Battle of the cheap Squiers: Bullet Stratocaster HT vs. Affinity Telecaster
These guitars are both cheap, but are 50 dollars apart. One is under $200 and the other over. Is one better than the other?
Short answer: Yes.
I'm writing this after having played a Squier Affinity Telecaster and Squier Bullet Stratocaster HT (which by the way has a Shell Pink HSS version available.) The HT means "hardtail", which means the strings are top-loaded. No vibrato system, which Fender calls tremolo, meaning no vibrato arm, which everybody calls a whammy bar.
I have owned Bullet Strats and an Affinity Telecaster before. The only thing that's really changed is that the Bullet Stratocaster series is now slightly better with the tuners being changed to screw-down with the securing nut on top. They used to use tuners that were mostly plastic and secured to the headstock with a ferrule. I believe the tuners are all metal now on the Bullet Strat, at least for the HT model.
As for the Affinity Telecaster, there has barely been anything that has changed about it for 10 years or possibly longer - with the exception of two things. New models with serials starting with CS (as opposed to CY) rear-load strings, and the neck pickup finally gets pickguard mounted adjustment screws (as opposed to having to take off the guard to adjust the neck pickup height).
Now as far as which is the better guitar...
...the Affinity Telecaster absolutely obliterates the Bullet Stratocaster in every way. I'm not kidding. Night and day difference. It is absolutely worth spending the extra 50 bucks to get the Affinity Tele over the Bullet Strat.
Does this mean if you want a better Strat, get the Affinity Stratocaster? No. Everybody, including me, hates the headstock logo treatment on the Affinity Strat. It just looks plain goofy, always has, and still does. The Bullet Strat, while inferior, genuinely looks like a better Strat.
However, to get up to par with the Affinity Telecaster in Stratocaster form, you have to bump all the way up to a Classic Vibe Stratocaster just to get it. And that's almost double the price of the Affinity Telecaster.
In sub-$250 Squier territory, Affinity Telecaster is far and away the one to get. Whether it's the outgoing CY serial or the newer CS serial, either is the best thing going for a Squier under $250 at the moment.