When my Toshiba laptop crashed and burned last year I bought a Sony Vaio to replace it, and I LOVE it. I've only had one or 2 minor problems, and Sony fixed it right away, no complaints or runarounds about the warranty. They just dispatched a guy to my house 2 days later (turnaround time for them to overnight him the part he needed to fix it)-one was me popping a key off the keyboard, totally my fault, they fixed it anyway, the other was the battery stopped functioning and they replaced the battery with no issues.
The only thing I can say is do not buy an HP laptop. Most people I know that were using HP laptops have had some really major problems with them-usually along the lines of computer will not turn on, customer service will not help you or acknowledge fault, and all your stuff is completely lost (thankfully most of the ones I know with the dead laptop actively backup their importatn files) leaving you without a computer.