Originally Answered: What laptop is the best? Dell, Hp, Sony, etc?
Depends how adventurous you are.
Apple are consistently rated number 1 in terms of customer satisfaction. They are very reliable machines both hardware and software wise. As the above poster said, software is more expensive for a mac, but provided you do not need anything "professional" there is a lot of high quality freeware out there. Most of the important software is included. However, one good comparison is Office Windows vs Office Mac. MS Office on PC = $148 Australian, Office:Mac = $248 Australian.
Mac, being Unix based is a lot more stable and virus-free than PC, but it is not invincible. However, it should be a lot more long-term reliable than a similar windows based system. You'd save money on antivirus though, as Macs rarely get viruses, personally I like a backup though, and run iAntivirus free edition for my Mac just in case.
Comparing price, Mac is more expensive than PC, but you are paying for a more premium product.
For making music, Mac again would be the choice, simply because it comes bundled with Garage Band, an excellent piece of software for music creation.
Movie wise, I would say go for a Toshiba A500, the Toshiba DVD player built in may not be the most amazing around, but it is simple and very effective.
For windows, defiantly Toshiba followed by Lenovo.
I have owned many different brands of computers and work with them on a daily basis. As a result I purchased a Toshiba, a Lenovo and my newest one which is a 15" macbook pro, all have been extremely reliable computers and never let me down. I would avoid HP, Acer and in some cases Dell. By the best computer you can afford, if you don't need anything special, buy a good value one, but there is a difference between good value (IE Toshiba) and cheap (Acer).
Most people who buy windows based computers that I experience are either unsure about any brand, or will look at Toshiba and nothing else. They do have a solid reputation from my experience, and they have earned it though years of high quality good value hardware.
Always compare specs and make sure you feel comfortable with the computer.
My personal suggestion is go for the Macbook, it is more expensive but you can rely on them. 7 hour battery life, good quality software built in, and worldwide high quality customer support.
Good luck and happy computing.