The Valk 3 is branded and named after Mats Valk who was the former world record holder for the Rubik’s Cube. The manufacturers of the Valk 3 really knew what they were doing in deciding to brand this speed cube around Mat Valk because much of the speed cubes popularity came from him and his world record.
The Valk 3 like almost all popular current speed cubes comes in black and white bodies and stickerless versions. It’s packaging really stands out and it’s minimalist but elegant theme can really be seen in how its packaged. It comes in an elegant black box with a simple “The Valk” and “Valk 3” branding and not much else. Opening the box you imediately see the Valk 3 speed cube and under the speed cube is the ever so necessary documentation. The elegance and minimalism continues with the documentation, which is very apple like and comes in little pieces of cube shaped papers that consist of a little message form Mats Valk himself, a link to an instructional video and solution guide, and a “The Valk” sticker which is such a great little extra.
In terms of packaging you don’t get as much as lets say a Gan Air with it’s springs, tools, and plastic case but what you do get is the general feel of elegance and a feeling that the manufacturers really want you to enjoy the speed cube that you bought.
Out of the Box
A few solves in I feel as if it’s already broken in. Turning is light and very fast. The plastic feels a bit softer compared to the black version, this gives some smoothness. Initially corner cutting is very impressive, not feeling any corner cutting at all. Edges and corners are a lot sharper than the black body which takes some getting used to. This speed cube is very fast but has a bit of catching between layers. Such a great speed cube to solve.
Tensions are very good with the Valk. At first I felt that it was a little tight, not because of how it feels but because it likes to catch a bit. Although this might have been because i wasn’t accustomed to the speed cube yet. In only needed to adjust tensions right after applying lubrication because lubrication changed how it’s turning.
The Valk 3 is a very fast and light speed cube so obviously I didn’t want to apply light lubrication which would only make it faster. I resorted to Traxxas 10k which is much thicker than Calvin’s Lube which is my favorite to use on smoother, slower speed cubes. I applied lubrication because it felt a little too fast and the lack of control was giving me very inconsistent times. After lubrication it did get a lot smoother and also a bit slower, which is the reason I decided to loosen tensions.
Lube wears off a little faster than other speed cubes, this might be because there are severl holes in the internal pieces. I had to relube 200 solves after my first lubrication.
At first the Valk 3 felt perfect. It was fast and light but with some smoothness which gave me control. Algorithm execution on fast and light speed cubes are just amazing and the Valk 3 delivered that fully. Around 100 solves in I felt that it was a little too fast and there was a bit of catching, I decided that it was because I was quite unfamiliar and continued with solves. Around 200-300 solves I am much more confident with the speed cube and getting pretty good times. Lubrication and adjustment happened happened around 600 solves in because I felt that it was too fast and need some smoothness and less catching. 800 solves later I really felt confident in the Valk 3 and can say that it is fully broken in and has perfect tensions. At this point I did another average of 50 to prepare for the critical review.
Definitely a fast speed cube cube. From out of the box until now there is no doubt that it is a fast and light turning speed cube. Initially the plastic felt a little softer then the solid color body version which gave it some smoothness. After much breaking in the smoothness kind of got overpowered by the fast turning which improved a lot from breaking in. This increased speed was dealt with by applying some thick lubrication and loosening tensions.
Algorithm execution can be done amazingly fast. The Valk 3 is fast and light turning speed cube so I have to worry about overshooting or under rotations. In ideal scenarios without overshooting or under rotations the Valk 3 is probably one of the fast speed cubes I’ve ever solved.
The issue with fast and light turning speed cubes are lack of control. The Valk 3 does have some problems with control which is very apparent out of the box before I applied lubrication and adjusted tensions. The speed cube doesn’t give 100% control but just enough that I can turn the layers without needing full concentration on layer turns.
Corner cutting is very obvious and you can feel it in two ways. The first is the very common “clack” sound with the feeling of layers just snapping into place. The second is that I can feel the resistance between layer starting to increase just before the “clack” or snapping of layers into place.
It is quite strange because even though corner cutting is very obvious, it still doesn’t distract me during the solve. I can still fully concentrate on look ahead and my solves don’t really get disrupted because of corner cutting.
Catching and Lockups
I am more of a fast and rough type of solver and with the fast and light turning style of the Valk 3 I do get a lot of catching. With that said mostly all of the catching that happens on this speed cube is because of misalignment of layers. Overshooting and under rotation is one problem I have with fast and light turning speed cubes and the Valk 3 is a perfect example of that.
There are some rare occasions that catching does occur because of corner cutting. The Valk 3 doesn’t have excellent corner cutting but it’s not bad either.
I haven’t broken my PB average or single yet but I do get consistently good times. I have a feeling that I would beat my PB average soon with this speed cube.I feel that I am a little more consistent with the Valk 3. In an average of 50 I get a few sub 10 solves which are really good for me and I easily get sub 12 single solves one after the other.
Solving the Valk 3 is absolutely and enjoyable task. I really love it when fast speed cubes allows you to zoom by algorithms full speed without it having to catch all the time. The breaking in process of the Valk 3 actually took twice as long as normal speed cubes because I just find myself solving and solving. At this point I usually solve a speed cube and try to study it but with the Valk 3 I’m just solving it because I really love how it feels solving it.
The Valk 3 no doubt has excellent turning. It is a fast and light turning speed cube and boy is it fast. Algorithm execution can be done at lightning speed and with that bit of smoothness it can be done with confidence.
Corner cutting was a bit strange because out of the box without it being broken in it had amazing corner cutting. After breaking in though it kind of got worse. A loud “clack” lets you immediately know that a corner cut happened. However unlike other bad corner cutting speed cubes the Valk 3 doesn’t really disrupt your concentration and still let’s you focus on look ahead.
Catching might be a problem for the Valk 3 because it likes to catch layers. This catching mostly comes from overshooting and under rotation due to fast turning layers and on rare occasions catching can from the lack of corner cutting abilities.
After reading about it’s Turning, Corner Cutting and Catching you might be thinking that the Valk 3 isn’t that good of a speed cube but let me tell you it is a very good speed cube. I can talk about the turning, corner cutting and the catching but it all boils down to actual solving and the times. What really stands out with the Valk 3 is how enjoyable it is to solve. I mentioned it earlier but this is probably the most enjoyable speed cube I have solved. My times aren’t slow but they aren’t super fast, which is to be expected.
The Valk 3 is worth every penny you spend on it and will most likely be your main.