The PanShi is a combination of daring and lazy. On one hand they were trying to make some thing new and better. On the other hand you can see exactly how the designers just copied the ZhanChi CAD file and made a few small modifications. These modifications include wider “wings” on the edges, and a higher “lip.” Both do a really good job of keeping the pieces from popping, but at the expense of wide corner cutting margins and hence speed.
This doesn’t mean it’s a bad cube. I can certainly get sub-15 times on it, however not very consistently. (For context I consider myself to average a mid-14 with a ZhanChi). I’ve been trying to get better at blind solving and I think this is a really good cube for my practice. It’s hard to make accidental moves on it and the sides click in such a way that is very distinct. It gives the same kind of good feeling the clicks from a mechanical keyboard give, that is I get tactile and audible feedback from a turn.
I can see this being a really good cube for people still over 25-30 seconds. It encourages clean turning, and it doesn’t pop as frequently as a Rubik’s brand might. However in the end this is a prime example of the innovator’s dilemma, it just doesn’t stand up to its predecessors at all.
I said it twice in the video review: it’s just a ZhanChi. But when you hold it and play with it, it feels like so much more. I imagine it has something to do with our perception of small things being cute? The stickers are pretty decent actually. Historically DIY’sspecialty cubes from China have had really bad greens, yellows, and oranges.
It’s not a main cube, you’d be crazy to use this as a main cube. The ergonomics of it just don’t work either, my thumbs end up feeling tweaked after a short session with the cube. One thing I didn’t mention in the video review is how you physically have to push less, to be precise: the arc length your finger travels to turn a side is shorter.
If you’re looking for a good small cube, this is most likely your end all solution. The 42mm ZhanChi can be bought at Lightake.com for $8 and the ship anywhere in the world.
Remember this is all just for the flat version of the V-Cube 3. I got the V-Cube 3 and I was really hopeful for it. I really like the 2×2 and 5×5, also the times I’ve tried the 7×7 I was pleased. Unfortunately the 3×3 category was already take from them by Dayan and others. The 3×3 category is no market for any company to just throw in their take on a 3×3, however with the popularity of V-Cubes I don’t think they’ll suffer a loss from making this cube.
The cube is o.k. there are pros, but equal cons to its performance and design. It can actually be kind of fast, you just have to be careful with it, because if you’re too fast pops are almost inevitable. Cons are easier to pick out in this case. The cube’s problem primarily extends from how it’s built, again the robustness of the edges and corners does not help it be smooth. At least it’s adjustable (hey there’s a pro), but any more loose than what I have it at now and I think it would pop a lot more. However almost no cube’s design flaws are incurable, I think the robustness of the pieces hold great potential for cube-modding. Think about it, the pieces are perfect cubes which become so easy to modify a newbie could do it.
I mentioned in the review that it didn’t come lubricated, once I lubed it up with silicone spray, it wasn’t hat much faster. This could be due to the plastic or maybe I just didn’t put enough in. I suspect a combination of both.
Finally it seems I got the “wrong” version of the V-Cube 3 as far as speedcubing goes. It also comes in a pillowed version and an unassembled DIY version. Good reviews have been coming in for the DIY version however! I now regret my quick purchase of the cube the day it came out, I usually prefer DIY kits anyway. Seems like this time around the difference between the two was more crucual than expected.