I have been eyeballing the Squier Classic Vibe 50's strat as well, but I think the lacquered neck might bother me. Note, these are all guitars that I have played, but it's been a few years since I have last played them.
So again, preferably Fender. But, I am open to other brands as long as it looks like a normal strat. I don't want strat sounds in a guitar that looks nothing like a strat.