I guess the first parameter is what are you going to use it for. Surfing the web and reading email? Software development? Image processing? Driving the space shuttle?
(Note that if you plan on driving the space shuttle, keep in mind that they are being retired this year so I would go with a laptop that can be re-tasked to doing something else, like controlling the weather :-)
If browsing, movie watching will be your priority, then opt for a one with a good graphics card for better video experience. Just google for graphics card rank list and check if the one that you plan to buy has a decent graphic card.
SCJP 1.4, SCWCD 1.4 - Hints for you, Certified Scrum Master
Did a rm -R / to find out that I lost my entire Linux installation!
With that budget, you can surely look at entry level to some of the cheaper mid range notebooks which would suit you most.
I suggest that you do not look at the brand but to the hardware specifications it sports. The brand would just be auxiliary and would not really matter in terms of performing projects and applications.
Choosing the right one would ultimately depend on what use you are gearing it for, really.