Refractor made better or not ? Let's compare...
Install cost : 1 more than Refactor. Not a big deal.
Pump cost : 1 more too, but +4 strength instead of +3. Notice how it fits against the brand new code-gate terror. That 1 needed don't have to come from a stealth card to reach its 6 strength. Though, it doesn't do better against the other painful code gate coming in this data pack (Fairchild 3.0, which strangely doesn't have a registered hyperlink as I write this review), neither to the yet to come Mausolus. Against 7+ strength code gates, Refractor rejoices again : 2 stealth vs 2 stealth +2. Little Engine and Wormhole see some plays.
Keep the strength pump until the end of the run, so if you encounter 2 or more code gate with strength in a range between 3 and 6 included, it's better than Refractor since it demands only 1 stealth instead of 2. Hopefully, you won't see 7+ strength pieces of ice stacking on one server.
So it's only better than Refractor in some corner cases : in a meta full of 3+ strength code gates, or where DNA Tracker and Archangel are heavily expected.
A note on which Runner can use it at best :
Smoke : being released in the same cycle, it is lore-wise her decoder. She can use both Houdini and Refractor at full power without support, but the cost of Houdini over Refractor can be quickly sensitive, while Refractor make you run the risk of being stuck of an heavy coded server. That said... I'd pick Refractor for her, and keep away from any Jinteki unrezzed ice if the corp have 8 or more and don't have any other stealth provider on my rig.
Kit : she has more chance to encounter more than 1 code gate per run than anyone. She loves Lockpick more than anyone, too. While it's unlikely she'll overturn her lack of influence with this single card, I feel she'll make the best use for it.
Kate : there are some good stealth builds with Kate, but she's the more prone to be stuck out of a coded server. Still she's good at money, so the over cost of Houdini may be less of a problem. Houdini for her, or make room for one of each ?
Other shapers : it's late, my eyelids fall.
Out of faction : you love jank, don't you ?
So have I answered to the question I asked in the first sentence of this review ? Well, let's consider the illustration : Houdini, definitively !