My HP Laptop experience has always been a good one, so I don't think you can go wrong with an HP.
I bought a second-hand, opened-box, refurbished/re-formatted, cheap, yada, yada, yada, "Lenovo" laptop when I was out of town awhile back. My HP laptop's internal fan died and, to get to it in order to fix it would require the services of a surgeon and several hours of time I didn't have... That's no reflection on its quality, as it had served me very well in many harsh environments. (It's still rockin' along, too, doing a great job after 5-7 years or so.)
So, I went into the local "Best Buy", hunted among the shelves, then a helpful worker showed me the "discount" shelf, with bunches of "open box/refurb" laptops. I got a nice, lightweight, case-is-cheap-as-crap-plastic, Lenovo laptop for less than $300 USD.
It's a good little $300 laptop and I use it for lightweight stuffs like casual net-surfing, looking up game info while I'm playing, reading the news with my morning coffee, etc. It has Office, a bunch of other crap I don't need (Which I axed the first day) and other stuff.
All told, I got a really good deal and am pleasantly surprised with the Lenovo laptop I got for $300. (Though, I would not have bought it at list price.)
Note: So, the "Geek Squad" (lolz) guys and gals made a mistake and left their "Geek Squad" "Tools" DVD in the drive of the puter I bought. Aaaaand... it seems that Geek Squad uses mostly open-source debugging tools, a good many of which are just "run this, you don't really need to know what it does" sort of stuff. IIRC, there were only one or two "commercial" tools on it, but they were long out of date. "Checkit" and the like. IOW - I wasn't impressed.