My main machine, and my love, is my Panasonic Toughbook CF-R1. I've had it three years now. I've also owned a lot of other machines -- Toshiba Sattelite, Sony Vaios, Winbook, PowerBook, 486 Compaq and DECs -- I go through them underwear, usually, but this one has survived being carried everywhere I go with me (biking to the library to work, and so on). Since my laptop, whichever one it is, goes with me everywhere, people can't help noticing it, and I can't help noticing what people make of it after a while, and two machines get me far more attention than any other. And they're both Panasonics.
The CF-R1 is tiny, dainty, and delicate looking, but is semi-rugged (and yes, for the little extra it costs, it's well worth it -- IMO all machines should have foam all the way around the HD, be fan-less, and have keys that you can pop off and back on -- anything less is just way too junky for your money if you're plunking down a grand or more). Gay guys love it. In a post-feminist-flirt maneuver, they play techno-dumb and ask, "oooooh, is *that* a computer?". No (dumbass), it's a DVD player|cell phone|mp3 player (depending on my mood). Another common one is, "oooh, that's cuuute! Mind if I touch it?".
The CF-28, which I got when I decided I wanted something really rugged (cracked the screen on the CF-R1 in a motorcycle wipeout), attacts the attention of women. This thing is built like a tank -- the 1/8th inch magnesium alloy on the lid is embossed with a pattern like you'd see on an ammunition box to add strength. Other rugged machines were in the news lately as being Toughbook killers. Ha! Their harddrive has some foam padding on the side but it sits on bare metal. That's Krap with a capital K. This thing's harddrive is in a removable module that's about six times the size of the HD itself. The HD sits suppened in a gel pack, like the infamous stapler from The Office. The spinning harddrive, inside the machine, can land from four feet in the air and survive. These other "rugged" machines can't survive a four foot drop off. Unlike the standard operating mode of homosexual men, women don't tuck that inconvient intelligence away when they ask about it: "That's quite a machine... have you actually dropped it to see if it would survive?", or, more sassily, "I see you have a fully rugged Toughbook. Can I pour my beer on it?" (why, yes, you may, cutie pie!). Or, "so which distribution do you run on one of those?".
Lots of people have HPs and Dells. They're utterly generic. People will notice you have a laptop. Apple Powerbooks (iBook, MacBook, whatever) have some sex appeal and mark you hip -- especially when combined with stickers and lots of personal customization on the rest of your person. But most people won't punk themselves and their computers out (a shame... geeky punks get me all hot and bothered). It makes me kind of sad to see a bunch of cool stickers on a Dell, though. Dude, that Dell is going to choke on a dust bunny and burn itself out in a year if you actually use the thing and you'll have to throw all of those cool stickers away. How many people actually pre-emptively take apart their laptops and remove the dust bunnies before they kill? So, if you want a well-made machine (Japan, baby!) and you're hot to met sexy eligable geeks for a little romp in the hay, pick up a Toughbook. Okay Panasonic, where's my CF-R5 review unit?