Purchased from: Guitar Showcase
Sound — 7
Very versatile, I play mainly classic rock and blues, with some alternative stuff too. It fits these styles better than the regular Affinity Strat, although that's not saying much. The guitar I bought came with a Fender Frontman 15G, which is really quite bad, very noisy at times and NO REVERB. On a Behringer V-AMPIRE LX210, it still sounds rather weak and dull compared to nicer guitars. Compared to my friend's regular Affinity Strat, which has a single coil in the bridge, the humbucker is louder, hotter, and can be more distorted. However it still isn't great, just better than it's counterpart. I replaced it with a different friend's Seymour Duncan JB 59 and it sounds slightly better. Once again, all of this can be satisfactory for beginners.
Overall Impression — 7
This is the perfect beginner's guitar. It is not going to fit any genre of music perfectly, but it definitely keeps you interested when you are learning the basics of guitar. I'm glad I got the Fat Strat as opposed the the regular Strat, the humbucker is a big improvement. If it were stolen, I'd be sad that I lost my first electric guitar, but I would probably just save up for a nicer backup, like a Standard MIM Strat or Telecaster or something like that. I know four people Who have had some sort of a Squier Strat, and they all upgraded to a nicer guitar within 6-8 months. All in all, this is definitely what you should get if you are just starting out and not ready to spend a whole lot of money.
Reliability & Durability — 7
The guitar does actually seem pretty durable, I don't know if I would gig it though. It definitely works well as a backup. The hardware is kind of low quality, but I plan to replace almost everything (pickups, tuners, pickguard, nut, bridge) and this guitar definitely is good for customization.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The action was pretty bad when I got this, but I made some simple adjustments to make it all right. However, the low E string buzzes almost no matter what. The pickups were adjusted fine, there were no electronics problems whatsoever. Almost everything was a tiny bit messed up (loose knobs, poorly cut nut, bad action), but it was all easily resolved. If you just ask your local guitar shop to prep it, it should be fine.
Features — 8
I believe it was made in 2005 in Indonesia. 21 medium jumbo frets, c-shape maple neck, rosewood fretboard, solid alder body, looks like any other Strat at a glance. The trem bar is not very good, it detunes the guitar pretty quickly, as it is not locking. It has a humbucker in the bridge and two single coils in the neck and middle positions, with a 5-way pickup selector, one volume knob, and two tone knobs. The humbucker is better for blues and classic rock. This guitar is still not comparable to any Fender Strat. The guitar I bought came with a Fender Frontman 15G, which is really quite bad, but probably good for beginners. It also came with a gig bag, strap, cable, tools, everything to be expected from a starter pack.