You'll see a lot of different opinions on laptops due to reliability issues and personal preference. For example, I've had bad luck with HP laptops, but others have had nothing but good luck.
Here is a study done on such a matter: http://www.squaretrade.com/htm/pdf/SquareTrade_laptop_reliability_1109.pdf
In regard to selecting a laptop, I don't think that you can go wrong with getting a Dell. However, if the HP is the better deal and gives you the performance that you want, go for it. Just be sure to get an extended warranty on it.