Versatile, clean and mean.
For my style of music, I could've chose a myriad of different axes in this price range with an HSS set-up but they wouldn't have been a Fender. Ever since playing my friend's Mexican strat years ago, I've always wanted my own because the feel and playability were amazing, but with a humbucker in the bridge so I could get more of a warm crunchy sound. I was skeptical to buy one of the standard strats for many years because most of the Fender's available have a standard tremolo, and if you're like me and you value divebombs and squeal harmonics, you want something that will sound great and keep it in tune. That and it being a Fender, even though it won't be super hot, but you are going to get every bit of tone that makes a great Fender guitar and more.
The pickups sparkle very nicely on a clean channel especially with some flange and delay, and gives an excellent bluesy hard rock sound when overdriven. Even though the pickups aren't really face melting, the feel, the price, the classic tone and the tremolo were exactly what I was looking for and that to me was worth the price I paid for the instrument. As an added bonus that drew me even more to the guitar, the bridge pickup has a coil-split; which means you can also enjoy sparkling standard strat goodness in a 3 single config as well as a HSS when not activated.
As far as a modern metal tone is concerned, it sounds killer with my Dunlop EQ and my EHX OD Glove in my signal chain going into my Marshall; which is what I use all the time. Even though I plan on switching out the pickups in the future, I'm happy with it and the crunch that they provide sounds decent even without FX (Judas Priest anyone?). The only flaws that I notice with this guitar is the fact that it's a little bit on the heavy side weight wise; which surprised me seeing as it has an alder body. Also, even though the Floyd Rose Special is a very good tremolo, it isn't perfect. I do find myself slightly going out of tune on my high e string after dive bombing and putting it through it's paces after a while but it's really that bad, maybe a few cents flat. So far it doesn't go flatter than that. Overall, I am very happy with the purchase I made. Sweetwater also did very well with customer service and shipping it out to me. I can see getting a lot of years out of this instrument.