I've got a 3 year laptop, dell insprion 2600 if my memory is functioning to par this afternoon... I've installed hoary, breezy, and dapper (the 6.04 ubuntu dev release) all without issue. I've actually been running a server (wordpress blog :-) for a few weeks now.
what i'm saying is... why is the concept of an ubuntu laptop / linux laptop an issue at all? i guess i can understand the wifi support headaches ... ie ... get a prism2 card... but other than that... i've never even heard of a problem with laptop installs...
anyway... i'd suggest if you really need to check a laptop out, burn yerself a DSL (damn small linux) live disk and take it to your local bestbuy/compusa/frys and test the box out.
thanks for the article.
p@ - austin tx