I just got a brand-spanking-new Dell Inspiron 8100 and love it. My system cost about USD 2k, but I didn't go overboard when customizing it (so as to keep the price low). I only use my 8100 at college and in between college and home. My 10GB hard drive is plenty for my purposes as I am always transferring data from the 8100 to my desktop at home. That way I keep my laptop clean and moving quickly.
By the way, opt for the Ultra XGA screen. I paid the extra money for it, and you wouldn't believe the incredible resolution!! It is the best screen technology currently on the market. You will not believe how clear the image is. Truly worth the extra money…
The standard Harman Kardon speakers (only on the 8100) are awesome too.
I also like having the touch pad AND finger stick mouse. Sometimes I get fed up with the touch pad so I'll use the stick instead. It is nice to have both, unless you are completely partial to one.
Look for promotions when buying your Dell. When I ordered mine in August, they were offering $100 cash back with the purchase of an 8100. Although I've yet to receive that rebate, I'm glad I get cash back as opposed to a free CD RW drive or the like. I also got a free printer with my computer. It's not the world's best printer, but it works fine. And it was a free bonus
It's a Lexmark z32.
Anyway, they are always running promos and you may be interested in checking what their current promotion is, if you are interested.
I would stay away from anything NOT Dell. In my opinion, Dell is superior in all aspects.
In contrast, some friends of mine purchased Gateway laptops, and they are nowhere as satisfied with their purchases as I am with mine.
…so we'll see, if I get my $100 rebate, I'll be one very satisfied customer. And if I don't get my rebate, well, that will be a different story...
I love America. I guess that makes me Bush's poodle, but I'd rather be a dog in New York City than a prince in Riyadh.