We needed to replace one of our e-mail viewing, web surfing, DVD watching, laptops, and decided to do so with a Toshiba Satellite A505-S6005 from Best Buy. The A505 seemed to be a good balance of hardware (16" display, 12 cell battery, etc.) and price ($670 or so), and I've got to say, I'm not disappointed.
There's a lot to like about A505. It's got a gorgeous screen, spacious keyboard with number pad, perfectly acceptable sound, and the usual USB and SD card ports. As I mentioned, the is the larger 12 cell one, which promises 5+ hours of life. While I haven't done an accurate test yet, the battery easily survived a DVD watching, a couple of shows, and some web surfing without requiring a recharge.
The price is also quite a pro, when you consider you get 4Gig of ram and a half-a-terabyte of hard drive space for under $700.
The main con is the size of the device. It's definitely on the chunky side. Almost not attempt has been made to make it compact or thin. It'll function on your lap, and you can schlep it to Starbucks to check your e-mail. But if you're planning lots of travel, this isn't the laptop for you.
I could also do without the glossy finish on the keyboard. I guess I'm used to it now, but initially, it was a real pain.
All in all, I'm impressed. Given the cost of the A505, it does seem to live up to its promise of being a general purpose laptop.