In some ways they remind me of the quality I've seen in Fender Custom Shop Strats.
I liked everything about them except:
1. I found it hard to bend strings on the two rosewood fingerboard models. Don't know why, because I like rosewood normally.
2. I didn't love the pickups. Not an alnico 3 fan. Not enough "snap". Great for Eric's clean tones. Not so great for my own bluesy/jazzy style.
I was able to get some of Eric's chimey clean tones and even his violin ton tho.
For the violin tone you use a great overdrive (Klon, 808, Simble, etc.), use the bridge pickup and turn the tone knob down.
If you can find that sweet spot where the amp, overdrive, pickup and tone knob are all in tune you can find that violin tone.
But I don't really play that way and wanted more of a traditional early 60's Strat tone. So I made one from parts I bought from Mark Jenny and put Duncan Antiquitys and a Fralin SP-43 bridge pickup in it.
I don't know why but my 06 EJ has been my main strat for a decade. I don't question it, I just play it. Super happy with it. I did swap out the pickups for the Dimarzio Areas as I needed less hum, but was able to sell the pickguard assembly for $250 so in my opinion it was worth the swap.
It's your choice which strat you play, but for me the EJ just feels right. It is a nice blend of vintage and modern, sounds great, has a nice balance in terms of weight, great build quality taht rivals many of the Fender CS guitars. It breaks-in and ages nicely, has great sustain and personally I love the stock pickups. However, for my current gig where I need to be dead quiet, I have a set of Kinman Woodstocks in mine, but I am not getting rid of the originals. It has been my main guitar sinc 2005.
I got mine because I wanted a 50s style strat with taller frets. Imo, the EJ model is a good all around strat. "Better" is largely a matter of personal preference. Try one and see what you think. Bear in mind that they don't all sound exactly alike, so one might impress you more than some others. I don't like the 7.25" radius or small vintage frets that are standard on reissue strats, so the EJ model is a good compromise of modern and vintage features. On the whole I dig it because it sounds good and with the right pick attack I can conjure up a bunch of different strat tones. Additionally, if you only have room for one strat in your stable the EJ punches well above its weight class in terms of price, quality, and tone.
-The back looks really clean without the dumb spring cover holes. You wouldnt think this makes a big diff but IMO it really cleans up the back.
-No string tree.
-Tone wired to bridge
-Excellent fit, finish and frets. IMO the top of the line 'Fender' is better than the bottom of the line CS.