there is nothing wrong with dell, their notebooks are fine, i own one of their lower end inspirons and i have no complaints. none. though if weight and size is an issue for you i'd stay away from the XPS series as they are considerably bulky.
hps dv9000 and stuff is pretty nice, two of my friends have one and they seem to like theirs alot. they're slimmer than dells, but i don't have as much experience with them in regards to reliability.
apple wouldn't be good for you, i'm assuming the video card criteria is mainly for gaming?