For this review, I'm not going to rant about the experience of buying the instrument (I got it for a discount at Guitar Center, and I'm never buying a guitar there again.) This is just about the instrument.
I had played an earlier version of this guitar years ago. It was the black version without the pickguard. I liked the sound, and for the most part the feel as well, but it still looked cheap and the action somewhat reflected that.
Cut back to the present, I have owned Strat-style guitars pretty much exclusively and I really wanted a different design, so I came back to this one. To my delight, Epiphone has revamped this instrument. They made the cherry finish a more stained-into-the-wood sort of color (as opposed to the flat red I had seen earlier), which makes it a surprisingly beautiful guitar. They had also added a pickguard, a more Gibson-esque "SG" truss rod cover, and best of all, an integrated killswitch into the tone pot that is super fun to experiment with. The strings are still slightly high, but nothing very tough to work out. The stock pickups sound great, clean and even with just the right amount of bite and grit. The controls are simple enough, and the tuners do their job just fine. The instrument overall is also now the lightest in my guitar collection.
What is really mind-boggling about this guitar is the value for the price. This instrument has just about everything in a true SG - good pickups, nice neck profile, and a beautiful finish - but at a tiny fraction of the price of a modern Gibson SG Special. I would seriously take this guitar over any modern Gibson SG any day.