It's been so long since I even shopped notebooks that I wouldn't know where to begin. Asus seems to have a lot of nice offerings these days, but who knows. I just know my last notebook was a Compaq that I got for $399 on clearance in 2006, and it lasted me well over 3 years before I sold it locally for $200. Sturdy built and still worked fine aside from the battery being next-to-useless. It wasn't winning any speed awards but it was completely adequate for a living room web surfer.
It was the Livo of laptops, only minus the junk-punching