Purchased from: Local music store
Features — 8
2014 Affinity Strat made in China. 21 medium jumbo frets, 25. 5 scale, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard. Solid top, alder body. Solid poly finish - mine is Lake Placid Blue, which has a nice metallic/candy effect. Looks great. Standard Strat body - I think it's a bit thinner though. 6 screw tremolo bridge. SSS configuration (but the cavities are universal, so you can change in humbuckers). Standard 1 volume, 2 tone, 5 way switch controls. Standard non-locking tuners. Comes with a basic Fender gig bag.
Sound — 8
I pre-wired another pickguard with Tex Mex pickups and good quality pots & capacitors so I could easily swap the electronics out to compare. The stock pickups are thinner sounding, but not bad at all. You can improve the sound with better pickups, but the ones that come stock are fine. Having taken off the pickguard, I got a chance to see the build quality of the electronics. Absolutely superb. Everything is soldered together nicely and cleanly. The Affinity definitely has very clean electronics inside. Great build quality in that regard. Therefore it's not very noisey either. A little hum on the single coil positions, but that's a characteristic trait of all standard Strats.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The guitar was set up perfectly. The action is low, but not too low as to deaden the string resonance. The intonation is spot on. It needed no adjustment (unless you want to put on heavy strings or something). The frets are perfectly levelled and smooth at the edges. I was really impressed with the build quality and set up of this guitar for the price it is. There are no flaws that I have come across. This may not be true of all Affinity Strats. Maybe I got lucky with a really well made one. The only thing I changed, set up wise, was the tremolo. It was set up in "dive mode," meaning you can only go down in pitch with the whammy bar. I made it a floating tremolo, so I can go up and down, and it works perfectly. No tuning problems whatsoever.
Reliability & Durability — 10
If you string the tuners properly (make a lock with the strings then wrap them around the posts at least 2 or 3 times (4 on the thinner strings), and set up the tremolo properly, then you won't get many tuning problems. So it can definitely withstand live playing. As I said before, the electronics are also very well put together. So you don't have to worry about losing connections or having loose/noisey switches or jacks, The wood is solid and it's built well. It will outlast me. I can see myself having this guitar for the rest of my life.
Overall Impression — 9
I don't think you are going to find a better guitar for the price. This is the best low budget guitar I've come across. After replacing the pickups it's now my main guitar. I would highly recommend it, whether you want to mod it or leave it stock. The only reason I replaced the pickups was because I had a decent set of pickups already and I didn't want to let them go to waste. The stock pickups are fine. You can buy this guitar stock and leave it as is and it will be a great guitar. Well made, perfectly set up, ready to go. You can't beat it at the price.