What about macs? You want a Mac you buy a mac. You want Windows you buy windows. What you don't do is buy a Mac to run Windows.
...or the other way around. I've found that Hackintosh is, well, a little hacky :D
I have the Asus U41JF. I think it's a nice balance.
Good gaming performance (Nvidia 425m, Core i3), good battery life (~7 hours), and still fairly light (13", 2.2kg/5lb).
Have been using it for about a year now. Very happy with it. Handles all modern games at mid/high quality setting.
Only drawback is cost. It was about $900 when I bought it.
Macs are quite expensive. It all depends on what you want:
I personally tend to gravitate towards the 17" screen i7 processor monsters, but that's not what you're looking for.
As a matter of fact, I've had good experiences with HP. Of the two laptops and one desktop in my household, one of the laptops and the desktop is an HP and they're better than the Dell laptop by far.
I'd look into Asus or Samsung. Another thing to keep in mind is this: if you're only going to use the laptop for minor web surfing, music, note taking, light tasks like that, maybe an android table should be considered. Keep in mind the main points of a tablet:
-Incredibly portable and lightweight
-Comfortable to use, no heat/noise like a laptop
-Much less power and capabilities
-About the same price as a laptop
-Let's face it, they're just more fun
Thus ending my $0.02
I have an Acer Aspire 5253-BZ400. It suits me just fine. Pretty basic - not a lot of bells and whistles like you might find on an HP, but then again, a lot of that glitzy crap seems to break anyhow. I bought mine for $450+tax IIRC (at Staples), but here in Canada you can get them at Walmart now for about $100 less than that. I have had this thing for about 6 months, and if it died on me today, I would replace it with the very same thing.