I am a student at the University of Houston and love it here. The academic curriculum is good and I don't understand the complaints people have about it not being challenging. It depends on your courses I guess. The core is generally easy but I don't see the big deal with that as most of them are freshman classes so this is expected. My major also requires me to take upper level math,chemistry,and physics courses that I don't find easy, so I believe it depends on your major.
And it is true that there is not much socializing on campus. Most students have to pay their way through school and because of this you won't find a lot of party animals or get togethers (I prefer it this way). However the students you will meet are genuine hard workers (most of the time) who put their education as top priority and know they can't rely on mommy and daddy to pay for their screwups.
If you want a school where you can get a top notch education that won't swamp you in $60,000 of students loans, then UH is a wonderful option. If you are obsessed with image, then go to Texas A&M.