I had one of these, but I found the blade thinness right where it joined the handle worried me. I doubt if it would actually ever have broken, but I wouldn't feel happy halving a swede or celeriac:
I gave it to a friend, and it's now their go-to knife, so it's pretty hard to tell who they'll suit!
Before i got my globals, i thought that maybe they were just over-rated equipment designed for those who buy simply for style. how wrong i was. i really like them for their lightness (good for long hours of prep) and the handles are perfect for small paws. since they have very little weight, they are not so great for heavy duty jobs like cutting through shells (think lobster) or bones. also, you'll need a ceramic steel to hone a global blade as well as special sharpening stone.
anyways, i am not dissapointed i got globals. the general rule is, feel a knife in your hand before you get it.
I exchanged a whole bunch of unwanted wedding gifts for a set of 'em at Macys. Love 'em. I agree with the previous posters that you'll like the knife that fits you best. Also that Globals are light, and I would add that their handles are much thinner than the Wusthof/Henckels ones, making it comfortable for my smallish hand. I sharpen them weekly (with the Global sharpening rod, which was expensive but part of my wedding exchange) and they take a beautiful edge with half a dozen strokes.
The steel is meant to hone the blade not sharpen. I would not recommend sharpening the knife every week there won't be much left in a year.
I also recommend having them professionally sharpened when possible. I have the Henckel sharpener. It works when I have no choice but it does a lousy job.
I was at a cooking class with Master Chef Ray Leong recently, and picked his brains about the knives he used, which ones were the best ones, etc. You wanna know what he said? The best knife is the one that fits your hand the most comfortably.
So if you can, it really behooves you to see, touch and feel them before you buy. Good knives are certainly an investment, and usually something you will have for a while.
Though the Globals look very cool, there are many good Japanese knives out there...
you might want to consider Kai (makers of the Kershaw Shuns, but they have other less expensive knives too...like their wasabi line).
Someone else mentioned the MACs, which are good. Also
If you want to do the German thing (or German style), someone mentioned the Messermeisters. Other ones to consider are the F. Dick. The Tramontina Professional line is a great bargain too (which you can get a small set with [a lousy] block from ebay for a whopping $22+$12 shipping). The Calphalon Essentials (which you can find at Ross) are also a good deal.
I find the shapes awkward for long periods. The edge is good, but really at the bottom of the line for Japanese steel. I also think they're way overpriced for what you get.
I much prefer Mac knives in every way.
If you want a German shape with a Japanese edge, the Messermeister Meridian line is quite good.
I hate them. I they are too light for my liking. It may be because I'm used to henckels, but everytime I lift the knive the tip carries too far up. And I sliced my finger (albeit paper thin). They do appear to be very sharp from the factory.
Have you tried them out? Most stores will let you try before you buy. You may want to bring a carrot to test with.
Let us know what you choose and why.
They are great knives. We have several. My wife loves the Global knives, whereas I prefer my Zwilling-Henckels. I also read somewhere that many professional chefs are turning to Globals, as they are much lighter than the German knives, like the Henckels. I like a bit more heft in my knives, but I may be in the minority.
The Globals hold an edge very well and we've found their quality to be every bit as good as our other knives. For keeping an edge, we use, and I recommend a CERAMIC "steel" or rod, as they really seem to help keep an edge much better than the standard steel rod.
I've had a set for a couple of years, and they are wonderful. They look really cool, and make slicing up stuff fun. Excellent grip, are fine in the dishwasher when I'm too lazy to wash them by hand, and don't need to be sharpened very often.
My fiance snagged the biggest one and took it to work to slice his fruit when he bartended, every day. Just because he enjoyed doing so, he sharpened it A LOT--but it is still not worse for the wear, amazingly.
These are the only good knives I've ever had, though, so other chowhounds will probably be able to offer more insightful opinions compared with other knives.