After looking at some really positive reviews, and my own positive experiences with Feather's blades I decided to drop the $20 on the plastic Feather Popular DE razor. I was a little bit weary of it because of its plastic construction and the fact that it seems like a modern razor. I recently bought the Merkur Vision and despised it, because it threw out a lot of function for a modern form. Plainly put, the Vision is a monstrosity.
So what can I say, another modern style razor? My expectations were low.
I opened the package, and in it was a rather sorry looking reddish box. First impressions, for such a sorry looking box, it was quite weighty. I was happy to see a nice carrying case for the razor. The build quality of the razor is good, everything feels solid but light. So think of really solid and well stuck together plastic and metal that is still light. The metal trimmings are very thin looking and do not appear to be of high quality. This could be because they are not nice and shiny chrome plated like your common Merkurs. Opening and closing the butterfly top you don't hear any sound that reinforces any semblance of high quality materials. It sounds like cheap thin metal. But again, despite low quality materials, everything is well put together, and in the long run that's what will determine durability. It doesn't matter if a razor is made of diamonds if it's diamonds glued together with Elmer's Glue.
So I was both impressed but also suspicious. The construction was definitely quality. The materials weren't.
And then I started shaving with the included Feather blades and Proraso Sandalwood. And my god, this is where this razor shines. It's probably the most dramatically different cutting feel of the 7 different razors I own, most of which are Merkurs of different handles/edges/slants etc.. They are very subtly from each other. But the Feather Popular is a whole 'nother machine.
It's so forgiving, even with the ultra sharp feather blade in there. The lightness of the razor allows you to complete your shave with whizz-bang speed, and yet virtually no burn or nicks or cuts. There is a sense of drama and excitement with the shave you don't really get with the heavier high quality material razors. Where the latter are best for days you want to be Zen and meditative, the Feather Popular is for days where you have a surge of testosterone but don't want to obliterate your face with the heavier razors.
The sound you get as the blade's cutting action bounces through the plastic body is just energizing.
I'd give this razor a 10/10, but I have only shaved once with it thus far. So I'll hold off on a full assessment until I get more mileage with it.
But for now...plastic or not, this is one phenomenal machine.