My issue with ceramic knives is with how hard they are. Sure they can keep and edge and can even be sharpened, but they are also VERY brittle and seem to be very specialized because of this. Japanese knives and their harder steels can also be very hard and brittle, but personally my thought is that thin steel trumps thin ceramics as far as strength is concerned (even harder steels can be somewhat flexible) and I can't help but think the steel would be easier to sharpen.
Also while money is not the biggest indicator of quality, a better knife will be more expensive as I have found out on these forums (and also with personal purchases as well). So while you don't necessarily have to spend over $200 to get a good knife some of the most popular and better performers are probably going to run in the $150-$200-ish range. The reason for the price in these cases is usually because of the time and skill invested in making the knives. The more expensive ones will have distal tapers down the blades and thinner grinds plus better overall finishes which all lead to better cutting performance (and of course better looking knives!). The prices don't seem to concern the types and quality of steels as much though from what I have found. For example, you can find knives made of Hitachi White #1 steel at just about any price point you want, under $100 to a few hundred dollars. The same could be said about many other steels as well, both stainless and carbon.
Do you know if he likes carbon steels or if he prefers stainless?
I'm also guessing that he probably does not like to sharpen if he wants a knife that stays sharp and only cooks for two. Either that or his knives don't have very good steel or he doesn't maintain the edges between sharpenings. Just a guess here, I could be wrong. lol I cook for myself and my wife almost every night as well, and I rarely had to sharpen even my cheap knives. The harder Japanese steels should stay sharp a LOT longer for him. If he cooks three meals a day then that might be different, but still as a home cook the edges shouldn't have to be sharpened a whole lot.
With the first one I will play it safe and go with a stainless under $100 knife
Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/riar21.html
It is a knife designed by Mark Richmond, the owner of CKtG, and made by Lamson and Goodnow. It is a steel designed for razors so it can get very sharp, it is factory produced so the price is very reasonable, and it is pretty hard (about 61 Rockwell) so it should be able to keep an edge.
The second one is a carbon steel core with stainless clad sides, but it is handmade and more expensive ($160 right now) but by all accounts is an excellent performer and overall great value:
Goko 210mm Gyuto: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/gokogyuto210mm.html
This one is white #1 steel which is VERY easy to sharpen (literally very little effort needed to get a screaming sharp edge) and is hard enough it should stay pretty sharp. He will need to make sure to keep the knife dry when putting it up though to keep the edge from rusting. The sides are stainless so it will keep reactive surfaces to a minimum. This is the same knife I want for Christmas.
I would also have recommended the Kohetsu 210mm Gyuto which is the same price as the Goko, but it is out of stock. Same things apply to it that apply to the Goko though. Stainless clad carbon core, but arguably better steel in its own right (Blue Super), and also a very good performer.
A little note about the sizes. I recommended 210mm because it is about the same length as an 8" chef's knife. If your son likes 10" chef's knives you will want to look at the 240mm versions. As for the handles, someone else would be able to better clarify if these are suitable for medium sized hands. I use a pinch grip so I rarely pay much attention to handle sizes if at all. If your son uses a racket/hammer grip the handle would be much more important.