As part of my research, I relied on the SSD section of Tom's Guide - and in particular, the recent article: Best SSDs for the Money, January 2015
My existing OEM HDD was a 640GB, 7200 RPM, Toshiba HDD2E81 MK6461GSY
I decided to go with a Patriot Ignite 480GB SATA 3 2.5 (7mm height) Solid State Drive-With Transfer Speeds of Up-To 560 MB/s read, 545 MB/s write. For simple convenience, I decided to get my unit at a local Fry's Electronics...although Amazon's price today would have been a bit better ($199.99).
The Patriot 960GB SSD was also a consideration ($547.99) - but as this laptop may become a secondary machine later this year - I'm looking at this as an interim experiment.
For cloning the original HDD, I decided to go with the Corsair SSD Hard Drive Cloning Kit (listed for $22.69 on Amazon today)
Removing the HDD was a simple process of removing the 8 screws:
-  screws securing the HDD drive bay plate (on the bottom of the laptop)
-  securing the HDD caddy
-  securing the HDD to the caddy
For those unsure of just how to replace the HDD in their laptop, these two articles [link #1, link #2] may be of interest.
During the cloning process, I selected the advanced option to perform verification - which may have significantly increased the time it took to clone the HDD drive (~2.5 hours).
Overall, this was a painless exercise, and I am very pleased with the speed improvements. Booting Windows now seems to take about 25 seconds, and after login - my system is ready for work within 3-5 seconds (previously, with the HDD, this start-up phase... might take several minutes).
Another option I may consider in the future - a 2nd HDD SSD caddy using the laptop's optical drive bay