Wrag at the local HEMA club I've seen some guys doing mat cuts with those entry level Cold Steel hand+half/longswords, for the money they were really impressive, edge resistance to damage especially. They come reasonably sharp, but any home sharpening kit/stone can really put an edge on those. Guy bought one from the forums on Sword Buyers guide for $150.
I've not seen any of the CS Katana or Japanese swords in a while, but they were really good for the $ too.
Ronin Katana now have the best bang/$ out there. I can't remember the company that builds the best 1500 to 2500$ custom hand made/folded Katanas, it's in another PCs bookmarks, but they were great too. Ronin for $250 makes the best mid ranged swords, and for 7 to 800 makes fantastic battle ready 3 steel blended laminate blades. 1095/1060/1045, with the steel used on the edge being very, very hard and resistant to damage, yet soft enough to take a wicked edge. They deferentially harden, properly quench, and do a decent Japanese finger polish for the cost. (Obviously not a "true" polish, as that costs anywhere from 100 to 1000 dollars per inch. Per side - but a good factory one). The fittings and components are all really good for a sub 1000$ sword, and they cut great on test targets, the perfect sword that is "good enough", yet won't make you cry if you fuck it up with an improper stroke or surprise inside your target sort of deal.