Anyone who says DELL and HP make better laptops needs to be beaten about the face and neck.
I carry my laptop around alot for work, and when I was in Iraq, I had my DELL D610 and my Thinkpad with me.
My Thinkpad came back alive, I don't really have to think about how I handle my Thinkpad.
If you are going to baby your laptop, DELL makes the XPS line.
If you want to just throw it in a bag with books or tools and you want something that won't let you down, get a Thinkpad.