The other option is to buy a separate lower and upper assembly, and build it yourself. This way you can have some fun and get to know all the components.
I've never been a AR fan, but figured I'll get one, just because. I prefer pistol caliber carbines. So I bought a Anderson lower and a PSA upper kit, and after a few hours, I had a operational AR.
$1000 or less would buy a Colt CR-6920.
The M&P, Ruger and Springfield have nitride barrels, batch tested verses the Colt's chrome lined, magnetic particle, high pressure tested barrel/bolt.
The Colt also has a full auto bolt carrier, H buffer, plus a lot of other mil-spec parts, excellent build quality and better resale value.