Chris is right about me being right and vice versa.
All knives get dull. All dull knives are equal. It doesn't matter how nice a knife was to begin with, or how sharp it was out of the box. When it gets dull, it's crap. It seemed to Chris, and to me too, that the new "better" knife was mostly better than the the "block" knife because it was sharp out of the box, and the older knives from the block-set had already been dulled. The inevitablity of dulling means learning to sharpen your knives appropriately, using a service, throwing out a lot of knives to replace them with new "factory" edges, or using serrated knives because they stay "sharp," longer.
For a good cook, sharpening or a sharpening service are the ways to go.
A "sharpening steel," is a round rod. That means the area (contact patch) where the knife actually touches the steel at a given time is extremely narrow. This has some implications:
Used properly, a fine or smooth textured "honing rod" will smooth out bending, waving, or folding along the edge caused by impact with the board or food. That's a good thing. It will keep a sharp knife going longer without returning to the sharpening stones for a touch up.
However, a steel isn't a good choice for sharpening, which is really three things: Removing steel from the edge to make a fresh bevel; a shaped bevel; and smooth, narrow edge. A sharpening steel is rough enough and geometrically suited to remove a lot of metal quickly (wearing your knife down in the process), so it will give you fresh steel. As to shape, you can get any bevel you want as long as it's flat, and as long as you have the skill to hold an angle. However, a sharpening steel won't create a smooth, narrow edge. Instead, the edge is jagged and rather wide. Any steel rough enough to take sufficient metal to sharpen is too rough to make a good edge. It will wreck you knives in a hurry.
Some pretty good cooks, professionals among them, are happy with the edges they get from sharpening steels, particularly "diamond steels." Although, I can't abide those edges I'm not implying any criticism of people who do. Or not. Let's just say it's hard to believe they've had much contact with truly sharp knives.
If you're serious about learning to cook well -- especially professionally -- you can make the whole thing more fun and productive by learning to sharpen. There are several ways for a home cook to put a working edge on a knive. For a professional there are basically three: Free hand sharpening on stones, using a service, or using a machine (pretty much limited to Chef's Choice). Of these, a service is the worst choice. Free handing is much better than a Chef's Choice -- once you've figured out how to do it.
Hope this helps,