Pros: good weight and balance. Aggressive yet still a smooth shaver. good grip. well priced.
Cons: blade alignment
The box came with a box inside and inside it, a nice plastic container to store the razor which is good for travel. A nice touch that makes a good value even better. Its less than $25USD. I received no such item with either of my three other safety razors purchased over the last 13 months, which were at least $12.00 more expensive.
I desire heft in a safety razor. It just works for me, which I noticed when adding an ikon handle to my EJ razor. It was night and day, for the better.
I thought I read somewhere that the cadet handles are solid brass, which makes perfect sense to me. A good heavy metal, that takes a finish or powder coat very well.
The weight of the razor is almost the same as Ikon-EJ. The handle has nice texture, and is longer. Never any loss of grip or slip, which aids the required light touch.
The head comes apart nicely, and blade pops in easily. However, you must pay attention to ensure the blade is aligned. There is a bit of play as you thread the handle to easily make the razor perfectly straight. If I could not align it, it would be returned, or turned into a paperweight.
Some folks will not accept this, however the results are worth it. Thus, I gave it an "8" for this slight flaw.
When it's all loaded up, ready to go, you'll notice the blade. It's "out there", ready to mow down your beard. Not for the feint of heart. Not for the hung over or those with a shaky hand, or lacking dexterity.
The comb is noticably longer with a slight radius downward and longer than that on the merkur 25C, a very mild razor, I find lacking.
The handle and its length feel good in the hand, and lend confidence to every stroke, short, long, with, across or against the grain, in tight, or easy areas.
There is also a distinct feeling, or feedback of the blade on the skin. I don't feel this with my other razors, EJ, HD, 25C with or without the ikon handle. This feeling is desirable, as this is an aggressive razor, but the feel prevents bites or nicks very well. Until this week, I didn't really know what bbs was.
I burned the crap out of my entire neck after my first shave. I've since lightened up my touch, and today, got the best result in my 13 months wet shaving. Zero nicks, zero burn. Very satisfying.
So satisfying I'll overlook the blade aligning "requirement" some may consider a flaw. I urge you to do the same. This is a sensational shaving machine! Sometimes flaws, or quirks lend character to a machine, or tool. The effort required to adjust or assemble it adds something, not necessarily negative. To turn your back on this razor for a small quibble is to pass on outstanding results.
My preferred blade is personna. Feathers on a weekend, or when I have time. I don't see myself using a feather in the Cadet. I tried a Derby to see if it liked this razor as opposed to my other razors, and have determined derby's are lost on me. They just won't work, regardless of razor including the cadet.
The finish of the head, base and handle are nicer than merkur, and not quite as nice as the EJ.
My new Grail is an all stainless steel OC razor with this exact head, also in stainless steel.
Until then, this is it for me. An almost perfect razor, that delivers perfect results.