I was one of the first to buy this guitar from Sweetwater. At first, it didn't even appear in their inventory system, but my sales agent looked again, and behold, there it was. I wanted the candy apple red and since only the candy apple red was in stock, the choice was academic.
Having read some of the other reviews on other sites, I saw that a few purchasers were not as pleased as I am. Many reported broken toggle switches, finish pits, poor neck pocket sets, noisy pickups, etc.. However, in my case, either due to good fortune or the eagle eyes of Sweetwater putting it through their 55 point guitar inspection regimen, mine arrived perfect. No finish flaws, no noisy pickups, correct neck set; in fact, the finish is glossy perfection, a deep metallic red (candy apple). The pickups are Duncan designed and have a nice vintage sound, each pickup actually slightly different from each other in model (and sound). The sound is unlike a typical Strat or Tele, but more like, well, a Jazzmaster. Set your amp right and it can rock out! It will definitely get gnarly if you want it, or creamy nice if desired. Another feature I noticed was that the tremolo seemed to stay in tune fairly well if used judiciously - it might not if you are a tremolo twister or play like the Ramones - but it seems to stay in tune compared to a lot of guitars that I have.
Look at the tremolo arm and it will go much deeper into the hole than you might imagine - mine goes all the way down almost to the bend in it. If it needs some coaxing, put a little oil on it to assist it. The rhythm circuit works as expected - flip it up, and it has a deeper, less intense sound, but not overly bassy or unclear unless you roll off the highs with the tone control. This could be a cool feature when you want to solo by hitting down on the switch to put it into "lead mode". Some finer details included a vintage darkened maple tint, a logo-less tremolo plate, 25.5" scale (unlike some of the reported specs on the instrument.)
If you can't afford the Fender version, then this will do the job. Buy it from Sweetwater and they won't let any dogs pass through to you; the manufacturers know better than to send them to Sweetwater with their inspection plan. IF anything should go wrong, just call your sales agent and discuss it with him/her. All in all, this, for me, is a great instrument, especially for the money!