Sound — 7
I play mostly Death metal and black metal, and it is okay for that. The pickups aren't the best for that style, but I got it for under $50 so I shouldn't complain. I would imagine it would be good for playing stuff a bit lighter than what I play. It gets a nice distortion with the Bridge pickup, and it also has a nice clean sound with the neck pickup. I run it through a 65 watt Laney tube amp with a ton of gain and reverb, using a Line 6 Uber Metal pedal, a Line 6 Space Chorus pedal, and a Line 6 Echo Park pedal. It gives a bit of feed back when I play with the volume above about half way on my amp, but I use a noise gate so it isn't much. The overall sound is great for what I payed.
Overall Impression — 8
As I said, I play Death metal and black metal, and its not the best for this style. I have been playing for a little over 4 years, and this was just something to keep at my mothers house in Boston (I live in Illinois for most of the year). I own a Schecter Devil Spine, and an Ibanez RG370DXL, and the ZX doesn't even come close to those. When I got it the wiring was messed up, so I wish the seller would have told me before I bought it. If it was lost or stolen I would just look for another cheap guitar from craigslist, I only got this because I know that Dean is reliable and it was at an amazing price. I love the shape of it, I've always liked the Explorer style body, but I hate the pickups. If I was more devoted to upgrading it I would have already put some EMG's in it, and then it would be perfect. Overall a nice guitar for messing around with, but not anything special.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I think it is somewhat reliable, but I would only use it as a backup. The hardware is somewhat reliable, but its definitely not the best. I use Schaller strap locks on it, so I know it won't fall or anything, but I never really tried the original ones that were on it. The finish is great though, it doesnt't seem like it will fade or anything.
Action, Fit & Finish — 5
Since I got it used from craigslist, it wasn't in the best condition, and everything was dirty and wired wrong, the action was totally messed up, and the pickups were in bad shape, but I fixed it up, customized the hell out of it and now it is great.
Features — 9
22 frets. 24 3/4 inch scale. Bolt-on maple neck with a rosewood fretboard. Dot inlays (I ended up getting inlay stickers because I hate dots). Dean Zebra pickups (which look awkward, so I got red covers from inlaystickers.com), and a creme pickup-ring (I replaced mine with black ones from musiciansfriend). The body is (obviously) an explorer. Its string through, with a T.O.M. Bridge, with a V shaped cover for the holes (took that off of mine). Grover tuners, keep a decent tune. Dean V headstock, which is pretty cool! Volume knob and 2 tone knobs, 3 way toggle selector for pickups.