Probably the new king of the budget cubes; for its price there’s no reason you shouldn’t have one somewhere around.
I don’t know what they’re feeding to the QiYi engineers in their underground caves these days, but they are getting some things right one after the other. After dropping one of the best high-end cubes of the past season on an unsuspecting community (the Tornado V3 for those of you who might have spent the past 6 months with their head in the sand), they’re now storming the budget end of the cubing spectrum, and doing it well.
The QiYi M Pro is one of the best budget cubes to hit the market since Moyu released the RS3M back in 2020, and even they realised it was a bit too excellent for its own good, and have incrementally increased its price to ludicrous heights (depending on how you decide to consider subsequent releases of a cube that has had as many labels as the contents of my grandpa’s liquor cabinet).
The MPro comes in two versions, a standard springed version that sports a frosted surface and a “more expensive” maglev one that comes with shiny plastic. The quotes come from the fact that while other cubes have been tacking on 30% more on the price for swapping a spring with two magnets, the Improlev costs only 10% more than its sprung version, on a cube that costs less than $10. Not that the difference is really big besides the choice of plastic finish (which, unless you’re an irredeemable monster, should be an obvious one).
The cube is solid, controllable, comes slightly tight out of the box, but has a whopping 11-setting spring compression adjustment that actually lets you go from too loose for most people’s taste to slightly too tight, and really lets you find the right setting for you. Contrast this with the 10-step Tengyun V2 compression settings that went from springy to still springy and you see that SOME people have learned how to calibrate the range of their adjustment settings. The fact that you don’t need any tools to adjust it either is also a nice plus. It also means that the range of adjustments make the difference between spring and maglev rather moot, as it is possible to get almost identical feels by just finding the appropriate compression for each system.
If there is a gripe I have, it is that in its factory defaults, the cube locks up and is slower than it should be. This is easily fixed by loosening the screws a tiny bit (I did mine -1/4 turn) and re-adjusting spring compression (I put mine at 3 out of 11). But it means that people who land on this one as their first cube might not have the knowledge or patience to tinker with the settings, and might end up with a cube that is not as good as this thing can actually be and not know what they’re missing.
But once you do find the right spot of “looser settings that avoid loss of cube shape”, you get a puzzle that is fast while still feeling compact and controllable. It is also a bit clacky, (but so was the RS3M, and this one doesn’t require lube to avoid spring noises), and has a hollow-plastic feeling that is reminiscent of the Tianma, but without being so loud that your neighbours will knock at your door to tell you to stop throwing legos at their wall.
Magnets are very well calibrated for the speed of the cube, clearly clicky, but not too strong, and while it lacks a ball-core-driven-auto-align, it does what it is supposed to do perfectly well. What that means, however, is that if you’ve gotten used to not finishing your turns, you’ll end up having to abuse the corner-cutting, which is about as good as you can expect from an $8 cube. I’ve found some of my solves screwed up by incomplete turns that lock up, but I’ve been able to adjust easily to a more accurate turning without any loss of speed (at least at my level).
Slices work very well, the Maglev version has a floaty feeling that is reminiscent of the Tengyun (the 1st one… the good one), and for roux solves that works pretty well. Unfortunately the less-than-stellar corner cutting means that my One-Handed solves get screwed half of the time when I get to LSE as I am utterly unable to combine MU turns without locking up. This might be something that doesn’t work for everyone.
Overall, this is a cube that is so inexpensive I don’t mind having on me all the time and clearly good enough to get good times (and a failed PB3 on my first AO50). I’d definitely advise anyone to add it to your next cubing shopping cart, or consider it if you’re getting a new cube and don’t know what to get. I actually like the feel of the spring version better, it feels a bit less clacky and a bit more smooth (probably due to that tiny bit more stiffness from the spring that feels better at lower tensions), but the frosted surface is a deal breaker for me. If you’re deep into ASMR or have other fetishes that make you like terrible things – or if you want to save the price of a hot dog at IKEA – then the standard might be a better version for you than the maglev.
An important note: this cube was generously provided by SpeedCubeShop.com, which is kind enough to send me cubes for testing as long as some of you use the code SCDB when purchasing from them. So if you’re buying a cube and you want to get it decently quickly, consider making your purchase using [This link], that will send some love my way and let me keep doing this!