I have to nod to Panasonic Toughbooks and the Apple Macbooks.
We don't have such troubles at the office but the entire crew knows about maintenance, canned air and such.
My current laptop is a Dell Latitude D630 that I bought in 2007. Since then I've seen the motherboard replaced 3 times, the fan and heat sink replaced twice, the hard drive replaced once, 3 new batteries, and the ac adapter cord replaced 7 times in six years. (I also recently replaced the hinges because they broke in half completely. Hello floppy computer screen!)
Now the majority of that was under warranty but I've absolutely had it up to here with Dell, and I just want a laptop that is DURABLE, RELIABLE, and just WORKS.
Honestly, I have no idea what the heck it is that I do to this computer that's caused it as many meltdowns as described above, but I do know that whatever I buy next, it has to be super-durable, and the parts fairly easy to obtain (as I predict something will need replacing at some point).
What I use my computer for: Internet browsing. I've basically stopped watching TV on a TV and watch everything on netflix or the like, so I do a fair amount of video watching, which tends to send my current laptop into overdrive (I don't watch more than 2 hours worth over the course of a day, but that's still a lot day in and out). Aside from watching videos, I do your typical social networking sites, e-mail, and a lot of e-reading. If I'm not watching a video, I'm also guilty of having about 15 tabs open (on average, occasionally more) and that tends to slow down my laptop. >_>;
I also do a fair amount of word processing for work, and I use excel extensively. I like to have music on in the background often (although maybe I should get an mp3 player to take off some of the processing pressure on the laptop?)
In addition, and I wonder if this is why it's taken so much abuse, I don't often have my laptop at a desk. Usually when I use it, it's in my lap (though I try to hold it at a funny angle to give it ventilation, and I definitely put it on a hard surface when watching a long video). If not in my lap, it's on the wood floor or being transported in a laptop case. For that reason, and the usage reasons I mentioned above, I really need something that is quite durable that I won't constantly have to send back to the manufacturer for repairs under warranty. And I know there are super-durable computers meant to withstand a 3 story drop or arctic temperatures, etc. I don't care about that stuff because I'm not hiking in the wilderness with this thing, but I do care about having a computer with quality parts that is constructed and built with the intention of lasting another 6 years - hopefully this time with minimal parts replacement.
Because I'm looking for something durable, I'm willing to spend up to $1500 (though ideally no more than $1000). I will absolutely not entertain the idea of another Dell, and because I use excel a lot (and would like to get into Stata), I am also not looking to buy a Mac. I've heard good things about Lenovo, and also Toshiba, but I'm totally open to any brand or model that is supposedly durable. What brands or models would you recommend in terms of durability?
(And on a side-note, because of the video watching and excel work that I do, is there anything I should be looking for in terms of processing power, RAM, or hard drive space?)