g, my first focus was simply based on what models have a clean-out for the pre-pump filter that is easily user serviceable, which weeded me down to LG and Samsung and one other model (I can't remember it at this point). Then I looked at things like motor brushes and if they are available as parts (many are not - this means motor replacement or access to a ton of brushes to find one that is close enough to hack). The construction of the unit was derived from looking at the service manuals (thanks to the folks on this site) and looking at the unit itself. Overall, the direct drive units (no belt, no brushes, no motor bearings) offered by Samsung and LG seemed the better design. JD Power and CR ranked units from those brands near the top. Looking at parts availability, the price of parts, and the fact that the bearings look replaceable without replacing half the guts of the washing machine was what made me go with the LG. I've been happy with it thus far.
Samsung has the better service manual, hands down. They have complete schematics of the control boards, which means a geek like me who works with even smarter Electrical Engineer geeks could probably do component level replacement so long as the custom designed logic chips are still good.
As far as the "Direct Drive" system goes, it is hard to get a handle on what that means from the marketing fluff. The pictures in the service manual helped a great deal. The entire drum is lined with coils essentially making it one giant motor. From LG's website on the topic: "Direct Drive is state-of-the-art technology that integrates the washing machine’s motor, belt, and pulley into a single, quiet, and durable mechanism, attached directly to the drum. With a Direct Drive motor, there are fewer moving parts. This means less vibration and noise, increased efficiency, and a decreased chance of breakdown or brush and belt replacement."
The last piece of advice no matter what you go with is to spend $30 or so on a 4000+ J surge protector to protect those electronics. In both the Samsung and LG there appears to be an AC line filter, but who knows what they are rated for. You'd do it for your TV, so why not also protect your washing machine (which is probably the larger investment).