With care, notebooks can last a long time. My Acer ter603 was acquired refurb from Acer directly and is now over 4 years old. The battery will need replacement since it's good for about 40 minutes rather than its usual 3 hours. I upgraded the hard disk from the supplied sluggish 11GB to a 5400RPM 40GB.
I never loan it out. I don't use it all the time, but use a desktop most of the time since keyboards do wear out since I type a lot. I carry the machine and store it in a very nice laptop bag which is never dropped or abused.
A real problem I found while in Canada was the lack of onshore service centers. The stories about service still continue to amaze me. Be sure you know where that service center is before you pick up a laptop.
Currently i'm looking at
ASUS M5N with Pent-M 1.5 with 40G HD ($1600 CDN)
Fujitsu S6210 ($2200 CDN)
The notebook is not for desktop replacement and i don't plan to carry it around with me outside all the time. i don't want big notebook. I don't know is Asus M5N can last for 3-5 years. Can anyone point me to the right direction or any suggestion pls?. thx