Here's my 2 cents:
I travel to Michigan from Boston every week with my 9860 laptop. I use it for work every day. I bought two serial drives and raid 0 them. I dual boot with win2k on one and winXP on the other in order to keep my work (win2k) separate from my home (winXP). I've yet to (knock on wood) run into any problems with this machine (bought from PCTourque - off-course
). I do have a couple of dead pixels and I'm dealing with them for as long as I can. They're there and my eyes tend to go looking for them but they're not too much of a bother.
As for the work programs I have, I have Oracle dbase running, TLE, SAP, all kinds of web apps, etc. I tend to run many of them at the same time and this laptop has yet to freeze on me. I installed the new bios that keeps the fans always running. It's a bit loud but not like a desktop.
For home I run all kinds of games and other stuff with no problems. I also hook it up to a 24" Sony monitor so the dead pixels are no problem there
I am considering buying a Dell XPS 2 later this year, unless something better comes this way from Sager. I want the Dell mainly because of the high-res and the smaller screen and better battery life. But, I say I may buy one later because at this time the small benefits brought by the Dell are not even close to enough to make me dump my 9860. My word to you, buy whatever you can afford and be comfortable with. They're both leading edge, although I tend to think that the 9860 offers more expandability than the Dell. It may ultimately come down to size, comfort, and portability.