I've been cubing for about a month now. While I'm no speedcuber, I'm still pretty proud of the fact that I've been able to go from never solving a cube before, to having a 12-solve average of 2:10 and a best time of 1:29 just using the layer-by-layer method.
The problem is, I'm using a stock Rubik's Cube. Despite being the real McCoy, the Rubik's Cube brand is quite possibly the worst cube to use for speedcubing. They are just not designed to move fast. They are very tight, hard to turn, and constantly lock up if your sides aren't totally flush. Although my average is 2:10, I've had a few sub-2 minute solves. Albeit, sometimes the top layer ends up already partially solved by the time I get there. So I attribute some of those sub-2 minute solves to dumb luck.
I don't think I will be able to solve it in under a minute without learning some more advanced techniques, or getting a faster cube. I could learn new algorithms until the cows come home, but at the end of the day the fact still remains... there's only so fast you can turn this cube.
I give you, the Gans 356 Air Master…
At $24 on Amazon, it was almost twice the price of my stock Rubik's Cube. It's worth every penny. I can't believe how easy it is to move, and the corner-cutting is unbelievable; a feature that's nonexistent on a stock cube.
The stickers are very bright. It's going to take a slight mental shift to get used to the new color scheme. Hopefully only a day or two. In hindsight, I probably should have just gone with the traditional colors.
The stand leaves much to be desired. It's looks and feels really cheap.
The "Master" edition comes with a bag of assorted tensioning springs as well as a metal tool to adjust them. The regular edition doesn't come with any springs and has a plastic tool. I'm a long way from ever needing to use these, but for an extra buck, I figured it was worth it to go with the Master edition just to get them.
It also comes with a pretty sweet 11" x 17" poster full of tips, tricks, and advanced algorithms. Unfortunately, most of it is in Chinese. I saw one guy online who got it laminated. That's a pretty sweet idea.
As I said before, I'm using the beginner's layer-by-layer method. I want to learn the more advanced CFOP method. It's all laid out on the poster, but it's hard to make heads or tails of it. I found a couple of really good videos on YouTube that explained the CFOP method a lot better.
Well, I'm off to practice, practice, practice!