I'm a purely amateur player of about 45 years. I have a small collection of budget fretted instruments: Squire Strat, Ibanez nylon string, no-name eastern european Mandola, decent, but cheaper range David Freshwater bouzouki, cheap Portuguese Guitarra, and, my main workhorse, 40 year old Eko ranger 6 steel string.
I've been looking for a second steel string, preferably with pick up, as I mainly use the Eko in DADGAD, and am too lazy to keep retuning when I want to go back to standard. Sadly, my skill level (and finances) don't really justify the purchase of a Martin D28 (Father Christmas, I've been a good boy). So in reading this review, bear in mind I'm not making any comparisons with high quality instruments, as I've never played any.
OK, so out of the box. All looks good and clean. No marks, dints or scratches. No issue with sharp edges on frets, as some other reviewers have reported, although some of the higher frets more apparent than lower ones, but nothing that affects playability. Guitar body is quite light compared to my Eko.
I'm used to a wide neck and very low action. The action is slightly higher than my Eko, but nothing that causes me problems. I know other reviewers have said the action is too high out of the box, but I didn't find that. There is the occasional hint on fret buzz, especially playing finger style, but that may be down to my poor technique - I do tend to pull the strings up John Martyn style. Again, nothing too much of a problem.
The intonation is excellent pretty much all the way down the fretboard, being quite true as checked by a chromatic tuner. The tuners seem good and it stays in tune quite well.
The neck is slightly narrower than I'm used to, but nothing that I haven't been able to adjust to quite quickly.
The tone is nice and bright using included strings. I've not changed these yet, but they're still ok after four weeks.
The pick up system works well through the clean channels on my Blackstar ID core 10, but I've nothing to compare this to, so others may be more critical.
OK, so I bought this as a second guitar, but I find the playability and tone is so good, its become my first choice - my Eko needs a good clean up and a bit of a rest, so this works well.
In summary, I think this is an excellent guitar for the price. It would be great for a beginner or as a back up. As I said, I can't make any comparisons with high end guitars, so others may be more critical than me. But having said this, I'm delighted with my purchase, and would recommend to anyone looking for a guitar at this sort of price level.