That's a fairly broad question. It really depends on what's most important to you.
The 3 main features people look at are:
- Life of the battery (will it last 1 hour or 6 hours before needing a charge).
- Portability (is it really big, or really small)
- Performance (can it do fast calculations, and can it run games & 3D stuff).
I don't keep up with the laptop market, so someone else will have to suggest a brand.
I have had a dell for a year or so now and never had any trouble with it. I would like to ask though why not dell? I am on the same side as well as i would not recommend dell to anyone either just for the reason that their unique parts are not available readily or cheap and most are dell branded. Pain in the back end for people like us who would rather shop around and find a good deal. What is your reason for that? I have never had to deal with dell customer service yet and I hope I ll never have to either.
I would go for Acer as they have a good build quality, reliable and not that very expensive either.