A few years back Engadget put out an interesting article by Vlad Savov entitiled, "Laptop reliability survey: ASUS and Toshiba win, HP fails." It was a summary of an article put out by eletronista sighting a study done by Square Trade. Square Trade is an after market warranty provider. Here's a link to a PDF of the original study. It essentially puts Apple in 4th place as far as troubles go with their equipment, Asus as the leader, and expectedly, HP as the worst.
That is old news though. In a more recent (June 2011), possibly less byes study, Consumer Reports put out a report on laptop brand reliability (requires subscription) sampling some 43,000 of their readers. Here's the genreal gist of the report:
No one brand stood out as the most reliable among laptop brands. That's what we found out when we asked more than 43,000 readers who bought a laptop between 2006 and 2010 about their experiences.
This graph shows the percentage of brands that have ever been repaired or had a serious problem. We've adjusted the data to eliminate differences due to age or whether the computer was covered by an extended warranty. Differences of less than 3 points aren't meaningful.
Models within a brand might vary, and changes in design or manufacture might affect reliability. Still, choosing a brand with a good repair history can improve your odds of getting a reliable model.
Point being Toshiba (a well known old timer in the PC world) seems to have a handle on QC and decent reliability. I only with their features and design could match up with some of the other big manufactures. I am curious about how volume sold effects these statistics though. Still, I hope this adds some food for thought when looking for your next laptop.