For your first AK, why not compare it to an economical, sturdy, reliable builder's rifles in cost, cosmetics and function.
Century Arms has been manufacturing AK-47s for decades on U.S. made receivers, barrels and various other American made parts. There are many that knock Century, but I've owned and shot many and never got a "problem" rifle.
Centerfire Systems, Inc. - Your Home For Ammo, Firearms, Magazines, and Gun Accessories
AIM Surplus Home
Different guns, many options. Find what you want!