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To my mind, this is the perfect starter's set. Everything you need is here. and nothing you don't. Aside from including both soap and cream (which is necessary to determine your preference), this kit contains only the bare necessities. The included Merkur HD razor may be the last razor I ever buy. It's built to last. I thought I might like a longer handle, but found the stubby one easy to maneuver around my face, even with my large and less-than-dexterous hands. The badger-hair brush feels great, and the apothecary mug works up a lather easier than anything I might have borrowed from the kitchen. I don't think the Astra blades will be my long-term brand of choice (I'm working my way through a sampler pack now) but they do fine. A month into my wet-shave experiment, and I'm a convert. This set made the switch easy and affordable. I'll make my investment back within a year -- no more $20 packs of Mach 3 cartridges.
Great razor, brush, and mug. Proraso is a good cream but I did not enjoy the Col. Conk soap. Astra blades are a winner every time.