This should get 4-5 stars for build quality, and 2 stars for shaving characteristics. First the good. It is well made and a good value. It looks nice and the plating is as good or better than any of my other chrome plated zinc heads.
The shave that it gives, however, is nothing to write home about. It really is not very efficient or aggressive, and it is not that smooth, especially given the fact that it is only moderate at best. The Yaqi Beast, for example, available here for roughly half the price when the top cap is included, is much more efficient and gives a much, much better shave. It may not have the cache of being "designed by Charcoal Goods" but my first thought after using this base plate is that it is no wonder CG licenses this to someone else instead of selling it itself, it is nothing special. This head has given me the worst shaves I have had in a long time, lots of untouched whiskers and patches that just did not get mowed down. With the Yaqi I can get a great shave with 2 passes, and if I buff with a milder razor I can skip a day with no problem. Not so here. And the Beast is not even their most aggressive head - If you really want aggression the Knight head is set to 11, but is still smoother than this base plate.
As if the shave performance from the base plate was not bad enough, the top plate is odd and I found it to do the opposite of what it purported to be designed for. Instead of making the angle easy to find I found it fiddly - the true angle that cuts well does not match the slope of the cap, and if you try to use the cap as a guide you end up not cutting anything. I did not find it to drag as some others have complained, but I also did not find it pleasant to use. Again, with the Yaqi the head does all the work, you have to make an effort for it not to cut efficiently and smoothly. This head is the opposite and is fussy and annoying. Plus this head and base combo (as well as the Lithe) stick together when used with a 5ml washer and are very hard to pull apart. I do not have this issue with any other head and use the washer with SS handles that could damage the plating when cranked down. This seems to be from a slight recession in the bottom of the plate. It looks fancy, but without a washer the plating is not going to hold up with SS handles.
Not remotely as smooth as any of my gillettes, and I can dial in the blade exposure on the adjustables and still get a much smoother shave. I have a couple of EJ 89 clone heads, and those are smoother and more efficient. My old gillette open combs are milder but give a better shave. Overall this is a bummer and will be taking up space in the drawer.