Depends what type of music you play/want to play. I agree with NO HEROES though, stay away from Fenders. They suck.
If you want something with a deep, resonant sound, go for a Les Paul. Epiphone do ones that arn't that expensive; I had one once and, although I didn't like the fretboard, it had a nice tone.
Ibanez do some pretty decent guitars in that price range; warning though, the standard Ibanez pickups suck big time. If you want an Ibanez, get one with Dimarzio pickups. Ibanez guitars generally have nice fingerboars too.
I'm not sure about B.C Rich; they seem a bit gimmicky to me, designed for slipknot fans. But it's your choice.
ESP do AWESOME guitars. Seriously. They are so good. But they are quite expensive. I've got one (can't remember which model, it's at my friend's house lol) and it's got EMG active pickups. It owns my jackson in sound quality.
Jackson are decent. Their medium price range guitars are ok, and have really nice fingerboards BUT the pickups sound a bit...not bad, but just lacking. I use my Jackson for practice e.t.c.
But despite all this: find out for yourself. You'll find the right guitar if you go round enough shops testing each out (although, keep in mind the different amps that shops use - don't immediately judge a guitar as bad if you're running it through a Fender Frontman amp lol). If you really want a Fender, get one. If you decide that you'd like some obscure branded-guitar, go for it; just keep in mind that the guitar you're buying is something that you'll have to put up with, so you shouldn't really choose one that you feel might annoy you after a while. A bit like women really, except that women, regardless of how you feel prior to your relationship with them, are guaranteed to annoy you.