Help picking out a new laptop

Hello! I am in need of a new laptop. I'm a bit ignorant on the subject, but I tried to answer the questions as best I could; I would really appreciate any input!

1. What is your budget?

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
14" (can be 13.3" - 15")

3. What screen resolution do you want?
Don't care

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?

5. How much battery life do you need?
4+ hrs

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?
Maybe King's Bounty warriors of the north when it comes out with settings on low (not a priority :)

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
word processing, XML/XSLT, listening to music, streaming video, Skype -- I really like to multitask on my laptop, so I would want it to be able to handle that

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
2+ years

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
Don't necessarily need one

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
No preference of the brands, though I have had Acer and HP laptops, and had troubles with their screens. Still, I wouldn't necessarily rule them out.

13. What country do you live in?
U.S., though I travel a lot (Europe; New Zealand)

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
I really, really want a reliable laptop. I've been traveling a lot, and it is difficult/expensive to service a laptop abroad. My last two laptops (an Acer and HP Pavilion g4) both had awful screen problems, as well as other issues, in less than 18 months.

I would also like it to be quiet and reasonably fast :-)
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More about help picking laptop
  1. Sony Vaio S 13.3
    Vizio Notebooks

    A more powerful ultrabook could handle the light/low setting gaming very well and also give you the portability with battery life.
    Like the Asus Zenbook (one of the newer models has a dedicated graphics card.)
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