Sorry for the pause in reviews, everyone! I've been busy working with SpeedCubeShop on something that should be out very soon. Watch out for that! In the meantime let's get into a review that's a few weeks overdue.
For the past couple of weeks we've been in a new wave of newer, better big cubes as cube companies update their lineup. This is the MoYu WeiShi, a new 6x6x6 from MoYu designed to succeed the AoShi. How well does it live up to that task?
In general, we've seen that as the order of the NxNxN puzzle increases, the number of puzzles available decreases (except for 2x2x2). 3x3x3s have literally dozens of options on the market, and 4x4x4 and 5x5x5 both have a pretty good selection even if they're not anywhere near 3x3x3. 6x6x6 however, only had the MoYu AoShi as a competitive option until recently when the YuXin Red was released, and in the 7x7x7 market, even as of today only the AoFu GT is competitive (the new YuXin, QiYi, MFJS, and hopefully soon the MoYu 7x7x7s aren't quite out yet).
The WeiShi is MoYu's first 6x6x6 entry into this new wave, designed to take the market back from the YuXin Red which the AoShi has slowly been losing to little by little. It promises more stability among other things, which is a quality 6x6x6 hardware sorely needs. If it hits that target, it could be a very good 6x6x6 indeed.
Look and Feel
6x6x6 has always been a bit indecisive with size. The ShengShou, one of the first significant 6x6x6s, measured in at 68mm, but the AoShi and the YuXin Red have brought that first to 69mm, then to 65mm, respectively. The WeiShi brings that back to 68mm, which we may see becoming a standard as the WuHua is being released at 68mm as well.
With its very rounded pieces, wide gaps, and large holes, the WeiShi is a rather bubbly looking cube. It's quite a departure from the YuXin Red's flat faces and flush surfaces but should feel right at home with people used to the AoShi. As with other 6x6x6s, the WeiShi has somewhat widened outer layers as well as much larger Florian holes on the outer layers to facilitate the 3x3 stage.
Even though the piece design is split, it does not currently come in stickerless (though it is listed as an option on the back of the box, so expect it soon). The stickered shades are the standard MoYu shades and use MoYu's older, higher quality sticker stock, not the low-quality stock that comes with the WeiLong GTS. Good choice, MoYu.
Out of the box, I found the cube just a bit tight, but to begin with I went ahead and disassembled the cube rather than try to tension it. After a few solves just to get an idea for what it was, of course. I evened out the tensions and during assembly I lubed the middle slice with weight 6, the outer slice with weight 3, and the outer layers with weight 1. Since then I've only done about 70 solves (6x6x6 is still a slow solve for me), but I think I've managed to break in the lube fairly well and have a good idea of what this cube is.
One of the biggest advantages this 6x6x6 has is that the inner layers are significantly slower than the outer layers, with the middle slice being the slowest of them all. I noticed this before I even lubed the inner layers with heavy lube. From the start, it was also more stable than any other 6x6x6 I've ever felt besides possibly the ShengShou (and we know that one is barely relevant anymore), and the inner layers don't misalign much when you're not trying to turn them.
As we know, the general trend is that the higher the order of the puzzle, the bumpier the turning, simply because there are physically more bumps between cubies. This 6x6x6's turning feel is swishy and, completely unlike what I expected, extraordinarily smooth. It's about as smooth as a relatively smooth 3x3x3, and you can't feel any distinguishable bumps at all. Achieving this level of smoothness in a 6x6x6 is quite a feat because it means MoYu's been able to somehow make all of the friction surfaces flush with each other.
This is easily the best turning, feeling 6x6x6 I've ever used, and I would go as far as to place it above any big cube (including 4x4x4s) except the WuShuang. It's very stable and has the easiest 3x3x3 stage I've experienced above 4x4x4, and the smooth feeling is very enjoyable.
6x6x6 corner cutting is not impressive. This 6x6x6 has better corner cutting than most, but unfortunately it can't resolve what seems to be an inherent flaw in the puzzle.
On the outer layers, forward cutting reaches between 1.5 and 1.75 cubies, and reverse reaches about half a cubie. This is about the same as the WuShuang, but you have to consider that since there are more cubies, 1.5 cubies on the WuShuang is a larger angle than 1.5 on the WeiShi.
On the inner layers, forward cutting reaches just short of 1 cubie, again very similar to the WuShuang.
Impressively, reverse cutting can actually extend past the Florian holes, up to about 0.4 of a single cubie. Unfortunately, trying to cut that far uses more force than you're likely to exert during a solve.
We already know that 6x6x6 corner cutting is not, has never been, and likely never will be very impressive. It's just the unfortunate nature of the puzzle. Knowing that, the WeiShi achieves excellent results for what it is and I have no reason to knock off any points for it.
Anti-pop and lockups
External pops basically will never happen. You can feel safe in that. However, even-layered puzzles have internal pieces, and unfortunately if you try to corner cut too far on the inner layers, internal pops can happen. Once they do, they're not easy to fix either - they'll require either a long time of jiggling around with the layer that the pop happened in or a complete disassembly.
Lockups can also happen if you try to corner cut too far on the internal layer. Luckily, they're rare, and the ones that do occur can easily be fixed by moving a single piece back into position. I'd say the internal pops are more of an issue on this cube.
This was not a fun puzzle to take apart - remember, a 6x6x6 is a reduced 7x7x7. There are a lot of small pieces as well as internal pieces, and even taking out a block can be difficult to keep track of. Needless to say, this is not a puzzle for small children.
On first glance, the internal design looks, dare I say, simple. It's very even and geometric, with few crazy lines or ridges. This is a bit misleading, as we'll soon see. In fact, the only reason it looks so simple is because it fits together so well.
This is the block I took out, half assembled. Got a bit crazier, didn't it? The pieces are sharp and angular, especially the outer edge piece's locking feet, which should interlock better and help it pop less.
Corners and a full edge added. It's another 3-tier internal design, with two inner layers as well as a smaller outer ridge, just like the AoShi. This time, the second inner layer is more pronounced than the AoShi and the outer ridge flatter and shallower.
The fully assembled 6x3x2 block. The locking feet together make a very nice looking wedge. All of the internal geometry of the WeiShi seems to be less rounded and more flush than the AoShi, which gives all of the pieces excellent fit with each other.
That's probably why the WeiShi feels so wonderfully smooth.
Objective score: 9/10
It's an excellent 6x6x6, and easily ranks among the top of the market. Corner cutting is strong, and the lockups that occur are usually not serious. In addition, MoYu's accomplished something very impressive in making a 6x6 feel as smooth as a 3x3x3. The one problem I encountered were the internal pops, which I'm slightly disappointed that they did not solve, but I'm a rough 6x6x6 turner and not everyone is. If you can control your 6x6x6 well and turn fairly precisely, they shouldn't be a problem.
Subjective score: 9/10
I do not like most 6x6x6's. I feel that the level of hardware is just not where it needs to be for me to like it, and I can't control them or turn well on them anyways. So it was quite surprising to me when I found out I actually enjoy this cube. The extra stability from the slower layers is immensely helpful, and the smooth turning feels great and almost surreal for a big cube. I still find myself misaligning middle layers during the 3x3 stage sometimes, which is the only reason I'm knocking off a point, but it's going to be hard for any 6x6x6 to get that last point from me.
I don't have a WuHua to compare to yet, so in the end I don't know which is better. Either could come out on top and dominate the 6x6x6 market until the next wave, or (more likely) they could end up sharing the space. All I can say for today is that the WeiShi is an excellent 6x6x6 and the best I've ever used, and has main potential for any 6x6x6 solver.
MoYu WeiShi 6x6x6 ($31.95)