You should probably wait for Sandy Bridge-based laptops to appear sometime this quarter.
Don't go for a current quad-core i7 because the battery life will be abysmal.
For gaming you need a discrete graphics card, preferably a Mobility 5650 (AMD) or GT 335M (Nvidia) or above, but not too good or battery life will again suffer. Fine balance there.
Now that's just being nice.
As a brand, I can recommend Acer. I have an Acer i7 laptop for almost 4 months now, and it has been very short of perfect (battery life sucks, he's not kidding).