Compared to desktop, I don't have a lot of laptop experience. Where I worked, IBM Thinkpads were once approved for various internal missions. They eventually took on the nickname - Stinkpad, this the result of frequent quirks, glitches, breakdowns necessitating repair, coupled with the difficulty in locating an IBM-approved third-party repair depot. At the same time, as long as one was nice & gentle to their Thinkpad, it generally did what it was intended to do. I had opportunity to participate in a special mission, and SONY laptops were acquired for this, from the Vaio line. As far as being small goes, SONY was as good as it got for laptops back then, which has now been about 7 years. This really did create situations like some of the old tv commercials once hyped; all I had to do was pull the vaio out of it's carrybag and strangers would immediately begin gawking, ooohing and awwwing. It too was a bit quirky, but not nearly as bad as the Thinkpads, and the SONY I was given never really broke down to the point of constantly needing repair like the IBMs. A lot of the quirks were eliminated after disabling the finger pad, which is a method used on laptops for simulating a mouse. On the other hand, Vaios were generally at the top of the price scale, so it is with just about everything else in this world, you cannot really know, ballpark, how much quality you may be in store for until you weigh in with your wallet.
Also, this is more of a general alert for anyone buying a new computer; Vista is coming, Vista is coming. Think Paul Revere ;)