The NEC drive dell is now supplying is one of the best overall for laptops, and last time I checked they only ran about $65 from discounters like newegg. I've been using one for about 5 mos now and have yet to make the first coaster [great buffer under-run protection]. It is a bit sensitive speed wise to cheap DVD media... example: 4x media it will only burn at 2.4x, and have only seen 4x with 8x media. Haven't bought any "faster" DVD blanks since the 8x are so cheap. Cd's are no problem... burns at 24x even with cheap media.
Toshiba burners are generally pretty good, have one in my desktop, but have never used their lappy versions. I know they have a Litescribe [sp?] drive available for laptops now. Cool feature... but the media is still pretty expensive. For now I'll stick to using a sharpie ;-)
Love Sony products in general... but their burner drives [both cd and dvd] have been a bit sketchy over the years. The Sony burner dell shipped in a lot of early 9300's wasn't very good... the DVD's it burned wouldn't play in many other players. Same problem for their desktop versions. This problem has supposedly been solved now... but they'd still be on the bottom of my list.