Laptop advise

HP gave me a laptop to use during the project I am doing for them. It is a Compaq evil N610c. It is under powered, has a tiny screen, and gets so hot I am worried it will blister the finish on my desk. I can only assume their newer products are better.
The only decent laptops out there (IMO) are IBM Thinkpads. If you can find a good deal on those, then forget about all the others. I have deployed HP/Compaqs and Sonys, and it's disappointing to see how low quality these machines can be. HP/Compaq online support is pretty good, I just wish they knew what they were doing, but at least they will try.

I haven't had to deal with Sony support yet, but Sony is an evil company (again, IMO), and they do stupid things like disabling useful features in the bios (e.g., they disabled hardware virtualization in their latest core 2 duo cpus, and you can't turn it back on).
Gemini said:
I have never been disappointed in the Dell products....I can't say that about the Sony brand. It seems Sony has been riding on its name and not the quality of their products.
If they are both equal in price and features, I would go with the Dell
This echoes my own sentiments. I have had probably almost 10 laptops in the last 10 years, varying from Toshiba, to Compaq, to IBM, to Dell. All experiences I have had with Sony were not positive so I stay away from most of their products at this point (my exception these days is the DVD changer).

Of all the brands I have used, at this point I would say IBM and Dell have been the best.

I'm using a Dell Latitude 820 at the moment (it was a hard decision, but there was more of a relationship with Dell at the company I am at so prices were better. Setting all else aside I might be inclined to favor IBM over Dell though. Very solid machines). One thing to keep in mind when purchasing: The power supplied. I have three at the moment (for two offices and one for home) and the newer ones are not cheap (I forget but over $70 if I recall correctly for the 90 watt ones). This may not be an issue for you but something to keep in mind when purchasing.
Perhaps to mix it up further, Dell has lost ground on their customer satisfaction ratings of late and HP has taken it from them.

We bought a batch of four HP laptops six months ago, then another batch of six Dell laptops two months ago. I don't see a big difference between the two brands if not for support. HP's has been excellent; we just got a brand-new replacement in exchange for a three-year-old laptop that went bad. Still, we shop them both when it's time for a batch. Each of those two batches we got good laptops with 15" WXGA screens and typical mid-level processors and such for about $550 each. We always get the three-year support, which adds from $200-350 depending when we purchased- and they both seem to be nearly identical in that department at any given time.

The adware they both load is ridiculous, but can be removed with effort.
I know this is a little late, but lately I've been buying the Acer 4200 series at work. They seem to be pretty well-built, price point is good (this is a med-to-higher-end model), features are excellent. I haven't had them long enough to really know if they are going to last, but so far no issues and no need for support. We've got 16 of them now. One is mine, so I'll be using it and checking it out more over the next few months.

I also support a lot of older Dell laptops and for the most part they are in good shape, just getting old and dying here and there. Other than the few odd models that had somewhat serious issues (like the overheating and CPU heatsink thermal grease issues), they are pretty solid. And Dell has a pretty good support system where you can find all kinds of historical and support info for the life of the machine.

The one thing I hate about Dell is that the getting updated drivers for the older machines isn't as easy as it should be. For example, if you don't know what is in a particular model, even with the service tag, Dell's support site gives you a list of many drivers and you have to guess which is in your machine. It's ok if you have the network driver and can run their web-based utility to see what's in the machine, or the initial system config. But in some cases with the older laptops they don't mention the networking details... so now I've made my own library of Dell drivers for the machines I support. of course, many of these machines were out before XP was, so upgrading to XP is why I run into these problems.
It a appears that Lenovo is the new IBM.

So I want to thow this into the mix as its similar in price.

15.4"-diagonal WXGA (1280 x 800) TFT LCD screen
Intel Celeron M processor 420 operating at 1.6GHz
1MB L2 cache
533MHz frontside bus
512MB of PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM, upgradable to 2.0GB
60GB Serial ATA (SATA) hard drive
DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo, to play DVDs and burn and play CDs
Integrated 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi wireless LAN
10/100Base-T Ethernet port
56K V.92 modem
4 USB 2.0 ports
1 FireWire (IEEE 1394) port
1 S-video port
4-in-1 memory card reader (reads Secure Digital, MultiMediaCard, Memory Stick and xD-Picture Card)
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 with shared memory
Intel High Definition Audio with built-in stereo speakers
6-cell lithium-ion battery, for an average battery life of up to 3 hours
Dimensions: 1 1/2"H x 14 1/5"W x 10 1/2"D
Weight: 6.17 lbs