Maggard slant and iKon X3 comparison shave
First was the prep, of course. I keep returning to my Phoenix soaps lately because of how great my skin feels after the shave. Well worth a try, IMO. I easily got a fine lather using the Plisson brush shown, and then I set to work, using the Maggard slant (dark-grey head) and the iKon X3 slant (aluminum head) alternately.
The Maggard slant is quite good and a bargain, but for me, in a side by side shave, the X3 was noticeably more comfortable. This is not to imply that the Maggard slant was uncomfortable—it’s not—but the feel on the face of the X3 head was for more pleasant and with less blade feel. The two were much the same with respect to efficiency, but the greater comfort of the X3 made it feel a bit more efficient.
So if you have neither and the additional $10-$15 is doable, I’d recommend the X3 over the Maggard just on comfort. However, the X3 is also made of aluminum alloy and the Maggard of coated Zamak, so there’s that as well: the aluminum alloy is much stronger than Zamak. In particular, it’s important not to overtighten Zamak heads: chronic overtightening will weaken the threaded stud from the cap and eventually it will break off under no pressure. You do want the razor tightened enough so that it will not loosen during the shave, but you want to use the very least amount of torque to achieve that. This is not such a concern with the X3, since its aluminum alloy is much stronger than Zamak.
I easily got a BBS result with no nicks, and a splash of Phoenix Artisan Cavendish finished the job.