I'd like to advise my mom in buying a new laptop. She has no TV, and currently uses her desktop to watch online TV (I'm just using Hulu as an example -- I don't watch TV online, so am not sure exactly which websites she uses). Her desktop is outdated and online video is extremely choppy.
I'm looking for something in the <$500 range. Since she'll be watching a lot of video, a larger screen would be best. Weight is not really a concern. Heat might be -- I think she'll appreciate being able to take the laptop with her and use it on her lap. (Although I use ax xBrand platform for my netbook -- perhaps these prevent heat from being an issue?) I don't think she'll like using a touchpad much (she's used to a mouse), so I'd say touchpad sensitivity isn't really an issue.
I don't know much about laptops, but I'd think a Windows 7 machine with the most bang-for-the-buck CPU would be the way to go.
I saw this ad today and was considering it (it's a bit over her budget, but perhaps a good deal?)...
I didnt see anything on the Dell Vostro 1520 to make me think its a better choice than either the Inspiron 17 or Inspiron 15.
Something to watch for on the Inspiron 17 base model is the 4-cell battery pack. It does have the higher res 1600x900 LCD 17" LCD but the Inspiron 15 with 3GB RAM and 6 cell battery pack, and its lighter weight, would have me thinking about that as a very good option.