You can probably already know from the name and advertising that the new Gans 356 Air is much lighter. Although Does being lighter mean it can perform better. The Gans 356 Air is the latest iteration of the successful Gans line up. It comes with the very distinguishable packaging which consists of a clear plastic box that can actually be combined to form a giant 2×2. The version I got was the Masters Version which comes with half bright stickers, a metal tool, and 3 extra Gans Elasticity System (GES) S-series components, which are basically a nut which encases a spring that holds the layers together.
Out of the box I immediately fell in love with the Gans 356 Air. It’s the first time I experienced a speed cube that had such a unique feeling. Turning on the Gans 356 Air is super smooth but at the same time it is very light which makes for faster turning layers. I loved this speed cube so much that only after a day of opening this speed cube I used it as my main 3×3 for an official competition.
Breaking in the Gans 356 Air is was super easy, it actually felt broken in already since it is so smooth. Although after a few solid averages of 12 it was easily broken in. Getting correct tensions however was very tricky and resulted in probably the longest I have ever took to find proper tensions. It was long but I got it done, if it weren’t for the metal tool and the GES components I probably would have take even longer. With correct tensions and Calvin’s lube to make things move well I could really observe it’s characteristics.
It’s very strange because the feeling is really really smooth there is no doubt about that. Although when you start solving and turning the layers you will notice that it is also really fast. There is usually a compromise or balance in these two things for speed cubes. A speed cube can be really fast but lack smoothness, or it can be really smooth back lack speed. The Gans 356 Air is really smooth while being really fast.
Corner cutting is definitely there but is not the best. Small misaligned turns will be handled with no problem but during bigger layer misalignment you will really feel the corner cutting. You will hear and feel snapping during these minor corner cuts although on more extreme corner cutting it will lock up or considerably hinder your solve.
Catches and Lock ups:
You will see catching and locking up with the Gans 356 Air. I encountered catching quite a lot because of the limited corner cutting. Mostly the catches are really small and isn’t very noticeable although it can get quite bad that it will disrupt your entire solve. There are some occasion also where I do get lock ups which is really bad although this only happens during very rough and fast solves.
I really really love how the Gans 356 Air is super smooth while being super fast. This is a quality that I haven’t really found on other speed cubes. With fast turning layers I can perform algorithms with little to no effort. At the same time it’s smoothness gives me such control and allow me to concentrate on look ahead because I’m not worried over overshooting or under rotation. This combination takes my look ahead to the next level and actually improve my times. I achieved my personal best average with the Gans 356 Air of 11.92 average of 12. There are quite a few averages where I performed a couple of sub 10’s which is quite rare for me.
The Gans 356 Air looks to be the perfect speed cube for me although it does have a big flaw and that is the corner cutting. Corner cutting is just lacking with the Gans 356 Air and while the turning is a dream, layers do catch quite often. The bad corner cutting which leads to catching on this speed cube isn’t actually that bad. There are definitely some really good speed cubes that have worse corner cutting that the Gans 356 Air. However, despite all this the bad corner cutting on the Gans 356 Air can actually be a deal breaker just because the turning of this speed cube is just so good which really makes you want it to have good corner cutting. This will actually disappoint you more because if corner cutting was any better then the Gans 356 Air will be perfect.
I do get super fast times with this speed cube although I didn’t really improve my averages of 12. I was able to break my personal best average of 12 with the Gans 356 Air but I can’t see any improvements with my averages overall. The smooth and fast layer turning gives me fast times but the catching will give me more slower times which is the reason that I can’t improve my averages.
I really like the Gans 356 Air, more particularly it uniquely exceptional turning characteristic. I just recently found out that Grand Master Limited Edition features G-series components which gives 3 more possible tensions. I really really do hope that with more possible tensions or further breaking in the Gans 356 Air would improve on it’s corner cutting. The moment that happens the Gans 356 Air could be that perfect speed cube.
To wrap it up the Gans 356 Air is an amazing speed cube. Layer turns are magical with a combination of super smooth and lightning fast. You may or may not mind the occasional catching caused by poor corner cutting but I’m hopeful that it can still be improved. With great performance you do get so much more aside from the speed cube, such as the option to change tensions and effortless adjustability thanks to the Gans Elasticity System and the included tool. The Gans 356 Air is an amazing speed cube and is well worth your money.