cube never needs 45 degrees of cornercutting, which used to be the ethos of the past. What matters more is the effort required to cut the angles which are required during regular solving scenarios.
For the GAN XS, all cuts are completely effortless and require minimal force to execute, resulting in more predictable and reliable turning during high-pressure solves. Some cubers may prefer “blocky” cubes – those which require more force to cut larger angles, due to the increased stability, and some will prefer the feel GAN go for reliability and speed.
After doing a few solves, the cube began to become grippy and I prefer the grippy feel of the plastic to what it was a few solves before. The setup isn’t for me out of the box, and I will need to slow it down a bit to suit my turning, but I can see people using this cube at competitions straight out of the box. The cube has a light papery feel characteristic to GAN 3x3s.
Several solves later, I began to adjust to the style of the cube and my averages began to drop significantly, even without setup.
Small amounts of thick silicone lubricant on the pieces. I did not add lubricant to the core since it is plastic against plastic so already has minimal friction. People have faced problems in the past with GAN cores since they added thick silicone lubricants to the GES nuts, which increased friction and resulted in issues with reliability, so I would only recommend lubricating the core if there is a drastic increase in friction which should never happen.
The setup I used is as follows:
Blue Nut – 2 (Dark Blue)
Magnets – Strong (Furthest from centre)
Clear – 3 Clicks (from top)
The cube was of course gummy at first due to the thick lubricant, so this required some breaking in. Several solves or so later, I could notice the difference. The cube was of course slower, whilst still retaining the light airy turning. The papery feel had gone away and replaced with a smooth buttery feeling. When scrambling and solving, I could notice the increase in controllability, and the tensions were perfect for my turning style. Cornercutting had increased to around 45 degrees due to the looser tensions and the spring compression setting provided perfect balance between stability, speed and control. I would certainly recommend this setup to people with more aggressive turning styles. The lighter feel of the cube is certainly noticeable, allowing for longer cubing sessions.
Final ThoughtsThere is a lot to say to finish off about this puzzle, but I will try to keep it concise.
This cube is highly customisable, meaning there is a combination of magnet strength, tensions and spring compressions that work for everyone. The magnet strengths are perfect, catering for the extremes of low and high strengths. If this cube was used for one-handed, I would recommend the medium since the strong magnets provide a considerable bump when turning, which may require more force to turn with a single hand, but for two handed, a lot of users are choosing the stronger magnet setting.
I am still a bit confused on the tensioning and spring compression settings. My setup came from experimenting with different spring compressions and tensions to see what worked and what didn’t work, which is what a lot of others will be doing. There are plenty of options for a variety of turning styles, but I am sure not a lot of people will be using the extremes on this cube, but they are there to provide cubers with a variety of options. The most common setting will be one with the most compressed springs and a tighter tension, since this is what provides the cube with the much-needed stability.
So what are my final thoughts on this cube? Is it worth the money?
If I was asked this question a few months ago, it would have certainly been yes. With GAN now producing more and more cubes at a variety of pricepoints, with competing brands such as Qiyi and YJ continuing to provide an onslaught of competitive cubes at a mid-range price, it is becoming more difficult to recommend the cubes that are at this price level.
For the world-class, this is the cube to choose, where every tenth of a second matters. This is also the perfect cube to have as a first cube. This is because it allows beginner cubers to develop the correct habits in fingertricking from the get-go, and picking a more forgiving first cube is probably not the best idea – unless of course the user is constrained by budget, in which case there is a variety of cubes which can work for you.
If you were to get this cube, I am sure you will not be disappointed. There is bound to be a setting that makes this cube work for you, and I personally feel as though that justified the price. If you were to buy cubes such as the GAN 356M or GTS3M, there is no guarantee that the initial setting will work for your turning style (the GTS3M doesn’t have the option to change magnet strengths), but with the XS, there is a very high chance that one of the many combinations will tailor towards a specific turning style or preferred feel. The cube responds well to lubricant, with the option to slow the cube down if it is too fast or vice versa.
The main competing products to the XS are the Valk Elite and the YJ MGC Elite. Despite the XS being my main – and will likely be my main for a very long time – there are aspects of the Valk and MGC that I really like.
[TD valign="top"]Feature[/TD][TD valign="top"]GAN XS[/TD][TD valign="top"]Valk Elite[/TD][TD valign="top"]YJ MGC Elite[/TD][TD valign="top"]Winning Cube[/TD]
[TD valign="top"]Magnets[/TD][TD valign="top"]3 Settings Click on each edge piece (24 Times)[/TD][TD valign="top"]Change Centre Caps (96 Magnets - 6 Times)[/TD][TD valign="top"]Twist with tool to desired setting (completed 12 times)[/TD][TD valign="top"]Valk Elite[/TD]
[TD valign="top"]Elasticity[/TD][TD valign="top"]Adjust Nut[/TD][TD valign="top"]Spring Swap[/TD][TD valign="top"]Adjust Nut[/TD][TD valign="top"]GAN XS[/TD]
[TD valign="top"]Tensioning[/TD][TD valign="top"]Adjust Nut[/TD][TD valign="top"]Twist Screw[/TD][TD valign="top"]Twist Screw[/TD][TD valign="top"]GAN XS[/TD]
Overall, this cube is the one to beat, and has set a very high bar in the speedcubing market, with the higher price to justify, which will eventually decrease once newer cubes enter the market. The cube’s mechanism is what is used in the majority of new GAN releases, and is one that is currently leading the speedcubing market and has already set a variety of records. There are justified reasons for this cube to be a main for a professional and even a beginner, and it certainly lives up to GAN’s slogan “Your ultimate PB renewer”, with many people around the world – including myself – benefiting form the increased performance with the drop in times and more enjoyable solving experiences.
What are your thoughts on this cube? If there is something I missed, feel free to leave your thoughts below. Any feedback – good or bad will be much appreciated. With people that have had experience with the MGC Elite and the Valk Elite, feel free to let me know how they are in comparison, as well as any areas of weakness these 3x3s have. This is also a good opportunity to discuss the future of GAN. We have seen the company go towards the mid-range market, which is already incredibly saturated, so it will be interesting to see how the community responds.
My previous reviews:
Mofang Jiaoshi Meilong 4x4 and 4x4M – https://www.speedsolving.com/threads/meilong-4x4-and-4x4m-review-vs-yuxin-little-magic-4x4m.75098/
MoYu Aosu WR M 4x4 – https://www.speedsolving.com/threads/moyu-aosu-wr-m-review-vs-aosu-gts2m.75317/
YJ Yuchuang V2M 5x5 – https://www.speedsolving.com/thread...-review-vs-little-magic-5x5m-britcubes.75213/
YuXin Huanglong 5x5M – https://www.speedsolving.com/threads/yuxin-huanglong-5x5m-opinions-thoughts.75435/
DaYan TengYun 2x2M – https://www.speedsolving.com/threads/dayan-tengyun-2x2m-thoughts-and-opinions.76009/
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