The price tag is ridiculous. So is its performance.
Honey, I’m home! Gan has decided that air-thin, translucent cubes that risk breaking if you squeeze them too hard (or at least make them creak very loudly) is a thing of the past. The Gan 13 is a cube that harkens back to the times of the X/XS but with the turning quality and features of the recent generations of its flagships. The result is a cube that feels a lot more solid in the hand but has the stellar performance that we’ve come to be used to from Gan.
It looks great. The UV coating (get the UV version, don’t be a moron) makes this shiny, but in contrast to its predecessor, the plastic is solid and not the see-through gossamer that the 12 was made of. And since we want our pretty things to look pretty, they actually made THE BOX out of frosted plastic, which indeed looks gorgeous. And since you don’t have to turn THAT (although the box itself does have more magnets than most cubes from 2015), it means you can have the fancy looks and the good cube. (Also the combination of shiny cube inside frosty box will make cubeographers swoon for a while, expect avalanches of “cube in box in grass with bokeh” on our social media platforms in the months following this cube coming out to the public.)
The turning is the same effortless breeze that both the 11 and 12 have made us know it’s possible to have. You need only apply a minimal amount of force to turn things smoothly. Moreover, the amount of force necessary to initiate a turn is very similar to the one you need to keep turning (until aimbot takes over, more on this below). Compare this to most other cubes where the initial "un-click" requires more force, this means you can enter a solving flow that is more difficult to reach with other cubes.
The range of settings on this thing is majestic. First, the tension and travel distances are actually able to turn this cube into a thing as loose as my grampa’s tongue after a few glasses of grappa or as tight as my wife’s wallet when I mention that a new cube has come out. That means that after a bit of systematic testing you can find the sweet spot that fits your turning the best. Combine this with a range of magnet strengths that Gan has never been able to produce and you have a cube that is as versatile as something that costs this much should be. The only gripe I have is that the tensioning system is a tad iffy, and sometimes locks up trying to cycle through the settings, forcing you to turn all the way around 2-3 times to get the exact value you wanted. (Credit where it’s due: placing the adjustment tool inside the box is a brilliant idea.)
As for the magnets… This is the first time I think a Gan cube is viable for Roux, as you can actually get magnets weak enough to avoid the familiar Gan clickiness, and makes the inner slices very smooth and pleasant to turn. Combine with its fantastic corner cutting and you have a lot of fun doing LSE. Having 6 different settings instead of three on the previous versions also means that you can fine-tune the amount of magnet hold you find appropriate for the tension settings you are using. This means more time tinkering with the settings, but you invested the cost of 30 cheap cubes in this thing, you probably want to turn it into the most efficient cubing machine possible. And this cube lets you do it.
The Gan 13 sports the same auto-align feature as its predecessor, which on lower tensions & fast settings means you seriously risk overturning to the point where the aimbot takes over. This means you need to be more careful and apply the minimal force possible to avoid that. Given that this is generally a very good approach to have in cubing, in a sense the cube is forcing you to git good. It also means that for novices this might not be the best solution (then again novices shouldn’t be investing the price of the past 3 years of Moyu flagships into a single cube either).
And then we get to the price tag question though. Taken in a context where we’d have no idea of what a cube costs, it would not be too surprising : That a cube this good would cost 3 times the price of a Rubik’s branded one would not raise many eyebrows. The fact that for the same price you can buy all 3 versions of the Threemato – which came out basically the same week – makes it a very relevant question whether this cube is worth the price. And my answer is yes if you can afford it. This is one of the best cubes that exist right now and if you want to have it, you won’t feel like you’ll have wasted your money on it.
But Bas : should I get this one or the Tornado V3? Easy: If you're on a budget or are starting out as a cuber, get the Tornado. If you can afford the Gan13, get both.