Most brands have a consumer line and a professional line. Quality varies accordingly. HP earned a horrifying rep in their consumer laptops yet their EliteBooks come highly recommended (we use two at work). Lenovo's ThinkPads have generally also been excellent, if boring-looking. Oddly enough, we've had excellent history with Dell laptops and that's our corporate exclusive right now, maybe 200 laptops in total.
For what you want I'd try to get hands-on with your choices. The keyboard matters more to me in a work (but non-CAD, non-photo editing) laptop than almost anything else. Okay, battery life is fairly crucial too. If you're going to primarily use it at home you can set most laptops up with an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse. I do that at home. There simply are no laptop keyboards and trackpads as nice as that.