Mako mentions Lenovo every other time laptops are discussed in chat
For good reason. They are fluxing bulletproof. Ive got one here thats got a 300mhz celeron, 128mb of ram, 4gb hdd, that still runs great. Its gotta be 10 years old or more. And they are very good value for money.
Also, Asus FTW. I adore my asus G73. Its a bit big, but thats to be expected from a 17.3" lappy. Its built incredibly well, is great looking, was far more powerful than anything else in its price class (1.66ghz i7, dual 320gb 7200 rpm hdds, 6gb ddr3, GTX 460 M for $1300 brand new about a year ago). And my eee 701 still functions despite the terrble things Ive done to it, and gets 10 hours on the original battery. (it was bought on launch day too).
Sony makes good stuff, but its generally more expensiver than the quality increase dictates vs other things available. I personally have had awful experiences with dell, and dont recommend them. Acer is flux. Ive never used MSI, but I really like the look of the timeline series. And mac is essentially garbage for what you pay. You could buy an equivalent laptop for less than 1/3 the price almost always, and you can get something far far far better for the same price. And if you are, for some horrible reason, attached to os-x, its quite easy to run on a pc.
Current trends place us at *incoherent male orgasm screaming* by late 2013