Macs are fab but present some compatibility issues.
HP's have internal mechanical issues (mine is currently in the shop for a welding of a part that is on recall)& the fan quit working prior to that, so it's had some probs.
Dell is smart for anyone on a budget and I've been happy with this one: Inspiron 1300, celeron M. wireless. Dell Scratch & Dent site. 399$. If you hover the sales and keep refreshing the page with your chosen product/stats, you'll see the price will vary for the same models and you have to snag anything below 500$ quick! Haha. They go so fast it's like a bidding war. Mine also had a DVD burner. I haven't found anything to beat it for that price, and it didn't have a scratch on it when it arrived.
you can research any model by just typing it into google and "reviews". Lots of consumer info.
Happy laptopping to ya