To set a baseline for some big-cube reviews that might come up soon, I'm going to take a small step back and look at a cube that was released not too long ago. This is the QiYi WuShuang, everyone.
The 5x5x5 market has always been fairly sparse, as have most large cube markets. MoYu ruled for a while, and a year ago lost its rule then regained it somewhat to share it with YuXin. QiYi, and most other companies, hadn't made a huge splash yet.
Recently QiYi decided it was high time and released a new 5x5x5, alongside MoYu's release of the WeiChuang. This new cube was touted to be more stable and more reliable than others on the market, as well as more ergonomic. Does it live up to QiYi's promises?
Look and Feel
The most notable thing about the WuShuang's feel is that it's 62mm across, about 2mm smaller than a standard 5x5. According to Qiyi, this makes it easier to hold. In reality, I suspect it comes down to the individual user more, but for me it barely makes a difference - if you gave me one and didn't tell me it was smaller, I would not have realized that it was.
It's build very solidly but only weighs 133 grams, significantly lighter than both the WeiChuang GTS and the YuXin 5x5x5. Besides the size, it looks pretty similar to other 5x5x5s on the market, with widened outer layers and Florian holes on the outer layer corners, which should let it perform better during the 3x3 stage. It makes a pretty quiet swishy sound, representative of what it feels like.
This cube is available in both stickerless and stickered, but today I'll be looking at the stickerless version. The shades are the same as the attractive Valk stickerless shades, with bright colors and slightly darker (but in no means dark) red and blue. The stickered cube again comes in Valk, or half-bright shades pre-applied: fluorescent, vibrant colors except for a dark blue and a normal red.
Out of the box, the WuShuang was rather tight and didn't corner cut very well. I loosened each face half a turn, then disassembled and lubed the inner layers with weight 5 and the outer layers with weight 2. I have done approximately 200 solves for break in since then.
This is a pretty unique turning puzzle. The entire puzzle is a bit on the slow side, but the upside to this is it's very stable and controllable - quite possibly the most controllable 5x5x5 on the market.
Outer layers are smooth, and I've noticed that there seems to be less friction in the middle of a turn and more as a turn completes. In a way, that makes the layers "snap" into place, not unlike the effect of magnets.
Inner layers are a lot swishier and sandier, and feel a bit like rubbing on paper. I like this feeling, but I know people who feel quite the opposite. Disappointingly, the inner layers are just as fast or possibly even faster than the outer layers, because of the strange friction pattern of the outer layers, which may get a bit difficult to control during the 3x3 stage.
Overall, though, it's a great, stable turning feel and I love it. I think a lot of beginners especially may find this one of the easiest 5x5x5s to use because of its controllability.
I have my WuShuang set on rather tight tensions, to try to keep its stability. Knowing that, the corner cutting on this puzzle is excellent.
The outer layers, arguably the most important for corner cutting, manage about 1.75 cubies of corner cutting, and about half a cubie of reverse. This is just a bit short of the 45 degrees that apparently the best set up 5x5x5s can achieve, but it's still an excellent result regardless. Who knows, maybe it's actually capable of 45 degrees and I'm just bad at setting up 5x5x5s!
Reverse cutting hits just a bit over half a cubie. This seems rather typical for a high-end 5x5x5.
Inner layers all cut almost exactly 1 cubie, and any further can lead to a lockup (I'll get into that later). Corner cutting on the inner layers is notably smoother than the outer layers, and glides into place rather than snapping.
Anti-pop and lockup
Replaced the "corner twist" I usually do with lockups, since, well, corner twists don't generally happen with big cubes, whereas pretty serious lockups sometimes do.
Pops won't happen, at least not on any sort of reasonable tensions. You could go much much looser than my tensions and still struggle to even disassemble it.
Lockups, on the other hand...well, I should make it clear that I don't expect any 5x5 or larger to not lock up at all. And true to that expectation, this 5x5x5 does lock up if you try to corner cut past 1 cubie on inner layers.
Here's where the positive part of this comes in. See that one upper right center piece that's fallen out of place from the two layers it's supposed to be part of? The only thing you need to do to fix this lockup is use your thumb to move that center back into place. It's effortless.
This is completely unlike some other 5x5x5s I've encountered such as the ShengShou or even the YuXin, in which a serious lockup could move a piece to a completely separate face and force you to spend 10+ seconds struggling to fix it.
Great marks here. Let's look at the internals.
Ah, the QiYi green core makes a return. Apparently some people dislike green so much they refuse to buy QiYi cubes on account of the green core.
Your choice, I guess. :P
We can't see much from here, except the big, thin lip that's become standard on flagship 5x5s these days. It's supposed to prevent popping, and I have to say it works quite well.
I'm not going to show you every single one of the pieces. Instead, I'll show you the block formed by them.
It's a complex design, with lots of ridges, grooves, and tracks. I can't claim to understand everything that's going on here. What I can say, however, is that everything fits together very tightly, which is likely contributing to its excellent anti-pop and controllability.
QiYi has elected to use a unified corner foot just like their 3x3s use. Good, I would not trust a split corner stalk that thin.
The edges are torpedoed, just like most high-end 5x5x5s. I bring this up because I might be looking at one soon that isn't quite the same.
Objective score: 10/10
Nope, I can't find anything wrong with it objectively. I'm being lenient on the corner cutting because for all I know it could be my fault, and besides the numbers I do get are way up there already. It doesn't pop, and the lockups are some of the easiest to fix I've ever encountered in a big cube.
Subjective score: 9/10
This has taken over as my main 5x5x5 and stayed there. It has a great, soft turning feel and is extremely stable and controllable, excellent for a relative beginner to 5x5x5 such as myself. I actually enjoy the sandy and swishy middle slices a lot, and the outer layers have that enjoyable snappy turn due to its strange friction pattern.
The only thing I wish they had done is make the inner layers slower than the outer ones, since I still find myself misaligning them during the 3x3 stage sometimes.
About the subjective score, however: I don't think this cube is for everyone. It's in the end slower than a lot of other 5x5x5s on the market, and the swishy, sandy inner layers may feel weird to some. I know a lot of people who swear by the WeiChuang over this. Personally, I'm not a fan of the WeiChuang I felt at a competition (though I wil try to obtain one and review it soon), but I'd suggest everyone deciding on a new 5x5x5 to feel both, as well as the YuXin if possible, before buying anything.
In any case, this is a great 5x5x5 and well worthy of its flagship price, even if it's not optimal for everyone. For QiYi's first foray into the 5x5x5 speedcubing market (the earlier ones don't count), this is a strong entry and shows promise for QiYi in the future!
QiYi WuShuang 5x5x5 ($23.95)