There are ways to pull off a sub-thousand dollar printer and get good quality. If you're willing to put the time into it. Its going to require lots of elbow grease, tuning and constant modification. So, its possible, just not in the realm of normal users yet. Maybe next year.
Part of the problem is, there's so many FFF printers out there it gets hard to keep track. Make had a magazine issue out which did a really good round-up of what's cool/popular out there. They also covered non-filament models like the Form1 and the B9 Creator. If you can find it, I highly recommend the issue.
The MarkBot Rep2 does do pretty decent quality. Its definitely not the cheapest printer out there. I think it advertises 100 micron layers; I've done 60 on my home machine and its a cheaper machine. Then again the Makerbot is a bit easier to operate.
Stringing from pictures isn't the best indicator. It could be that the machine doesn't handle retraction well, or it could be that the operator didn't slice the model correctly. And some slicers are better at it than others, depending on what machine/firmware you have. The material you are using and the temperature you are printing at has an impact as well.