Finally broke down and bought a fairly inexpensive laptop tonight. I purchased the Compaq Presario C304NR. Celeron M 420, 512MB DDR2 PC4200, 80GB SATA Drive, 15.4″ widescreen with brightview, i950 video (YAY no crappy binary blobs here), and much more. Notice I left out the WiFi part, it is a Broadcom 4311 which only works with NDISWrapper and not with bcm43xx-fwcutter. Ya, I know binary crap, but I need wireless and this lappy doesn’t come with pcmcia slots.
I successfully got everything running just fine. Installed Kubuntu 6.10 (Edgy), fixed the resolution issue by installing 915resolution from the universe repositories, and fixed the WiFi issue with NDISWrapper and this tutorial. More information on the laptop and how well it runs Kubuntu can be found on the Laptop Testing Teams wiki page.
Feisty also had the same issues as Edgy, but that is somewhat expected at this early in the game. I am hoping more functionality comes to the laptop with the Broadcom drivers and a couple of the function keys.
Final grade for the Compaq Presario C304NR running Kubuntu 6.10 Linux, A-. A- because I had to use binary rubbish to get it working 100%.