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See this graph on the reliability of laptops per manufacturer: http://lifehacker.com/5524704/laptop reliability-study-highlights-the-most-sturdy-laptop-makers

I am particular to Sony VAIOs, but Toshiba has always been a close contender.

If I were to buy a new laptop right now for general use, I would seriously consider a Sony S series which starts at $874. It is 13.1 inches and weighs 4.4 lbs.