This brush (the 31K256, just to clarify), is a great one and my first synthetic. It is incredibly soft and does a really nice job of lathering in the bowl. Face lathering, however, is a bit more of a problem and really the one drawback that keeps this brush from leapfrogging badger brushes altogether. The problem is that it does not soak up water nearly as well as natural fiber, which causes it to slide off too quickly. I can get a nice lather in the bowl, but I'm forced to use a painting technique to get it on my face. I wouldn't consider myself to be a face latherer, but I do like to finish my lathers on my face. That's hard to do with this brush. The flip side of this condition is that it dries very quickly. For this reason, I like to keep it as my travel brush; it even comes with a small cardboard tube that you can use when slipping it in your Dopp kit.
This is my "go to" brush for shaving creams. It's always an absolute pleasure to use. As a face+head shaver, I always need a lot of lather for my "6 pass" shave and this brush just never fails to deliver.
The one downside for me could be using this über-soft brush with hard soaps, but as I love my Semogue boar brush for those, it's not a real problem.
I am more than happy about this brush. Let me explain in detail.
1. For usual quantity of lather it uses about half of the product, cream and soap as well.
2. No need to soak a brush, that is good when I have no time.
3. I can not say about the heat retention, as I am cold shaver.
4. The lather is more creamy. Without any closer check it looks as ear pockets are smaller than usual, so the cream is more silky.
5. Lather building time is almost the same as with my omega boar, maybe few minutes less, not considerable difference.
6. One of the biggest surprises from the brush for me is the side effect. I have no idea why, but my lather now has more smell with this brush (I colloniali soap, Proraso red cream). For a first time I felt menthol touch of I coloniali....
7. The next strange thing is that I can see/feel the texture/smell/slickness differences between creams now, with boar brush differences were not so clear. For example Proraso Red cream quality-wise felt the same as Nivea Shaving cream, though the latter is 3 times less in price. Now I clearly see the difference, the pricing is correct.
8. The brush does not release water during the 2nd, 3rd passes, so lather stays almost the same as it was before the 1nd pass.
9. Tiips of the brush are very soft, still you can feel backbone even better than boar brush when wet. It has an excellent feel on face, but I amn not face lathering, so no comment here.
10. I can use it each day - it is dry after few hours.
11. The handle is made of very nice feeling material - looks like a plastic, but feeling as something between plastic and rubber, is not slippery wet or dry.
12. I heard it is a long-life product, I hope so, but can not confirm yet ))))
I have not tried a real badger yet and my opinion may change over the time because of SBAD, but for now I am sure I could stay with this brush upto 3017, no problem. And I am sure my next brush will be synthetic, either black fiber or next generation if any. I really can not think about anything that could be made better in any respect of this brush.
To make it short - I can not see any cons in this brush, that is a terrific product, the product I will buy for my Dad later this year ))))