mozambique wrote:Would appreciate your recommendation on a laptop to purchase...
It depends on many things. First, if you don't absolutely need the portability of a laptop, don't get one just because. A desktop will give you more bang for buck, likely last many years longer, and probably won't ever be accidentally damaged.
Second, only get the hardware you need. Play any 3d games? Dedicated graphics are necessary. If you don't, they're a big waste of money and battery life. If you're just a web surfing-emailing-media consuming kind of user, get an i3/a4 CPU. Gamer or like a bit of oomph? i5/A8. Only if you encode video or run VM's or some other CPU intensive task do you want an i7 with all it's power and drawbacks. They're nice but use a lot of battery, cost more, and generate more heat.
I recommend ASUS for all price points for their reliability (best in the biz), but they have bad customer service so they're not for people who call in constantly because they don't know how to do something or need help with it and are unable to google for it and do it themselves.
Dells are sturdy, especially over $700-$800 or so. They probably have the best customer service reputation as well.
Most brands are acceptable with a few exceptions. Never buy an HP/Compaq or Acer/Gateway. Fujitsu and Sony are more expensive to buy and repair with no benefit. Apple only has middling reliability despite what they'd have you believe (they just work, magically.)
Hope this helps!