Lenovo or Asus. Asus because they have the highest reliability, and Lenovo because they have the highest build quality coupled with good reliability. Since it doesn't look like you're gonna be doing many intensive things, I'd recommend the Lenovo X120e. Base price is $399, but to get the most out of it you'll need to get the AMD Zacate E-350 (that bumps up the price by $40) and the 6-cell battery (add $50 to the price). Now we're at $489. You'll probably need more RAM, so I suggest you buy some an NewEgg instead of upgrading it at Lenovo's website since you'll save $60 and upgrading the RAM is easy (you just need to remove the bottom access panel) and won't void your warranty. If you want a faster and more spacious HDD, I recommend you get a 320GB or 500GB 7200RPM HDD at Newegg, as well. If you don't care about storage capacity much, you can get either a Crucial RealSSD or Samsung 470 SSD for $110-140 on Newegg instead. Again, you can upgrade the HDD and RAM easily and it won't void your warranty.
With the 6-cell battery, the X120e gets 6 hours of battery runtime in web browsing and productivity. It can also do casual gaming and more intense things because the CPU is better than an Atom and the GPU is comparable to the NVIDIA Ion. Build quality is top-notch, and it looks very professional.
So, a quick rundown:
Lenovo X120e+AMD Zacate E-350 CPU+6-cell Battery
2GB Kingston DDR3 1333MHz RAM
Samsung Spinpoint MP4 500GB 7200RPM
I think the Samsung Spinpoint MP4 is a better choice than the Western Digital Scorpio Black and the Seagate Momentus 7200.4 because, for one, the speed the WD has is negated by the fact that it has the horrible "IntelliPark" feature. What this "feature" does is that it parks the head of the HDD after it being inactive for 8 seconds and disregards the time set by the OS. The HDD will take around one second to come out of this state, so it may feel laggy. Not only that, parking an HDD's head will reduce its lifetime. As for the Seagate, the Spinpoint MP4 has a higher sequential and random read/write speeds and lower access times and it costs the same, and Samsung also packs their HDDs better so you have a lower chance of a DOA drive. For the RAM, Kingston is one of, if not the, best RAM manufacturer in the world (though it can be debated that Crucial is just as good). The laptop supports the RAM, so no problems there.
HD Tune Benchmarks:
Samsung Spinpoint MP4 500GB:
Seagate Momentus 7200.4 500GB:
http://www.clubOverclock.net/reviews...HDTuneRead.JPGEdited by LOL_Wut_Axel - 3/20/11 at 1:27pm