Office laptop that's good enough to be HTPC too?

I'm looking to purchase a laptop for my wife, budget $700+-. She will be using it for general office applications, internet browsing, email, etc. I would like to also have this laptop be an acceptable HTPC, to run movies from, hulu etc (do laptops make decent HTPCs? otherwise I'd have to build out another computer for the house)

So I really have 2 choices:

1) buy a laptop that can solve both issues of an office laptop, and HTPC. what would you recommend?

2) buy a solid no frills laptop for her business, and build out a separate HTPC. what would you recommend for these?

I was really looking at ASUS, but just got overwhelmed with all the models.

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  1. I guess it is a matter of personal preference when it comes to such matters. For example, I have a no frills laptop, but a desktop that I use as an HTPC/"high powered" machine. On one hand you could easily spend the same amount as you would on an expensive laptop by buying a no frills laptop and building an HTPC. Or you could spend some cash and just get a laptop that could handle both. What would be more convenient/acceptable for you?
  2. Thanks buwish,
    good words, I know it's always best to have the right tool for the right job, and so I should really follow that same anthem here.... In truth I don't really need the HTPC support right now, but we do need the laptop for her business.

    I did try a Compaq Presario from Best Buy, but the thing had HD failures right from the start, granted it was a real budget system at $349. Based on the decision above of going with a no-frills laptop, what would be a reliable laptop with known quality parts
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