First of all, if you say that you're "a beginner and want something easy to use" then you shouldn't even be in the market for an SLR in the first place. SLRs are not for beginners and SLRs are not easy to use. They are heavily advanced with complicated features and allow maximum, manual controls over everything. They are fully upgradeable, both hardware and software-wise.
If you truly are a beginner and want something easy to use, don't get an SLR but at most a prosumer point-and-shoot...Canon G series for example. They have automatic preset settings and whatnot.
If you're assuming that SLRs give you the best image quality - that is true...BUT that is ONLY true if you are a professional photographer and *really* know what you are doing. From the way you eloquently worded your post, you do not seem like such a type and thus, you'd just be squandering your wealth over something that would be overkill for both your tastes and your abilities.
Note that good prosumer digicams can be in excess of 8 MP. Quality is not lacking.
I'm sorry about my outlandish behavior - there's too much blood in my alcohol system.