An incremental upgrade to one of the best cubes available, keeps it at the cutting edge of cube performance. But if you're looking for something different from Gan, this isn't it.
Say one thing about Gan, they don’t screw around. They make a great cube, then change it very slightly, then make some more small changes. Most of the time the cube keeps improving. Rarely they come out with something that some people like a bit less (Xs, Gan 13) but most find are if not a definite improvement, at least a “quality of life” upgrade. By and large you can trust in what Gan keeps doing: boring, effective, slow, incremental changes to a working formula.
Contrast this with the kings of derping Dayan, where only God and her mistress know whether the next cube to come about will be a terrible one, a disastrous one, or a cult cube that will be relevant 5 years after its release. Or with Moyu, who create multiple lines of their cubes, then mix them up at every second release. Gan seems to know what they are doing, and the main mantra seems to be “don’t rock the boat”.
And this boat is not rocking. The Gan 14 is a slightly improved version of the Gan13 that brings back some of the lightness and crunchiness of the Gan12 but with the non-squishy plastic of the Gan13 and with an auto-align more similar to the 12th than the 13th iteration of the cube (not that they ever actually only did 14 versions of this cube, oh no they clearly didn’t).
The magnet adjustment is also taken from the Gan13 with 6 different magnet strength rather than the 3 steps from the 12, plus a switch for the repelling edge magnets (who help out the auto-align), these allow it to go from a very light magnetic pull that keeps the cube together to a strong and very clicky Gan-style magnet feel. The range is great as it can truly match the preference of different people. Good on you, Gan, for making a cube that can have different feels and settings all in one model, rather than coming out with 3 different versions of a single cube (or 9 in the case of Moyu).
The tensioning adjustments are also very broad in range, with a travel distance that goes from uncomfortably tight to very loose, to the point that lockups become almost inevitable. Same for spring compression that go from “stiff face hovering in the air” to mushy. That’s a good sign, as it means that the range of possible configurations will let you find a balance that is right for you.
The plastic is the newer, thicker plastic that GAN has introduced in the Gan13 and used on the Gan12ui/fp. I like it, but some might prefer the ultra-light and gossamer-like plastic of the 12. It’s also stiffer: if you squeeze it, it makes no noise (in contrast to the 12). The UV treatment is wonderful as it means you can actually use the cube out of the box, although I suspect that it makes the caps so bloody hard to take off the first couple of times.
The performance is… great. I’ve been hitting my best times quickly with this once I found a setup that worked for me, which did take a bit of fiddling and testing and failing and trying again. (For what it’s worth, I keep my Travel distance at a looseish 4 and springs at a stiff 5, corner magnets at a 6 and edges on the lowest notch). However, this is not a forgiving cube by any stretch of the imagination. If the Tornado V3 lets you get away with almost anything, this cube will teach you how to turn properly by trial and a lot of error. The fact that it can corner-cut at 60% doesn’t mean that it will not punish you brutally if you screw up in-solve. If you or your kid are just starting out you might want to stay away from this cube. But then again if you’re just starting out you shouldn’t spend 80$ on a cube.
But Bas, should I buy?
If you’re new to cubing… no, don’t go for Gan cubes : they’re far less forgiving and more fragile than other brands. Go get a Tornado3 or Moyu YS3M / WRM9.
If you already have the Gan12 or 13, then this might be a gradual improvement but no radical change
If you have a Gan11, this will be a very nice improvement and is likely worth the investment
But if you’ve never had a Gan, then starting with this is a great idea