I love shopping for electronics. Whilst making searches on Best Buy, Newegg, and amazon, I came across my personal laptop that I use for debate(http://www.bestbuy.com/site/dell-inspiron-15-6-touch-screen-laptop-intel-core-i5-8gb-memory-1tb-hard-drive-black/5579395.p?skuId=5579395).
9/10 - Would recommend.
Fast, reliable, adequate. I wouldn't say that it's built like a tank, but I can assure you it's durable. It fell a good 5 feet off of an impromptu laptop stand I had made out of binders(Iam stoopid).
I guess the only downside(I wouldn't call it a downside) is it might be a bit large for some people to handle, but if you don't have people crackin jokes("damn, somebody's compensating for something.") or throwin shade("you bought a big laptop to hide behind the fact ur trash at debate"), I think you should be alright.
It falls short by $100 of your maximum price, so I'll be back with another option soon.