I understand why, and I'm not telling you that you're doing it wrong, or that you should do anything different, in fact, but I am lamenting the race to the bottom which is alive and well in the retail PC space, especially the laptop market.
Make it entirely out of plastic, use a known-failure-prone whiny fan, and replace the screen with a few dozen colored LEDs! Undercut competitor pricing by 50$ and dominate the market!! WIN!!!
I agree, however, if it wasn't for the kids I would have no problem shelling out a grand for something good. However, the HP 2000-240CA (AMD E-350) laptop we have is 3 yrs and 3 months old now. It has been knocked off the table onto a hardwood floor about 1/2 dozen times now and had liquid spilled on it now probably 2-3 times and is still running good. All for the before tax price of $330 cnd dollars. (not including the 256GB M4 SSD in there)
The new one would be for the wife, and she's not that much better at taking care of her stuff than the kids (3 & 5) hence my resistance to spend more than $500. For me, I use my desktop