Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Senhuan Mars review

Looks like we're getting another wave of cubes. Moyu slowed down a bit on the 3x3s ever since the Weilong GTS half a year ago, and now they're catching up with not one, not two, but three new sub-brand 3x3s.

I have with me here today the Senhuan Mars, one of the three and the earliest to be released. Let's hope it turns out to be something good.


The Senhuan Mars is a new 3x3 from a new Moyu subbrand, Senhuan. Recently the trend towards 3x3 releases seems to be simply putting cubes up for sale immediately with little to no warning, so this cube was another one that popped out of nowhere and simply started being sold on zcube.

One sharp-eyed friend, /u/ParadoxWatermelon, noticed that the Mars's internal shots looked strikingly similar to the Tanglong GTS renders from a while back. In fact, they were nearly identical save for a few minor differences. Could this be Moyu's revival of that project?

The cube actually costs a bit less than current flagships. Even though the trend with the newest releases has been an increase in price, with the $26 Gans Air and the $20 ($25 MSRP) Valk 3, the Mars only costs $14 from US sellers.

Despite the lower cost, it's oddly enough packaged in the Weilong GTS packaging, whereas the Chufeng, a similarly priced release, has a more standard cardboard box.

Look and Feel

Could you tell at a glance which cube is the Mars?

There are minor differences, such as the slightly more narrow edge stickers and the sharper corners, and of course, the signature white lines around GTS stickers, but otherwise this is a very similar looking cube to the GTS. Without having two of them side by side I'd be hard pressed to tell the difference.

It's a 56mm cube, as expected, and weighs in at a pretty hefty 91.5 grams. I believe this is the second heaviest cube I own, only coming second to the Aolong GT. It makes a loud clacky sound, similar to the Weilong GTS but higher pitched.

The stickers are the standard Moyu shades again, but thankfully they seem to be cut from the far superior sticker stock of cubes like the Meiying or the Yuexiao rather than the frankly awful stickers of the GTS. One thing I have noticed, though, is that the orange on the older and better sticker stock is a bit paler and less vibrant than the one used on the GTS, but I'd take that over chipping, peeling, and fading to red any day.


Out of the box this was a heavy turning cube. I did a few dozen solves just to get a feel for it, and then evened out the tensions as well as tightened each face a full turn. After a few more solves, I did the standard full disassembly and wipedown, then lubed the core with weight 6. I decided to use weight 5 on the pieces this time since from experience I know that heavy turning cubes tend to become uncontrollable for me if I use light lube.  I have since done approximately 400 solves to break in the lube, but overall the feel has not changed much since it came out of the box.


For some reason I had a feeling this was going to be another crunchy cube like the GTS. My suspicions weren't wrong; this is a very crunchy cube, even more so than the GTS. Turning is heavy, which makes it feel slow even if it's lubed to be fast. It's also very bumpy, even during single face turns, and more so during fast or spammy algorithms.

At reasonable tensions it's very flexy, again, more so than the GTS. This leads to quite a few lockups that has the entire cube flexing out of control.

If anything, it actually reminds me a bit of the Thunderclap v2, which was unfortunately not a cube I enjoyed. It has the same bumpiness and slow, heavy turning feel, and just feels a tad bit faster.

Sadly, I don't really enjoy the turning of this cube either.

Corner Cutting

Max corner cutting: ~52 degrees
Effective corner cutting: ~45 degrees
Max reverse cutting: ~37 degrees
Effective reverse cutting: ~36 degrees

Out of the box, corner cutting was rather bad, since the tensions were so loose it would flex into a lockup on most cuts. After tightening, corner cutting improved drastically into solid "high end cube" territory, though it doesn't quite full cut.

Reverse cutting is pretty good, especially effective which is only a degree off from max. I have a theory as to why this is that I'll get into in my internals analysis.

Anti-pop and anti-corner twist

On stock tensions, it popped quite a lot. They weren't random pops either: you could try to force a reverse cut in a way that would have it pop nearly 100% of the time. After tensioning, that issue has all but gone.

Anti corner twist is similar. After tensioning, the corners are quite difficult to twist by hand, and don't twist during my corner twisting stress test (the G perm which I still have not bothered to learn the name to).

No marks off here. I do wish stock tensions were a bit better, though.


Here we'll see if it does in fact look like the Tanglong GTS.

Sorry, no bright colors for contrast this time. :(

First thing we see is that the designer went rather groove-crazy on the edges. I count 7 concentric groves on the edges. Besides that we appear to have another simple design, though the sphere formed by the corner and edge locking feet is pretty small, similar to the Gans cubes.

Tanglong-like? Ehh, not as much as Gans-like.

The corner piece has a very clean and simple design. There's exactly one groove on the corner foot, and besides that there's pretty much nothing going on.

Here we do find one major difference from the Tanglong GTS renders though: the corner foot is molded into the corner piece. The renders showed a separate corner foot, similar to what the Fangyuan uses.

Now, remember what I said about its excellent reverse cutting? I think the geometry of the corner is a huge factor in it. The corner is very tapered and rounded, and should clear pretty heavy reverse cuts completely fine. The drawback is that there is less of a friction surface to keep the cube stable, which does start to show in its instability.
The edge piece. Again, another clean, spartan design.

We all know where that rotated torpedo and the tiny locking feet come from. This is the closest I've seen to a straight Gans knockoff. Again, the feet are molded straight into the edge piece rather than being a separate piece as the early Tanglong GTS renders showed.

The grooves should eliminate friction between the corner and the edge, but it seems to me there's already too little friction due to the corner's small friction surface. It's probably also contributing to the instability.

Oh, something else. My magnetic GTS tutorial got pretty popular and nowadays everyone is magnetizing every cube, so I thought I should take a look at how this cube might magnetize.


Well, this cube happens to have slots that are designed to keep stickerless caps pressed together, only they're not used for anything on the stickered variant since the caps are one piece. I happened to discover: a 5x3mm disc magnet drops perfectly into the slot. There's no play at all.

Don't get me wrong, this will still take superglue and patience to fully magnetize. It should just make magnet placement a hell of a lot easier.

There is a snag though; the corner caps are impossible to get off. I spent half an hour trying various ways to pull, pry, or just generally get them off, and it literally feels like the plastic will break before releasing the corner cap. Yes, I tried multiple corners.

I honestly cannot tell why, since judging by the zcube internal photos the corner caps are just simple friction fits. I just hope someone a little stronger or a little smarter than myself can figure it out.

About magnetizing, though: I'm not convinced this cube would take magnets well. I've found the effect of magnets can be felt much better through light, airy cubes like the Gans Air and heavier turning cubes tend to drown them out. This is quite possibly my heaviest turning cube besides the Aolong GT, so magnets may have almost no effect on it.

Conclusions time, I guess.


Objective score: 9/10
It's a good cube, as we've come to expect of new releases. It corner cuts well and resists pops well, and seems to be pretty well designed. However, I'd still have to put this cube a tier below the kings such as the Valk, since in the end it's still missing that degree to full cutting.

Subjective score: 6.5/10
I don't like it. It's too heavy and slow turning, just like the Thunderclap v2, and I've never really been for the bumpy or crunchy feel. The Weilong GTS was about at the edge of my tolerance for crunchiness, so this cube pushed past it.

You should buy this cube if:
  • You like heavy, slow cubes
  • You like crunchy or tactile cubes
You should not buy this cube if:
  • You do not like anything said about this cube :P
  • You are a new cuber on a budget
That last point might need a bit of explaining. After all, this is a cheaper cube than flagships, right?

Well, personally I think both the Fangyuan and the Thunderclap v1 are still more well-rounded and enjoyable by all cubes. Unless you know you would enjoy a slow, heavy turning feel I think it's safer to go with one of the two mentioned above rather than the Mars. Not to mention, they're cheaper as well.

If you do decide to get the Mars, you can get it from Speedcubeshop for $13.95. If you enjoyed reading this review, please consider using my affiliate link to purchase it - it costs nothing and helps me out a lot in writing more reviews.

Anyways, that wraps up another cube review. I'm sorta simultaneously looking forward to and not looking forward to the Chufeng and the M3, since I heard the Chufeng is a lot like the Tanglong, but I will try to get those reviews out dutifully as well.

Hope you enjoyed!


  1. do you have a youtube? you got some great reviews

  2. yea, a youtube channel would be great

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Yes. I consent to the yt channel.