Price paid: A$ 599
Purchased from: High St Music, Penrith
Sound — 7
I like rock n roll (The Beatles, Cold Chisel, Deep Purple etc), and blues. I have the standard 10w Fender front man and a genuine Vox Wah Wah pedal. The standard strings (fender 9/42 steel) were ok but sounded a bit dead. It's got Ernie Ball Slinkies now n they're beautiful. The sound is not as mellow as a proper Fender Strat (my instructor has a Japanese Stratocaster with Ernie Ball 10/49s) but sounds clean. It can be noisy on the bridge pickup, the neck pup sounds like rocknroll from the 50s (clean but a bit fuzzy). Just today I bought a Squier Bullet HSS which frankly sounds a LOT better out of the box. Even better with the standard strings than the Affinity with the Ernie Balls...
Overall Impression — 7
I like it. Its decent for the blues, and good rock n roll. I've been playing for about 2 years. Mostly mucking about but getting some instruction now. I have a Cort acoustic, a cheap SX acoustic orchestra (sounds REAL nice) and a Squier Bullet HSS. I'd buy a Hot Rail Squier if it was stolen. I love the look and the feel, the neck is nice n fast and it sounds decent. I don't hate anything about it. The tone controls could do a little more. It holds tune REALLY well. I chose this because I was NEVER gonna buy a Gibson copy - always gonna buy a Strat and a Squier is the closest thing you can get to the real deal when you haven't got piles of cash. Buy the Bullet HSS tho if you want to shred some it MOTORS.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I've no idea if it will withstand live playing - everyone talks about how solid and tough they are then says 'oh it wouldn't take live playing' wtf? I've mucked about with fenders in the store and frankly it seems as solid as any of them so I'd say its more about being embarrassed to have a Squier...
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
It didn't need anything doing to it out of the box. I've since been playing around with the pup height. It was ok from the box. The action is a little higher than my Squier Bullet HSS I just bought today, but still ok. Everything seems to fit properly and works. I haven't opened it up so...
Features — 10
2010 in Indonesia, 21 frets, thin neck. This is a standard Affinity Strat. Same as all the others. The finish is excellent. Its 2 years old and while I'm careful I only last week bought locking strap nuts. It was part of the get started pack, Fender amp, bag and tuner. I think it represented excellent value for money.