Sound — 8
I'm using it with the supplied Ibanez BSA10 19-watt bass amp, and it gives a surprisingly decent sound, though I'd recommend getting a new amp after two years. I've got a Zoom B2 Multi-Effects Pedal, and it gives surprising versatility to the sound of the bass. The tone control also has a pretty good tone range, from very muddy passive (which I personally dislike) to a nice active tone which I tend to stick to most of the time (I love my tool). It's very versatile for it's class and will suit any style of any beginner.
Overall Impression — 10
For an entry level bass, this really is the top of the line, Ibanez have a really great reputation for affordability and quality. I've been playing for two years now (I'm a fast learner) and until I get that thing called money I'll be content with this thing. If it were stolen/lost, I'd invest money in a 'proper' bass now, though. Compared to similar basses from Ashton, Yamaha and even Fender Squires, this thing is really the best for your buck. I just wish it was loaded with $3000 for a Fender or ESP.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I probably wouldn't gig with this, unless I really had to, simply as you don't walk on stage with an entry-level bass, if you want to be taken seriously, although it wouldn't fare too badly as a backup. On several cases rehearsing in my room, the straps get getting loose, but I got decent straps from my local shop to counter that problem. I've knocked this thing around countless times, and seems to have taken no damage whatsoever. I haven't changed the strings either, nor properly cleaned the frets in a while, but it still sounds pretty good, so it's very reliable in that respect.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Action is good, the neck is really good for a stock neck, but hey, Ibanez necks are among the best, and I haven't had a problem with the neck, haven't had to re-adjust it yet. The pickups and bridge were set up by the pro's in my local shop perfectly (I'm sure this was their only black one left, and so they were using it as the display), although lately the low E saddle has started to buzz, especially when tuned down to D, C, and hell, B. But I'm sure I just have to re-adjust it. Otherwise, it's perfectly fine.
Features — 7
The headstock bears the good old "Made in China" tag, although I was told these were Indonesian made. I'm not too sure about the year, but this is an entry-level bass, that doesn't matter. There are 22 medium frets on the rosewood fingerboard, which features pearl dot inlays. The neck is an Ibanez stock GSR4 bolt-on. The body is made of agathis, and has a black finish, and is in the shape of a classic Jazz Bass. The pick ups are Ibanez's stock split single-coil P-Bass in the mid and single-coil J-bass at the bridge. It's got 3 knobs, 2 for the pick-ups and 1 for tone.