Sound — 8
I play mostly rock and blues, with a bit of metal and jazz thrown into the mix. The guitar can handle them all pretty well, except for heavier metal where the single-coils sometimes sound too light. I've been thinking of replacing one of the pickups with a humbucker, but haven't gotten around to it. I use a small Hohner CD100 amp at home, and a Behringer V-AMPIRE LX1200H in rehearsals. Onstage I've played with a variety of Marshall, Behringer and Fender amps, and so far I've managed to get a decent sound out of them all. I don't use many effects, only a Line6 Crunchtone overdrive pedal. It also has a noise gate, so any noise the pickups make (and they do make some, though not more than any other single coils) is blocked. Since I'm not into playing covers, I cannot comment on how easy it is to mimick other people's sounds. But the tonal range of the guitar is excellent. The pickup selector allows you to Switch between different tone flavours quickly, although I sometimes tend to accidentally hit it when playing.
Overall Impression — 10
The overall impression is, well, impressive. After almost five years of playing this guitar, and having tried a number of others (Hohner, Ibanez, Fender, Gibson, Yamaha, Apollo, you name it) I haven't experienced anything I'd sorely need, that'd make me want to Switch guitars. During this time I've become so used to this guitar that I couldn't imagine what I'd do if it were stolen. I'd naturally buy a new one, but I doubt it'd be the same. There's a kind of affection that I feel towards this instrument. What I love most about it is that it suits me exactly. The neck is just as thin as I like it, the frets are at a perfect height, it weighs just enough that I can handle it with ease. The only thing right now that slightly annoys me is the strap - it's too short (I have grown a bit since buying it). I did compare it to other guitars (Apollo and Rockwood, if I recall correctly, most other brands were way out of my price range), although not too extensively, mostly out of ignorance as to what exactly I should compare. Overall, I chose it because it was a good middle ground, being able to handle most music styles. Plus I dig Strats (and Teles, but there weren't any of those for sale at the time). Overall, I truly think I hit the bullseye with this guitar. Being a poor student I couldn't possibly afford a "real" Strat, but this has proven to be the next best thing. For the price it packs more than its fair share of punch, without having any of the unnecessary (for me, of course) and expensive features like a floyd rose bridge or what not.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Reading through the list of flaws above the text box that I'm typing into right now, I must say I didn't notice any of these with my guitar. I could play it right out-of-the-box. It might be that the local reseller had done some tweaking to it, though, they sometimes do. The action was, and still is, pretty good. I haven't played many top-of-the-line guitars, but I've played a few. This guitar, naturally, cannot compare to a Fender or Gibson, but it isn't meant to. For the price it delivers excellent performance, though. The guitar stays in tune solidly, even after extensive string bending, and the tuning pegs are very responsive and easy to handle.