I have an HP/Compaq Lappy, and tbh, it's been great, except the battery has taken a crap twice in two years. The battery time isn't bad on mine. It's an i3, battery lasts about 4 hours when new. After about 6 months, battery time falls to about half that. I am dead set against Dell. I have had horrible experiences with them and will never own anything they manufacture again. I agree with your decision on the i3/i5, especially if you are going to be watching some HD content. Acer has actually gotten a little better. I prefer ASUS laptops, at work, all of our lappys are ASUS. I just ordered a Zenbook for myself to use at work.
Since you said you can wait a bit, I would hold out until you absolutely couldn't anymore. The prices will make you happy.