Last year the GoCube was released. It was a huge innovation on the standard 3×3 Rubik’s cube. Since then, Gan has introduced their first addition to the smart cube family. I was very excited to see what the Gan 356i was like and write this Gan 356i smart cube review.
Overall the cube feels like we expect a GAN puzzle should feel like. The app has nice features, like 1v1 battles and algorithm training. It’s clear the cube is intended for speed cubers, giving them tools to help improve their solve times. However, I feel like the app is a bit clunky and not very intuitive. Also I sometimes have a hard time getting the cube connected to the app, so the app feels a little bit buggy.
If you’re in the market for a smart cube to improve your solve time and have fun with it then I definitely recommend the Gan 356i. If you’ve just gotten into speed cubing and don’t want to deal with a slightly buggy app then I might recommend picking up something like the GoCube or Rubik’s Connected instead.
What’s in the Box?
- Gan 356i Smart Cube
- Charging Dock with USB cable
- Gan cube bag
- Quick setup guide
- Two extra sets of springs
Turning quality on the puzzle is very good. Pretty much what you can expect from a Gan puzzle. The puzzle is a bit lighter than the Gan 356x and feels kind of airy. Out of the box the tension was a little loose for me so I had to tighten it a little bit. Corner cutting is great, like any Gan puzzle. I put the strong magnets in my 356x and the magnets in the 356i are much weaker and cannot be replaced like the 356x. Keep that in mind if you’re used to the strong magnets. They still keep the puzzle aligned well. A lot of cubers prefer the weaker magnets, so it’s a great option.
To use the Gan 356i smart cube with your phone you must download its corresponding app “Cube Station” on either the apple App Store or the Google Play Store. There’s also a new version of the Cube Station app, but I could not get it working on my phone. Even using the old app I kept having issues trying to connect the Gan 356i. The app may be a little buggy, but your results may vary.
Once the app connects to the cube you can time your solves or participate in online battles. Timing your solves gives rundown of your solve. This includes the time it took you to solve each step, your turns per second, and how many cube rotations were performed. This is crucial information to help you know where you can improve the most.
The online battle system is pretty fun. In my GoCube review I mentioned that you can’t tell if the battle system is real time or not. The battle system in cube station feels more real time. Once you do a solve they know your level and can pair you up with an opponent of similar skill. The app keeps track of your battle stats and shows your win percentage. Of course after each battle you can see the breakdown of your solve. Overall I had a great experience with the online battle system, now I just need to get faster to start winning more battles 🙂
My favorite part of the app is the algorithm training. This feature stands out amongst the other smart cube apps. After choosing from a list of different algorithms to practice (OLL, PLL, etc..) the app drills you on different algorithms measuring your reaction and execution times.
I had a bit of trouble with the battery life of my Gan 356i. Even after leaving the cube on the charger for hours, the app never tells me that my cube is 100% charged. Also it seems to discharge quickly even when not using the cube. In my experience the GoCube had much better battery life and didn’t discharge when not in use. This isn’t a huge issue, especially if you keep the cube in the charging dock when not using it.