Litu CR3: A stylish budget puzzle with a few flaws

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The Litu CR3 is a beautiful cube, and is offered in several colors. Sadly, the performance is a bit underwhelming.

Background Information

This is the first puzzle released by Litu, a small Chinese company that operates out of TaoBao. At only $8, the cube seemed pretty interesting.

Internals

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Looking at this cube, it was hard to say whether I’d be getting something worthwhile. The CR3 stays pretty close to a traditional design. It features square corners, rounded pieces, and nothing seems out of place. The base of the corner is directly attached to the piece, as opposed having a stem, which is common in budget puzzles.

The Feel

This cube is very fast and somewhat smooth. The factory lubricant is much nicer than what we usually see, which was a fresh breath of air. It also is hands down the lightest cube I have ever used, and I have a soft spot for light cubes. The layer turns have small bumps, and the corner cuts are high pitched and tactile. I wish I could say I liked the feel, but it comes together to give the cube a very cheap feel that I can’t get over.

Plastic Quality

The plastic is terrible. It feels strange in your hands, and is clearly incredibly cheap. It is understandable, the cube isn’t very expensive, and cheap plastic did work out for some cubes, such as the QiYi Thunderclap. I can’t say the same about this however.

Performance

Despite the other issues with this cube, the performance is not bad. Corner cutting seems to take more effort than it does with other cubes, but this cube is completely capable of corner cutting, and can almost keep up with modern standards. The biggest drawback here is the stability of the puzzle. It is awful. The cube is extremely floppy, which isn’t too much of an issue until you’re executing algorithms and the cube locks up. Sadly, this is the biggest thing that prevents the cube from being a decent budget puzzle.

Conclusion

As much as I’d like to recommend this cube, it really isn’t a viable option for a speed cube. The fact that it comes in many colors makes it a great item for a collection, but there are many puzzles that cost less than this one that outperform it and do not lock up during algorithms. For the same price range, I’d recommend the ShengShou FangYuan, as it performs excellently and has a solid feel.

I apologize for the photographs being somewhat poor in this post, I’m new to this and hopefully will improve with time. If you have any questions or requests for puzzles I should go over, let me know in the contact section of the website.

YanCheng Yan3: A classic design with a modern twist

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I received the YanCheng Yan3 a few days ago, and I have to say, I was quite impressed. The feel is excellent and the design is quite unique.

Background Information

YanCheng is the newest sub-brand of MoYu, and the Yan3 is the first cube from this designer. This cube was formerly announced as the Swallow3, but the name was changed due to the word “swallow” having multiple meanings. This cube has been in development for over three years, and this definitely shows in the design, but that most certainly isn’t a bad thing.

What’s New?

In the past year, there has been a definite trend in speedcube design. The GuoGuan YueXiao introduced an interesting new style of mechanism, and nearly every flagship 3×3 released since then has had similar geometry.┬áThe Yan3 has brought in a familiar design that we haven’t seen in quite a while, perhaps since the FangShi ShuangRen. This makes for a refreshing aesthetic and a classic feel.

Internals

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As seen here, the design is quite unlike anything we have seen for a while. The corner stock is long and narrow, and the body of the corner seems to be cut off a bit higher than normal. It features MeiYing-style square corners, with a relatively large hole under the overhanging corner.

The body of the edge stays consistent with other modern cubes, with a relatively simple shape. The base of the edge has a long arch, which is quite effective at preventing any type of popping. This is paired with a removable torpedo, something that is unheard of on modern cubes.

The Performance

Despite straying from what is usually seen in modern speedcubes, this cube does not disappoint, and has excellent performance. This cube is very fast and fluid while remaining completely controllable, something that cannot be said about many cubes. Corner cutting is excellent, but has a small dead zone. This likely not something to be concerned about, even for rough turners, but should be kept in mind.

The Feel

This puzzle has a feel that cannot be compared to anything else. The turning is quite tactile, and I can’t help but be reminding of the ShuangRen when feeling, despite it missing the sandy feel that makes the ShuangRen so unique. This is great to see, since so many cubes that were recently released feel so similar.

Conclusion

I absolutely recommend this cube, for it has excellent performance and a great new feel. It will definitely appeal to those who miss the feel that older cubes have, but still want modern performance.

Any questions or requests for puzzles I should go over? Let me know in the contact section of the website.