jath222 wrote:same computer essentially with a better brand, its 15.6 rather than 17 inches, and its new, not refurbed. buy this way before you buy the hp.
That Toshiba doesn't look like a bad laptop, but it also doesn't really look "essentially the same" at all. First, it has a crappy 1366x768 screen, which sucks. It also appears to be more plastic versus brushed aluminum, so more comparable to the cheaper HP G-series. Then you notice the smaller hard drive, having to put up with a stupid mail-in rebate (which I hate), no backlit keyboard, no fingerprint reader (if you happen to care about that), etc.
Overall, it's a different system, targeted at different users, at a different price.
What brand is "better" is also debatable. You hear horror stories about all brands, and since HP was still the largest maker of PCs in the world last I checked, you'll likely hear proportionally more complaints about them, due in large part to that huge volume, and that they especially sell a lot of the inexpensive low-end models.
This M-series appears to be basically upper mid-range. Not nearly as expensive/high-end as the EliteBook or Envy models, but also not the low end either.
Just about every company makes a full range of products from plasticy junk to premium build quality, and the cheapest models necessarily have to cut corners. The only way Apple avoids that is by only making the expensive models, but a lot of consumers want to save money and avoid paying for more features/specs/build quality than they need, so there's a market for both.
I do like the full warranty on new systems, but I've also had pretty good luck with factory refurbs overall, so ymmv. My MIL has the refurbished dv7 series from a previous Woot last year and no problems so far, while my brother in law had a new Dell that basically fell apart. I don't consider that to be a sign that all Dells are junk though. His was just a low-end plasticy model, and for the most part you get about what you pay for. A refurb is a way to get a little more than you pay for, with the biggest trade-off usually being a shorter warranty.