If you want a reliable laptop, go ASUS. They're constantly rated highest in terms of reliability (as far as PCs go), and overly expensive.
I've had to fix many a Toshiba in my day. In fact, I regretted buying a Toshiba laptop back in the day (before I knew better). I fix those almost as often as I fix Dell laptops.
Speaking of deals, only one thing to say:
"Dude... you got a Dell?!"
I did some hard time as an it consultant a few years ago, and worked on a lot of sites using different brands of laptop.
It seemed that every manufacturer makes some good and some bad product lines.
Now this isn't in anyway intended to reduce the value of tikrjee's posting, (I suspect his experience was gained a few years later than mine, so there isn't really an argument IMHO) but I have to testify that my experience was that dell laptops were significantly more durable and reliable than toshiba laptops. In particular I highly rated the c series laptops because they are so common, so when I did get a rare failure, the parts were much easier to find and cheaper.
In my opinion the MODEL of laptop you buy is probably more important than the manufacturer.
Certainly, I have seen both toshiba and dell make particular laptop models that had obvious failings, alledgedly some "d6xx" series dells are a bit prone to motherboard failures, yet others with one digit changed in the model number are free of that problem.
If you are buying new, it's all a bit of a gamble, but if you are going for used, then ask a few experts what used to be the best laptop money can buy, then buy the model that more than one of them recomends... :c)
Hope that's useful, it seems to have worked well for me.
Laptop quality varies from system to system. You can buy two of the same exact laptop from the same place, and one of them could fail horribly.
Based on SquareTrade's 2009 survey though, Toshiba has a lower failure rate within the first 3 years of ownership compared to Dell. The rankings basically ran ASUS > Toshiba > (the rest) with HP/Compaq and Acer/Gateway ending up near/at the bottom.
That said, my Dell's worked very well in the 5 years that I've owned it, and it hasn't had any major problems - only had one thing fixed (power adapter) but that was due to somebody slamming it against the floor -_- .
The only reason I've had to work on Dells so often is because, well, for quite some time, they were the best selling laptops out there. I've never had the liberty (?) of fixing an ASUS laptop, and have had absolutely no problems as of yet with any of their motherboards or monitors, so I can only assume they live up to their (and everyone else's) claims of reliability.
In fact, I've been using a Dell laptop at work for the past month because my primary workstation is down and I've yet to get corporate go-ahead to fix the damn thing (Yay red tape!). Granted, it's 4 years old and has 6 minutes for battery life, but it's still ticking.