People often ask me “My guitar is hard to play, what should I do?” This is the most common guitar problem: the string action is too high.
What you consider “easy to play” depends on your playing style. Normally the string action is measured from the top of the 12th fret to the bottom of the string. Usually the factory set up the acoustic guitar with an action of 2.5-3mm. Anything within this range is normal. Sometimes the guitar isn’t stored well, making the string action rise, which makes it difficult to play. (If you play guitar you know what high action feels like.) If the action is too high it will make the guitar difficult to play, but if it’s too low it will cause buzzing. If you play fingerstyle you may like lower action (<2.5mm), if you love strumming the guitar, you may prefer higher action (>2.5). For classical guitar 3.5-5.5mm is very common. So whether the guitar is easy to play all depends on your playing style.
Even if you buy a new guitar, it doesn’t mean it will be easy to play, because when the guitar is shipped and stays in the shop, the humidity varies, causing the string action to change a little bit. (usually the neck and top warp) So after you buy a new guitar you should take it to a professional to set up. Usually, setting up the neck, nut and saddle takes a few hours, then the technician has to put on the strings and monitor it for few days as it settles.
The frets of a cheap guitar may not balance, so the factory may set the string action higher to cover up the problem. This is why I don’t recommend people to buy a very cheap guitar. (The guitar frets can be fixed or replaced, but it costs a lot.)
In conclusion, whatever guitar it is, if you want it to be easy to play, you should send it to a professional to set up. You need to make your own decision about what brand of guitars are good; the Lakewood guitars used by me and Sungha Jung are high quality and very stable, but they start at a fairly high price point.
Incidentally, I don’t suggest you do any cosmetic repairs to your guitar. First, it is very difficult to get it perfect, second it doesn’t change the sound.