Last Christmas I was given a Cermax Santoku knife... I need to explain something first, I have for over $2500 worth of knives in my block, not that I want to brag but I want to illustrate that when it comes to knives, money is never an issue for me (just for knives though...). Anyhow to make a long story short, to my opinion Henckels Cermax are the very best Santoku knives you can buy. The are sharp beyond reason, sharper than a Kasumi. The advantange of super sharpness is speed and precision. On the flip side, since the blade is soooo sharp, it is more brittle and therefore should be use appropriately, second, you will need a stone to sharpen it (more importantly, you will need to know how to use a stone first, so practice on sheap knives before). There is no way you can send this knife to be sharpen to your run of the mill place, it needs to be handle by someone who can appreciate the structure of the blade and this won't be accomplished by some clerk behind a counter.
OK... not everyone need or want this kind of knife, I realize that. Since I have handled different quality of knife, let me say this... You really get what you are paying for. At first a $29 dollar knife can look as good and feel as good and a more expensive knife but trust me they aren't. The grain of the blade (texture of the metal) will be coarser and after the initial few usages, it won't glide as smootly and will feel rough. Further more, cheap knives get dull quite quickly and let's face it most people will put up with a dull knife far longer than they should.
My reasonng when I am buyng a knife is this: I am most likely to keep this knife forever and very unlikely to replace it. I want to be comfortable with the knife and enjoy using it. Since I don't buy a knife every month, I wan't to get it right the first time. This makes it enjoyable to use. I will bite the bullet but will be over with.
Remember a sharp knife is a safe knife...