Price paid: € 99
Purchased from: Musik Produktiv Germany
Sound — 9
For the price it sounds good, thin but good. It could use a pickup upgrade with more expensive types, but for this price it sounds very well. I have never understood the upgrading pickup hype, I have never ever had a person in the crowd at a concert come up to me and telling me; OOOHHH that Seymour Duncan sounded sooo good hahaha (its all in the fingers people). I'm playing through a Line 6 POD HD300 into a Bugera V55 head (through effects return, so the Bugera's pre amp is shut down). I can make the Squier sound very rich and also very fat sounding. No issues with humming (with a POD HD its very simple to eliminate hum etc.) To my ears it sounds like a Stratocaster (purists may disagree).
Overall Impression — 9
I play mainly (classic) rock, so the Strat suits me very well for the sounds of it (the Line 6 Pod and the tubes in my amp are doing the most part of my sound. I've been playing for 20 years now, had a lot of guitars; cheapos and very expensive ones, but I've discovered in the years that if you put some TLC to your instrument, and set it up properly, it doesn't matter which guitar you handle(cheap or expensive ones) you can always make em sound good (and like I said: its all in the fingers, and your settings of your amp, effects, etc.) and tadaaaa: you will never sound as your favorite guitar player on CD, unless you have a studio with equipment worth 50.000 bucks in your backyard or when your name is Rick Rubin or something like that.
Reliability & Durability — 10
It will definitely withstand a live gig without backup. The white finish looks very Vintage correct, and can very well be used to age/relic your guitar. Only thing is that you have to set it up properly once in a while (like other guitars, but this one needs some more attention). They say its a beginner guitar, but as a beginner setting up a guitar isn't that easy to do correctly, so I would say that this is more a guitar for the somewhat experienced players to the fully experienced ones among us.
Action, Fit & Finish — 2
Factory setup was very very very poor... The neck had a nice curve in it when it arrived, the bow in the neck was way too curved upward (at first I thought "I didn't order a hockeystick on a Strat body or did I..." hahaha). Action was waaaayyy too high, and sounded very crappy without amp. Took me half a day to set up properly. Finish was good, but lots o dents in the headstock.
Features — 7
Nice clean China made Strat-model with 21 frets and 3 single-coils. Mine came in Olympic white (kinda creamy white). Wood isn't all that good, but I suppose that comes with the price. It's also a nice guitar to upgrade with other pickguards/tuners/etc, respray your neck with Vintage amber and so on...