A lot of people that I get to meet ask similar question and I only have one question in response; "What exactly is your need?"
You see, laptops' performance depends on what is inside. Processor, motherboard, RAM, HDD, Graphics; these are the core components that determine your laptops' performance regardless of brand and model and of course, additional features such as dimensions, weight, B/tooth, Wifi, Card Reader, Optical Drive, etc etc but this all boils down to your specific need for the laptop and your finances.
Let me explain in detail with a similar live example. Assume you go to a showroom and ask the sales rep as to which car is best amongst all the models present. What would his response be? A good rep will definitely gather your requirements for a car that would contain a few key-points that might vary as in Speed, Fuel Consumption, Chassis, Safety, Cost, so on and so forth and then suggest a few that suit your needs. However before you step into the showroom, you might have done all this home work otherwise, have a vague idea as to what you would want. Likewise, when you ask which model and brand of the laptop is best, I'd ask you the exact same question "Why exactly would you be using a laptop for?" It could be anything, office work that involves document processing, Internet surfing, graphic designing, programming, mobility and manageability of data, or home purpose that involves multimedia entertainment, gaming, Internet, etc etc.
Well this is not just it. Here's another problem - you said Brand, the keyword! Most of the people who would recommend a brand to you would be because of their prior experience and their comfort level with that specific brand, some might say Dell is better, some would say IBM, another one might suggest HP, so on and so forth - True! Yet again, I would not be brand specific because there could be one that would appeal to you but it might just exceed your budget, the other one might have a design that you would not like. Let me be honest with you, from my previous experience I can tell you that no matter how simple IBM Titanium series notebook be, it's one rugged laptop while HP comes with a lot of LEDs on it giving it a bright look especially in the dark meanwhile Sony VAIO has an extremely recherché look and MacBooks with their beautiful designs and tons of features setting it apart. Our organizational standard is an IBM T series because of it's ruggedness however you know after using all these notebooks at work, what do I use now? A self assembled Intel whitebook. Yes! A self assembled Intel whitebook that I configured and assembled with my barehands and trust me, it's been almost 2 years now that I am using this book and I still am very happy with it. Not because it is an Intel whitebook but because it has all the options you can imagine. It might not be the best design, it might not be as rugged as IBM T series, it might not be the most lightweight (15.4"WXGA), etc etc but it suits my needs both at work and home and the overall cost was way below what the equivalent brands offered. I do not mean to confuse you and be biased about anything because I always believe that every MNC that pitches it's notebooks in the market today make one good notebooks according to customer needs and do well in their own capacities, be it IBM, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Apple, Acer, Sony, Toshiba, etc etc.
Now, I do not mean to confuse with all these long accounts so that you end up pulling your hair trying to figure out what to do. This is exactly why you are here and why we are here, to help you configure a laptop that suits your needs within your limited budget. Here is what you do; tell us the primary purpose you are looking for a laptop and what is your preferred choice of brand and why and we will assist you configure a laptop.
For now, you might want to visit this URL and do a little comparison between the different brands available in market.
Intel Go Green, Save The Environment!