I bought a HP laptop in 2000 and sold it in 2008, it is still working and the purchaser still uses it.
Not all models of new HP laptops are bad but there are several higher end with video cards that are not integrated that are having serious heat problems just like there are several Dell laptops I wouldn't buy now.
Right now you have to be very careful buying any notebook and I would recommend thoroughly researching any model of any brand before purchasing.
Here is a good place to start. http://forum.notebookreview.com/