The Squier Stratocaster is the cheaper equivalent to the real Fender Stratocaster. However, as it is endorsed by Fender (as written of the head), it remains a quality guitar. You can get one very cheap (mine was made in China, bought it for 150$). Of course, you get what you pay for. It is a good guitar: the action is soft and low, there's a whammy bar included, it has 5 pickup positions and 3 buttons, all that jazz. The sound is great: warm, clear... It's not a heavy metal guitar by any means: it's more of a blues, rock or even jazz guitar.
However, it lacks performance in a few areas. Heavy whammy bar usage quickly detunes the guitar. There is some minor fret buzz when the strings are too low, and even then, they're not even that low. But for a guitar that is so cheap, and for the pleasure of owning a Strat, it is really a fun and great guitar.