Don’t forget that HP merged with Compaq, so any Compaq laptops are now HP . . .
I wouldn’t say that the HP laptops are bad. If someone has an issue with a bad battery, perhaps it’s time to replace the battery . . . ? And if it’s slow, then maybe it’s loaded down with junk or it’s old? Reinstalling Windows is always a good idea when things get terribly slow.
Personally, all of the HP laptops I’ve had for the past 2-3 years have been pretty darn good. The one I’m typing on right now kicks ass. It’s a Compaq nc6220. Lasts forever if I don’t use wireless and it’s plenty fast for me.
I should say that while I am empoyed by HP, I am in no way biased towards their products, except for printers. HP printers rock.
I’m sure that Alienware makes good laptops. VoodooPC, just bought by HP, also makes laptops.