When the concept of a multi-bladed cartridge came out, (probably the Trac II), it was touted thus: That the first blade would (1) begin to cut the whisker (2) before it completed this task, would catch and pull the whisker out so that the second blade could complete the job and make the cut even deeper.
This has been the basis for that system probably since the early 70's...leading from Trac II to Atra, to Sensor...then to 3 blades, as we find in Mach 3, where NEITHER of the first two blades actually cut the whisker completely, and then to the Fusion, Quattro, etc.
THINK ABOUT IT...you have a rope. You drag a knife through it, and it doesn't cut...but you slide it out a bit with that knife, and somehow we're to believe that the 2nd one is magically sharper and then will actually sever it at a spot a bit closer in. The concept is one that cries out against logic. It tells me several things:
1) At least 1-3 of the 2-4 blades aren't sharp enough to cut a whisker.
2) At least 1-3 of the 2-4 blades are unabashedly designed to pull hairs out.
3) If all the blades are created equal, there is no guarantee that the last one in the sequence will actually cut the whisker.
OR-- what if the concept is wrong? What if the first blade really DOES cut the whisker the first time around? It takes the whisker and the lather and then you drag 2-3 more blades over dry skin?
Pulling whiskers out, not cutting them, cutting them before they "spring back where they were" (such as depicted on 70's TV advertising for Trac II), or dragging effectively 3-4 passes with a questionably sharp blade, in the form of a plastic cartridge over unlubricated skin...
...or properly prepping your face. Inserting a razor sharp blade you KNOW will cut the whisker, using proper technique to match your hair's growth. Putting on a little more of that rich, warm lather for an ATG pass, enjoying the fit and workmanship of a nice razor-- and taking a few minutes to enjoy a great scent and feel...paying attention to the process.
Yeah...I think it's possible to get a smoother, more comfortable, less irritated shave with the DE method, good equipment, proper prep and a little practice.
At nearly 3.00 a cartridge, I think you could set yourself up rather nicely for a year and still save money over the Edge-goo and Mach 3's. Regardless of the cost, it's your face. Gillette's hype with this general system has been nothing short of horrendous-- I didn't believe it in the 1970's when it came out, and I believe it even less as time goes on.
Look at the people around you, while at work, or shopping, or on the train-- that "5:00 shadow at 2:30" that you see on most faces, the stubbly look on most pop culture figures-- it's the fruit of 35 years of salesmanship from the corporate level, and an acceptance of mediocrity on the part of the shaving and consuming public.
Use Kyles Pre-Shave Prep, read some of the fine posts on technique, find an inexpensive DE for 1/2 the cost of a mongo-cartridge pack of Fusions, get a sampler pack of blades, and try it for 2 weeks.
And remember: Batteries not included!
"I'd wish you good luck, but the good ones don't need it and all the luck in the world won't help the bad ones."