my friend is buying a cheap electric. hes tossing up between a fender vibe 50's telecaster and an Epiphone Les Paul Standard. both around $330 and both hes interested in, regardless the suitability his style of music. issue is, he has rather tiny hands.

so if anyone could give me some advice on the quality of guitar vs the suitability for him (size wise), it would help a lot.
I'd say out of the two you mentioned, either one would be a good choice... One isn't going to be much different, size wise, than the other..

Play them both and go from there..
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the scale length of the neck is smaller on the lp than the tele, but the tele has a thinner neck if im not mistaking
The epi has a fatter neck and shorter scale length. The fat neck will pretty well force him to have good thumb placement. Quality of both guitars is fantastic for the price. Either will be great.