I have found the exact opposite. I've had a number of Compaq/HP laptops and every one of them has been trash. I've had no end of problems from USB ports, to lockups to crashing, etc.
I've even had a few issues with IBM laptops, although most of the time they are fairly solid (except for the new T42s, we've had a number of them die on us).
I've had quite a few Dell laptops and outside of some power supply issues I've never had a problem.
It really seems to be the luck of the draw most of the time, I've seen disgruntled consumers for all of the major brands including names like VoodooPC and Alienware.
I have to say though that the new Dell XPS2 looks super sweet. Fastest 3dMark05 scores to date out of any laptop made (stock and those that have been reviewed) and a two hour battery life.
Take a look at it here:
Count your lucky stars then. You are among the few that have had a run of good luck with Dell laptops. If you ever check the Dell forums, you will see nothing but posts from disgruntled customers about the cooktops (intentional pun as you can cook on them as they run that hot) they produce. I am currently supporting 300 Dell D600 and X300 laptops. The X300 has to be the worst model they have ever released, some examples: onboard usb dieing, laptops shorting (which will in turn burn out any item plugged into the usb port at the time, like my brand new Treo 650, still waiting to get reimbured for that from Dell), run extremely hot, noisy (disabling usb power management solved this one), LCD's crack easy as they didn't design the protective bezel to well (they need to look at IBM X40 for pointers), high HDD failure rates. Trust me, I will never recommend Dell to anyone, IBM, Compaq/HP, Toshiba, Motion, Alienware much better choices, even if you have to pay more. Remember the old saying - "You get what you pay for" and "buy cheap get cheap", In Dells case this is true.