Asus, yes. They make some very good systems at excellent price points. However, some say that their support is lacking.
HP, can't agree with you there. I have seen far too many HP laptops die due to overheating and motherboard issues. About the only HP laptops that I ever recommend are the ENVY series.
Getting a good answer for "best laptop brand" is next to impossible since you are always going to get people who have had bad experiences with a company. I personally like Dell's Studio and Vostro laptops, but a quick google search will show how many people have had problems with Dell. Same goes with HP and all of the other large manufacturers.
If you are looking for a portable powerhouse, I suggest you look at laptops from Sager/Clevo.
ASUS is a good company with some laptops hitting the right price points. HP are good. Acer is another company that seems like their quality is up on par with the big boys. Anyways if you buy a laptop, what would you use it for?