If your budget is in the $450 area, LCT or Real Sword all the way. If you want a specific AK variant, buy from LCT, if you don't mind the Type 56/AKM look, go Real Sword.
LCT has extremely good build quality and detail, but Real Sword really takes the cake for authenticity and robustness. The Real Sword Type 56 looks, feels, and is made almost exactly like a Type 56 (there are various unconfirmed rumours ranging from Real Sword guns being made with spare Type 56 parts to Norinco being the direct OEM, probably not true but they demonstrate the quality of the rifle). LCT I would say to be on the upper end of the airsoft spectrum and do an excellent job replicating the real rifles, but comparing a LCT to a Real Sword is definitely like comparing a toy to real steel.
If you really wanted to cheap out, go for the steel CYMA CM 048 series or the Dboys steel rifles (I don't mention Echo 1 because they rebrand CYMA and JG AKs under their mark). It should be noted while CYMA and Dboys make AKs with steel receivers, Dboys has a seperate line that is completely steel and in my opinion gives LCT a run for its money if the buyer is willing to spend additional funds to upgrade the internals.
The general rule of thumb for CYMA and Dboys is that if you want good external quality but bad internal quality, go with a Dboys (gearbox swap almost guaranteed, hopup upgrade probably recommended); if you want good internals but don't mind less detailed externals, CYMA is the way to go. If you want good internals and externals, go LCT, if you want even more than that, go Real Sword. For more information, I'd suggest searching up threads on Red Alliance.
I don't suggest E&L though because from what I've heard in Hong Kong, they rust up and easily fail under adverse conditions.