Sunday, August 21, 2016

Kung Fu Qinghong (Newisland Lightning v2) review

Hi everyone!

What I have for you all today is the Kungfu Qinghong cube, which is a budget 3x3 (almost ultrabudget) that aims to be a speedcube. I heard a lot of good things about it, so I couldn't wait to get my hands on one, and that time finally arrived a few weeks ago. However, even as of today it seems to be fairly obscure and not very commonly recommended, so let's take a deeper look at whether or not that should change.

"But Karl, so many high-end new cubes are being released soon. Why are you looking at an obscure budget option?"

Well, I'm just excited for the Gans Air and the Valk 3 as anyone else. I have multiple of each already on preorder. Unfortunately neither are shipping in the US yet, so I'll just be taking a look at this while I wait.

Background Info

The Kungfu Qinghong is a budget speedcu - oh, alright, you want to know about Newisland.

(Wall of text ahead - skip ahead 3 paragraphs or so if you want to continue with the review)

Now, to be completely honest I'm not certain at all the deal between Newisland and Kungfu is. All I can tell you is what I learned from a video about Newisland and Qiyi (forgot the video link, unfortunately). What apparently happened with the Phoenix/Bullfight and the Lightning v1/Thunderclap was that the cubes were entirely Newisland's design, and they outsourced to China to have it produced. However, in China Qiyi associated itself with the factory making the Phoenix/Lightning, gaining access to the designs and the production line, so they began selling the cubes as their own. Newisland couldn't do much about this because China's rules regarding copyright/patent (not sure if anything in the cubes are patented) infringement are very weak and don't do much to help the rightful owners, so they changed factories.

I believe the situation with the Qinghong is similar, for two reasons. One, it's happened before, and there's no reason it shouldn't happen again. Because China's laws are so loose and Chinese companies know this, a lot of products outsourced to China for production will be ripped off. Two, the design language of the Qinghong is very similar to the Thunderclap - a lot of features are carried straight over (as we'll see in the internals analysis). This suggests that rather than the Qinghong being Kungfu's design and simply rebranded as the Lightning v2, instead the Lightning v2 was designed by Newisland based off of the Lightning design and Kungfu just started selling it as their own.

What does this mean for actual cubers? Well, not much, it just comes down to a choice. Moralists who would rather support the original designer than spend less should probably buy the Newisland cube. However, call me a bad person if you want, but I as a consumer would probably rather buy the KungFu because there's a price difference, and the price difference is rather large. 

Back to the review - the Kungfu Qinghong is a budget 3x3 that's either aiming for the top dogs, by Newisland's pricing, or made to slot in under the Thunderclap but over the ultrabudget cubes like the Guanlong or the Sail, by Kungfu's pricing. As the Kungfu version, it costs $8 from most US sellers and just under $2 if you buy in bulk from Chinese sellers. A very cheap cube.

Let's dive in.

Look and feel

There's not much special about the cube itself, it's just another Florian cut modern speedcube. The florian cuts on the pieces are very rounded rather than being almost straight cuts like you might find on a Thunderclap, but that's one of its only distinguishing factors.

The stickers, though... the thing that jumps out at you immediately is the fact that the center sticker is round. We all know where that comes from. The problem is, even if it is trying to imitate Gans I don't see it doing a very good job besides that center sticker, since the edge and corner stickers are shaped entirely differently and couldn't be more un-Gans like.

The stickered cube comes with stickers in your standard Moyu shades, which it seems like every company loves using nowadays. The stickerless's shades are actually completely identical to the Thunderclap v1, save for the much brighter and more vibrant green and the slightly more vibrant and more "solid" looking yellow. I suspect the difference in yellows actually stems from the thinner plastic on the Thunderclap v1 letting through more light.

The cube measures 56mm and weighs 80.5 to 84.5 grams depending on stickers - just a shade heavier than the Thunderclap 1. Excellent, I don't want another papery speedcube in my hands. (ahem Guanlong)


As we all know two of the same cube can feel very different depending on how they're set up and broken in. I'll be including this section from now on just as a reference to how I set the cube reviewed up.

Factory tensions were at a good level, but inconsistent between faces. I evened them out to what was an approximate average of all faces.

After doing roughly 50 solves, I disassembled the cube entirely, noting the number of turns of the screws to remember tensions. After wiping clean with a microfiber, I lubed the screws and springs with SCS Speed Lube weight 3. I then reassembled the cube, putting a small line of weight 1 on an edge, and have done approximately 400 solves since then.


Out of the box, the cube was on the fast side, a bit slower than the Thunderclap v1. I prefer very fast cubes, and unfortunately I have yet to have been able to set up the Qinghong to the speed I like - any lube only seems to slow it down.

The turning is smooth and has a bit of bumpiness, but it's a very muted internal bumpiness rather than the immediately apparent bumpiness of something like a Thunderclap v2. It's a bit clicky but not to the same extent as the Thunderclap v1.

One thing I feel that apparently some people disagree with me on is that it has a bit of a soft plastic feel. This could be a result of overlubing, however.

Corner Cutting

Max corner cutting: 44-49 degrees
Effective corner cutting: ~37 degrees
Max reverse cutting: 28-32 degrees
Effective reverse cutting: ~26 degrees

Corner cutting on this one is actually very impressive for a a budget cube. Forward cutting is quite far up there, nearly at the level of the Thunderclap, and it's a nice and easy cut up to around 37 degrees. Reverse cutting is a bit behind Moyu flagships and the Thunderclap v1, though.

However, I found that corner cutting is rather inconsistent at my tensions. Sometimes lining up a 49 degree cut will go right through, and other times a 45 degree cut will cause the cube to lock up and deform. The same happens on reverse cuts. I don't see this as much of a problem since the threshold to reach that point is rather high, but it's still something to note.

Anti-pop and anti-corner twist

Anti-pop is good. I've had a pop when I tried out a looser tension, but since then I haven't even with rough turning.

Anti-corner twist is surprisingly decent as well, despite the lack of squared corners. Corners take a fair amount of effort to turn by hand and I haven't twisted much during solves even on the G perm.


Due to the similarities, I'll be comparing it to the Thunderclap v1.

Thunderclap on left, Qinghong on right.
Already we can see that the internal designs look fairly similar. The tracks are different between the two, but the proportions and overall sizes of the pieces are very similar.

The caps on the Qinghong resemble standard caps more- they're thinner and only cover the top of the center. This isn't to say that they're completely standard, though. They still have a slight bump near the bottom that touches the center to form one of the friction surfaces inside the cube. Again, this means that if your cap isn't seated down completely the turning of the cube could be affected.

Thunderclap on left, Qinghong on right.
Again, they look quite similar. The same divot on the center side of the edge as well as the same bump on the corner side of the edge are on both. There's a small secondary bump on the Thunderclap edge that isn't on the Qinghong.

Most of the bumps and divots on the Qinghong edge are larger and more rounded than those on the Thunderclap. This could account for why the feel is less clicky and tactile than the Thunderclap.

Thunderclap on left, Qinghong on right.

The big obvious difference here is that the shoulder on the Thunderclap corner stalk is gone. The rounded profile of the inside corner is also extended inward more, which might be why it resists corner twisting so well.


Objective score: 7.5/10

In most regards it's actually a very good cube, though it falls short of Moyu and Qiyi flagships. Corner cutting is fairly good. Anti-pop is good on moderate to tight tensions, and anti-corner twist is decent despite the lack of squared corners.

I can solidly placed this in the mid-high end speedcube range, unlike other budget cubes like the Guanlong which are squarely low-end.

Subjective score: 7/10

I do like it quite a lot. However, it's just a bit too smooth and not clicky enough, as well as a bit too flexy, to be my main. 

That being said, I wouldn't complain much if I had to use this cube during a competition.

So, let's wrap up this review.

You should buy this cube if:
  • You like smooth cubes and/or are trying out different feels
  • You need a large quantity of good-quality cubes - a cubing class or something similar
  • You can get it for $2 on a certain Chinese site
You should not buy this cube if:
  • You want to support the original designer - get the Newisland Lightning v2 instead
  • You are already used to flagships and want a new main - it's not quite flagship performance level
  • You don't like smooth feeling cubes

Honestly, though, for just a few bucks I'd suggest to anyone to just buy one to try out. Who knows, you may end up liking anyways!

Anyways, that wraps up another review, the first 3x3 posted on this new blog. Thanks for reading, and if you have any feedback or requests for other cubes please let me know!                                     

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