It's been about 3 months since I picked up the Gans 356 Air Master
. I've done several hundred solves on it. Learning CFOP on the Gans 356 has allowed me to cut my time down considerably. At the time of writing, my average of 12 is 57.93 seconds. It's an amazing cube. It came highly recommended, and it's the cube of choice for World Record holder Feliks Zemdegs
After a few hundred solves and 3 months of abuse, it was really needing some lubrication. I headed over to The Cubicle
to place an order. I didn't want to just place an order for lube; I was itching to get my hands on another cube just to play around with one. I wanted to see if the Gans is really all that, or am I just blown away by it because I came from a stock Rubik's Cube
When I was shopping for my first speed cube, it was a toss up between the Gans 356 Air and the Valk 3. The main reason I went with the Gans was because it's what Feliks Zemdegs used to break the last World Record. I'm not saying that it's going to make me an awesome speed cuber, I'm saying that if he's using it to break World Records, then it's not a cheap piece of junk. Mats Valk
is another world-famous record holder. Feliks Zemdegs and Mats Walk regularly go toe-to-toe. So the Valk 3 that carries his name must be a pretty damn good cube too. To be perfectly honest, the Gans won out in the end because I could get it in 2 days with Amazon Prime. However, I was really curious to see if I made the right choice.
I just had to have one.
Pretty nice packaging.
It comes with a little swag. Not a huge poster like the Gans…
…just some stickers and some pamphlets. I guess they figure if you're buying a Valk 3, you don't really need a poster on how to solve a cube. Although, one of the pamphlets had some links to some tutorial videos on how to solve the cube. I gave them a quick watch. I have to admit, they're not very intuitive. If they were your introduction to speedcubing, I think you'e quickly be lost.
Here's the Valk 3 on the left compared to the Gans 356 Air on the right. The Valk 3 measures 55.5mm x 55.5mm while the Gans measures 56mm x 56mm. You wouldn't think that half a mm would be noticeable, but it is.
At this angle, it really looks a lot smaller. It's an optical illusion.
When you put them side by side, the different looks negligible, but I immediately felt the difference in my hands on the first solve. Maybe I'm just used to the feel of the Gans. The extra weight was very obvious too. The Valk 3 weighs 82.3g while the Gans weighs 73g. I have to say, that extra weighs on the Valk 3 feels really good. It feels really solid and high quality. Some people might not like a heavy cube, but I'm starting to like it.
The Valk 3 feels like the plastic is harder and more ridged. It's "clickier" than the Gans, and a lot louder. It's not a very quiet cube.
I've had the Valk 3 for a week, and I've probably done about a hundred solves or so on it and I have to say that I like it a lot. With that said, I really still can't decide which I like better. I haven't really gravitated to one over the other… yet. When practicing, I tend to grab whichever is closer to me on the desk. I might have to spend a little more time with it before I make up my mind.