CIVIVI Qubit Review: The Devil is in the Details
May 27, 2023
Looking for a knife that divides GearJunkie's experts? The CIVIVI Qubit does just that. While other reviewers found it lacking for purpose, I, for one, think it's an exemplary model for what modern knife-makers do right.
A little while back, a colleague of mine came out of the gates hot and heavy about the abundance of variety in the production knife market. He assumed that there has to be cannibalization in a brand's lineup because they have too many knives that seem similar. And though I don't think he was entirely wrong, I do think he was looking at it from too far away, and I don't wholesale agree.
Specifically, he called out one knife in particular, about which he could not find anything unique: CIVIVI's Qubit. As luck would have it, we were both pitched the Qubit at the same time. But, where he passed on reviewing it, I saw an opportunity.
I’m glad I did.
Aside from the three other variations of the Qubit, there is no other knife like this in the CIVIVI lineup. In fact, they only feature two knife models with aluminum handles. Though those two knives share similar dimensions, the other knife — the Altus — features Nitro-V steel. That alone sets these two knives apart and makes them both unique in their own right.
Does that make the Qubit entirely idiosyncratic in the entire production knife industry? No. There are other knives out there using aluminum handle scales and 14C28N steel. But what does make the Qubit unique industry-wide is that it's made by CIVIVI and they love to use affordable materials and pair them with premium mechanisms, generally for less than $100.
The Qubit features a stainless steel blade, an aluminum foundation, a button lock, and ceramic bearings. What could be $200 from another brand is $80 from CIVIVI.
In short: The Qubit isn't just another pretty face. It's an overbuilt EDC that finds a sweet spot between lightweight and durable. Adding in a button lock takes the Qubit up and notch and makes it undeniably reliable.
The Qubit is built off of two slabs of blue anodized aluminum, which keep it lightweight but extremely durable. Its drop-point blade is made from Sandvik 14C28N, heralded as the best budget knife steel on the market. It is tough stainless steel that has great edge retention.
This makes the Qubit a great choice for getting down in the muck, wet and dirty, without worrying about it rusting or breaking down.
A common feature with CIVIVI knives is the choice to use ceramic bearings for silky smooth opening and closing. Coupled with the brand's button lock, you have an easy-to-use EDC knife with fast and fluid operation and a lock that can only be beaten by blowing up the whole damn thing with a stick of dynamite.
Any knife that uses aluminum as its foundation is going to be lightweight, and at 2.82 ounces, the Qubit is no exception. But it's also really durable, as seen in the build, lock mechanism, and blade steel. This trifecta of elements was a key indication that the Qubit not only could be relied on for years to come, but it should also have the snot kicked out of it on the regular just to remind the user of that fact.
The Qubit is also a great size and shape. At 4.21 inches closed, it fits in both your hand and pocket nicely. When deployed, it's 7.19 inches and has a fat-bellied 14C28N drop point blade. This blade shape and steel are the perfect balance between durability and affordability.
I’ve been impressed with CIVIVI's button-lock and ceramic-bearing dynamic duo since testing and reviewing CIVIVI's Conspirator. On the Qubit, being that the knife is lighter and smaller, it feels faster and more fluid.
Visually, the Qubit reminds me of the pocket knives I grew up with, the knives my mom would shove into my backpack for camp. Standing the Qubit on a flat surface reveals the curve and flow of the knife, from the butt to the tip of the blade. This will no doubt aid in how comfortable the knife will perform in the field.
The Qubit is lightweight, but also durable — the perfect mix for putting in work for prolonged periods of time.
But you can beat this knife up and not do a whole lot to get it back to factory fresh. Because of the 14C28N blade, you’re free to use the knife in all conditions.
The only thing you need to be concerned with is getting grit in the button lock. A quick wash in a river can eliminate that issue quickly, however.
Aside from using it as my EDC folder for 2 weeks, I did a little gardening with the Qubit. I dug in the dirt and moved some new plants into their forever home in the ground. When I was done, I washed it off in the natural spring in the yard and put it back in my pocket.
With the high chromium content in the 14C28N blade, you don't have to worry about it corroding in fresh water. That's what makes 14C28N steel so admirable. No, it's never going to be that steel that beats out the boutique steels, but that doesn't mean it isn't good. Knife steel is a bit of a popularity contest, and these affordable steels always lose points for being categorized as such.
The action and blade drop on the Qubit likewise impressed me. Crossbar style locks are great for not only keeping a blade locked open, but they’re also designed to keep the blade closed. So, you don't need to worry about the Qubit opening in your pocket.
What I love about button locks is the way the blade just drops back into place when you’re closing them. It's a fidget feature, but we all have our vices.
If you really pressed for a knock against this knife, I would add that I found the Qubit about an inch too small. But that doesn't mean it won't be a great EDC for most folks; I just like bigger knives.
That said, at just over 7 inches deployed, the Qubit falls into that sweet spot for backpackers who tend to like a smaller knife in their pocket.
When you look at CIVIVI as a brand, it has a penchant for using top-of-the-line, affordable materials and pairing them with increased ergonomics and premium features like button locks and ball bearings. The Qubit has those two features and uses aluminum for its scales and frame. That all pairs nicely with the drop point 14C28N steel blade. These features make this knife lightweight, durable, and dependable.
Then there's the price point, which is something I’ve talked about quite a bit this year. A lot of people get hung up on the price and think that a knife that is less than $100 isn't worth their time. I’ve been there. I used to hunt down those big expensive whales and feel like royalty. But the fact of the matter is that there are plenty of knives on the market today — for under $100 — that would give those whales a run for their money.
The Qubit is one of those knives.A little while back, a colleague of mine came out of the gates hot and heavy CIVIVI's Qubit the Altus In short: OAL Blade length Blade steel Blade shape Grind Hardness Lock type Carry right or left hand, tip-up, deep carry Weight Price Conspirator