Several years ago I completely switch to Apple starting with an iPod and culminating, some months later, with an iMac, a 13″ MacBook and, finally, with a QuadCore i7 MacBook Pro. Still very happy with may MBP, and things got better and better with each OSX release. Now, with Mountain Lion cannot be more satisfied.
I am not a brand addict and I have no affiliation with Apple whatsoever, but they managed to create a culture of trust for a line of products that work and can be used as for their scope: reliable tools. Moreover, Microsoft did some blunders on their OS line that culminated with that Vista failure. I remember I had to use Vista for a brief period of time at the office and each day I pressed the power on button I regretted. A nightmare. Windows 7 was a pleasant surprised, seems to be more polished and a clear evolution from previous failed attempts. Soon, for my little DIY projects I felt the need to use a PC. Many software packages for embedded programming are available only on PC, examples most frequently built around PC, major instrumentation vendors scarcely support Macs etc.
Yesterday I bought a Toshiba satellite, given very good past experience with Toshiba products, and I have to say this laptop is a winner. 500 GB HDD, Core i5 @ 2.5 Ghz, 3 MB Cache, USB 3.0 ports, HDMI output, GigaEthernet and a 2 GB Radeon 7670 GPU → excellent package for 600 euros.
So, I have already installed AVR Studio 6 and starting first programming tests. More to come.
Update, October 15th, 2013
I have more than a year using this and still very satisfied. Updated the RAM to 16 GB, works like charm. I am using it mainly for my electronics projects and still have no major complaints on this cheap, entry-level laptop. Excellent.
Update, October 7th, 2018
Six years after the date of purchase — still extremely satistfied with it. Absolutely no issues. Updated the HDD to SSD. Works like charm.