In the recent years, i've been around many many laptops and recently i've come to some conclusions about the way manufacturers design them. While talking with kenR on irc, he encouraged me to post them, so here they are.
Notice that all these conclusions were taken from use of those laptops and from opinions from its owners, nothing is factual or based in numbers.
These comments refer to laptops of the following brands: toshiba, acer, asus, lg, compaq and hp. From various models, bought since 2003 in portugal.
The problem is: non of them is perfect.
I've found 2 classes of laptops:
The affordable and the expensive. Mostly, lg and toshiba go in the expensive class and the other ones on the affordable.
The affordable ones, are the ones that claim excelent price-specs relation, while the expensive ones are those that one thinks "why would i buy this? they are over-pricing it!".
Well... I've come to the conclusion that the biggest difference between these 2 classes are mostly in terms of the cooling system.
The acers, hps and compaqs i know, all have the same problem: overheat. After some time, you can't just use them on your lap, it'll burn you. This derives from processors which are too powerful for the cooling system. They work just as well as the others, but the heat is anoying.
As for the asus, it shows a different problem: when you turn it on, the fan starts and simply doesn't stop! That's the way asus solved the overheat problem.
Now, the interesting part, is that by using speedfan you can tune the fan to turn on at a higher temperature, but then it has the same problem that acers have: overheat. (the same thing happens the other way with acers).
Now... The expensive ones. Both LG and Toshiba's computers have one of 2 problems: either they are less powerful than the "cheap" counterparts, or they are more expensive then those. On the other hand, they are almost assured against the problems the other computers have. Since if they are less powerful, they don't need such a good cooling system, or if they are as powerful, they become more expensive due to the better cooling system.
That means that buying a laptop is all a matter of balance. Mine were always in the cheap and overheating computers. Simply because i like to have top of the line without spending an enourmous amount of money. Also, the noise of the fans drives me crazy.
Still, i think that my next one will be an LG. From what i know, those are the best build laptops (notice that i've never used a dell). Top of the line, with all the important worries (in terms of weight, size and such), and even if they are a bit less powerful than the rest, those definitelly deserve the extra money.