DaYan NeZha 5x5x5 (medium magnet strength)
DaYan's first modern big cube certainly impresses, and as their other recent products have done, the NeZha offers a unique option for people looking for a new high end puzzle. Where the MGC and AoChuang are more bubbly in their feeling, the NeZha is very smooth, and where the Valk is heavier, the NeZha is light. It reflects the performance of other recent DaYan puzzles, so if you enjoy the TengYun or newer GuHong 3x3s then definitely give the NeZha a try.
Out of the box the cube is very papery and quite smooth, although definitely needs setting up as it is dry. It is also pretty loose, and while I prefer looser puzzles I would advise most people to tighten it slightly to reduce the risk of bigger pops/lockups. It is a fraction larger than the AoChuang WRM, although the difference isn't really noticeable, and the inner layer magnets are slightly stronger than the outer layer magnets which means M slices can be done with relative ease. Lockups can happen when turning less accurately, and occasionally a centre piece cap can come loose and fall off - this is not a major issue as they can easily be put back on but may be an inconvenience during solves.
In setting up the cube I added Angstrom Gravitas to the inner parts of the pieces to maintain the cube's smoothness, Traxxas 50k to both the inner and outer layers to keep it stable and improve the feel to my personal preference, and small amounts of Lubest XMT-10 and DNM-37 to give a plush speedy feel. I would definitely recommend combinations of lubes such as these to set up the cube.
The forwards corner-cutting up to one piece can be done with relative ease and is a bit snappy. Beyond that requires more effort and sometimes locks up, but you should not need to rely on this in solves. The reverse corner-cutting is more of a problem though, as beyond the rounded corners, the cube locks up at any attempt to cut. While cubes such as the AoChuang are only marginally better than this, I feel that this issue is what causes a lot of the catching I experience in my solves. I deliberately heavily giving this cube 4/5 because of the catching issues I was getting, however ultimately these were reduced somewhat by some setup, and my getting used to the cube and improving my turning accuracy on it. I've done around 50 untimed solves on the cube after setting it up and breaking the puzzle in, and this is what my experience of the cube is based on so far.
As such, I think this cube is worthy of a 5-star rating. It offers a unique feel similar to other DaYan puzzles that fills a gap in the market for those looking for a very smooth and light puzzle that does not sacrifice on stability. I have experienced catches and occasional lockups where the cube deforms, but these are at the cube's factory tensions, and as long as your turning is accurate this should not be a problem.
DaYan has done something rare for a first attempt at a modern puzzle, in that they have managed to make a cube that is able to offer something unique AND competitive for the market. If you're looking for a light and smooth 5x5, or you like the feel of DaYan 3x3s such the TengYuns, or you just want a great alternative to the AoChuang WRM, the MGC, or the Valk, then give the NeZha a try! The potential of this cube might shock you as much as it did me.