Along with the Five Star and Pro-S lines, the Four Star line is amongst the top tier of Henckels’ offerings. The Four Star line features moulded synthetic “ergonomic” handles in lieu of the traditional riveted handles and traditionally styled German blades with full bolster.
Although I’m generally philosophically opposed to knife sets, when it comes down to the mix of knives and accessory items, this one isn’t too bad. Two of the four knives would be on my short list of essential daily use knives, and the remaining two are of a generally useful size. As with most “sets” the honing steel is a throwaway and should be immediately discarded in favor of a ceramic or smooth polished steel for maximum effectiveness. I’ve never been a big fan of the Four Star line, however. I find the handle style and shape isn’t particularly comfortable and the larger knives are poorly balanced. For someone with smaller hands, the Four Star line may be more user friendly, but for me, if I were to pick one of the higher end Henckels lines, I’d opt for the Pro-S as I find them more comfortable.
While the fully bolstered blade is quite traditional amongst the German knife makers, more than one of them have finally acknowledged the inherent drawbacks to the full bolster by offering knives with half or quarter bolsters which eliminate the two basic challenges posed by the full bolster construction. The full bolster interferes with the full use of the blade, limiting the types of cuts one can employ, and when the blade is sharpened since the bolster isn’t sharpened along with the blade, the blade will eventually develop a “hollow” at the heel, where the blade no longer meets cutting board, requiring (usually) professional intervention to grind away the bolster.
If you’re looking for a German knife with a traditional blade, you could do a lot worse than to select the Four Star series, but for my money, if I were looking for German steel, I’d opt for the Messermeister Elite lines which are better finished, feature half bolsters, and offer better geometry.