I probably will be getting a laptop soon, I'm always traveling so I would like a laptop....
1. To watch movies.
2. To play moderately high demanding graphics games.
3. To run, Autocad, Photoshop, obviously all office programs with no problems at all.
4. Not too big or heavy due to my travels.
5. Tough, but not as tough as the tough book (Panasonic)
That's a pretty challenging combo. Most portable notebooks have less than high-end graphics cards to help battery life. Typically notebooks that can do games well are DTRs, which aren't light and have less battery life.
I'd second ToTT's advice. Gaming capability and notebooks don't go well together, especially if you want to keep size and heat down and battery life up. If you relax that requirement, the rest get easier. To keep some gaming capability look for a unit with nVidia or ATI graphics instead of onboard graphics.
Go for something with a Core Duo CPU, a dedicated graphics card (Mobility Radeon or GeForce Go), upgrade the RAM to at least 1GB, upgrade to the larger-capacity battery, and shoot for something under 6 lbs. The 15.4" models seem to offer a nice combo of mobility and screen size. 14" WXGA models are nice, but if you plan to run professional applications, then I would probably skip this option. As for brands, I've had good experiences with Dell, Gateway, HP/Compaq, and Acer in the past few years.
I'm starting to have doubts on Acer. We picked up a couple at work in May '05, and they've been good, except that recently some of them have developed mechanical issues.. sticky lid-close buttons, won't resume, sceen flickers as lid angle adjusted. Not sure if I like the trend.
Yeah, the last Acer I used was several years ago now. I guess it is possible that they are losing on quality. I know their entry-level books are pretty cheap looking, but I figured their mid and high level products were of better quality. I guess all OEMs go through bad production/cost cutting phases.