Gans has made a name for themselves by being one of the more creative 3x3 producers out there. The Gans 356 Air is the 4th generation cube from the manufacturer in the 356 lineups. It’s available in the master addition and comes in the traditional Gans box.
At just 73 grams, this speed cube aims to strike a balance between a solid, stable feel and lightweight. Accessories that come with the cube are a metal tensioning tool and three sets of springs: yellow, orange and red.
The set of colorless and white nuts come pre-installed in the cube. Among the 356 lineups, there is the Gans 356, 356S, 356SV2, and the air. In this article, I’m going to doing the Gans 356 Air Review.
Did you know that world no.1 speed cuber Feliks Zemdegs endorse this lineup of cubes? He did the Rubik’s cube world record of 4.59 seconds with the 356 Air.
The Air is the 4th cube in the 356 line. The goal of this cube is to create a faster, lighter and more stable version of the 356SV2.
As you already know by now, Felix uses this as his main. He also used the prototype magnetic version of this to break the world record.
This 56 mm 3x3 cube is very light, hence the name “AIR.” You can really feel the lightness while solving.
The exterior design choices include squared off corners with crescent edges, extremely rounded centers, and the blue Gans logo is how you can tell it's the Air.
The stickers on the stock version are Gans half-bright set.
First of all, let’s talk about the springs. Gans has come up with a spring system that is color coated based on the tension of the spring. The whole system has been patented and is called the Gans Elasticity System or GES.
If you open the center cap, you’ll notice the nut. This nut holds all the hardware including the spring. Each nut has bearing elasticity. The red, yellow, orange and colorless nuts are available in the master edition while the green, blue and purple nuts are available in the grandmaster edition.
According to Gans, the nut design eliminates that annoying spring noise you might experience with other cubes. It will also eliminate the need to lubricate the cube.
It’s a pretty ingenious idea, and that’s probably why this one is a bit more expensive. According to cubicle, the clear stock springs are the best ones for the premium cubes.
The first thing you’ll notice is just how quiet the cube is. There is actually a significant amount of resistance in the turns to make it controllable enough for most speed solvers.
The cube is very buttery and smooth and has a feel. It kind of resembles the old school cubes.
Corner cutting on the Air is everything you would have come to expect from a modern speed cube. Being able to cut at nearly every angle is one of them. Nearly line to line for reverse and over 45 for normal cuts.
Popping also never happens, as you would expect and the squared off corners mean corner twisting isn't an issue as well. As for locking it's not as much of an issue as on previous Gans puzzles.
The mechanism of the air is quite similar to the previous 356S V2. Not much has changed. There's an added torpedo on the edge, and the groups have all been removed.
In contrast to the previous model, the Air’s pieces lack the groove track design. As a result, turning the air gives you more piece to piece contact in comparison to the 356S V2.
The whole edge is smooth. The corner structure is the same as before, so no changes to the stock but similarly to the edge, all the tracks have been removed except for one going right through the middle.
So, overall minimal changes in the mechanism.
The first batch of Air’s was manufactured with the colorless cores. However, there were many reports of these cores being brittle. Some people experienced breakage when trying to disassemble the cube by yanking pieces out.
So Gans updated the structure of the cube with a blue core which is much tougher and more resilient.
One thing I’ve noticed is that the cube does still have small catches. Tightening the cube helps but too much tightening might compromise corner cutting and speed.
Should You Buy This One?
Overall, my thoughts on the Air is that it's a good puzzle. It does exactly what it's supposed to do. This is supposed to be a light, airy, and stable puzzle and that's what it is.
This is definitely Gans most stable and light cube to date. It does still flex a little bit, but it’s definitely more stable than any previous model they’ve had.
Being so lightweight, this one has a surprisingly strong tolerance for aggressive turning. It’s also stable and doesn’t deform.
Out of the box, the cube has a very dry and clacking feeling. If lubed liberally, you will get a smooth and creamy feel. If lubed sparingly, it's still a bit clacky. The feel may change depending on the hardware setup you choose.
I can recommend red spring settings on this cube to forceful turners or people who overshoot during competitions since the greater force will keep your turning at a moderate pace and check when you’re spamming TPS.
If you prefer a gummier cube, the orange springs combined with the heavy lubricant provide comfort and compliance.
If you haven't made up your mind about this puzzle, I would recommend getting the standard version which doesn't have any of the extra springs.
Or, you could just get the cubicle premium version which is set up really great as always.
Anyways, that's all I've got to say about the Gans 356 Air Review. It’s a really nice puzzle and worth it for the extra bucks.