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dawsy

Best portable device for a Uni student

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I have been studying for two years at University and just can't stand carrying notes around. I have a laptop but don't want to use that either as it is fairly big.

 

What are some good portable tablets and devices that anyone can recommend that allow for note taking, wi-fi access, portability and speed?

 

I have considered the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, but am open to others.

 

Thanks (hope this is in the right forum).

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I don't have much experience with what works - I went through uni without a laptop at all - but if I were looking around at the moment I reckon I'd go for a surface tablet or a small touchscreen 10" win8 notebook like this one. For note taking in lectures and tutes you really want a decent physical keyboard which you do (or can) get with either of the above. Running win8 gives you more freedom with your office apps and I'd probably use one note in lectures to take ad hoc notes to tidy up later.

 

Not sure what size laptop you've got now but either of the above would be plenty portable.

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Netbook, maybe?

 

TBH, typing on tablets, even the big ones does suck if it's anything beyond inputting something for an eBay search or the like.

Once you start adding things like BT keyboards and backup portable charging, you have something more cumbersome than a small notebook anyway.

 

Netbooks have become almost forgotten since the avalanch of tablets, but in many ways a modest performing Windows machine at the same price as an Android device is probably a better option.

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Surface PRO.

Full version of windows, able to run all programs, the touch keyboard case is amazing, and IMO, windows touch screens have the best OSK other than blackberry.

Girlfriend got an Ipad for uni, regrets it every day.

 

I'm personally a netbook guy, but I'd still go a surface fiven the chance. the option to leave the keyboard at home is too good to pass up.

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Are you looking for hand writing notes or a smaller device with a keyboard?

 

I have been playing with an ASUS transformer T100 - Latest Atom CPU, 2GB RAM, 48GB useable storage with expansion via MicroSD card. It got a pretty good review in the latest PC&TA.

 

For $600 it's decent while not earth shattering. Office is included too. The keyboard works reasonably well (for small keys) even if the touchpad isn't fantastic. I have found I am using the screen to navigate more on this thing though when it's docked.

 

As far as a netbook/ tablet goes - it's not bad at all.

Edited by The Tick

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I would lean towards a proper laptop. I myself used an Asus Transformer TF201 at uni, and beyond the broken wifi/gps issue that affected that particular device, I still found it to be cumbersome and unreliable, and felt that apps like Quickoffice and Google Docs/Drive didn't quite live up to their desktop counterparts. I eventually ditched it and went back to handwriting notes. Granted, several generations of hardware and software have since passed, and I've not tried out the newer Asus Transformer (or Galaxy Note), but if I had my time again I'd be using either an 11" Macbook Air or a Sony Vaio Pro. Even the Surface Pro I'd be open too, although once fitted with the keyboard dock, it's in the same price range as a proper laptop, if not more expensive.

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What's your budget?

 

Assuming we're working with a "student's budget" here, IMHO it's a choice between Surface 2 with Type Cover and that very cool ASUS The Tick linked to.

 

Surface 2 has a better screen, comes with Office including Outlook, is smaller and has all the capability packed into the "tablet" portion (i.e. you don't need to plug in a dock to get a USB 3.0 port and it stands up on its own).

ASUS has done well to include Office Home and Student, plus full Windows and a (probably, based on prior similar portables) pretty good keyboard. Oh and apparently it charges using microUSB, which is very cool. Won't charge as fast as Surface, but microUSB is the standard nowadays.

 

If you need to install custom software or Office plugins for use at uni, the ASUS wins hands down. If you prefer the thing to be more appliance-like, and you just need Office (or you're happy to use your desktop for your course's custom software/plugins), IMHO Surface 2 is worth the extra ~$80. I personally love my Surface RT, even though it has niggles (which Surface 2 addresses comprehensively) because WinRT is very much a tablet OS - I can't screw it up, and nobody else can either.

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Thanks a bunch everyone for your advice. Here are some criteria I would like to follow (may narrow it down):

 

1. I will be on a student's budget, which will be stricter than I expected, and am looking around the $500-$600 mark.

2. I need Wi-Fi and capable of running Office/or good note taking programs, as I'll be using it strictly for University.

3. I hate paper notes, and I just want to cut down on wasting paper altogether. I find that half the time I don't even use the paper notes again/chuck them out at the end of every year. Also, Uni gives me a budget that I usually would exceed if I printed paper, and usually have to recharge the account - so I'd save money here.

4. I would prefer an included keyboard that is detachable if need be.

5. I've completely eliminated the iPad from my choices - I hate Apple products.

6. I'd enjoy if the device has a pen included, and capability to write on top of the digital notes that Uni provides us online - but this is not important or the deciding factor, I am happy to just type.

7. I've considered a note/net-book and if you can recommend one that is around my price range/requirements, then I may consider.

8. Good battery life.

 

I think that's it, thanks all for the help and I'll definitely look into your recommendations!

Edited by dawsy

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dawsy: I honestly haven't seen a good stylus device that was quicker for me than a piece of paper and a pen for notes. I ended up just going with an evernote account and my phone's camera to store things. Would be interested to know if you find one though as, like you mentioned, less paper = win win!

 

If you are going to be typing, it really comes down to your preference with keyboard.

 

I personally really can't get a good speed on the ASUS I mentioned above. That said, I see some of the people I support going hell for leather on a keyboard that size. It's a personal thing.

 

I find the same thing with the Surface Pro keyboards too - I personally can't crank up the typing speed. If you are considering either, head down to your local JB and have a play with them first. A device that gives you battery, speed, wifi etc ... is great but if your primary input method is typing and the interface sucks, you are going to hate it.

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You'd be unlucky if you cant find a surface pro's keyboard that suits. They come in all flavors these days. My favorite is the 'touch' style, you just have to 'trust' the key registered.

Otherwise theres all sorts of bluetooth, or the new typing case thing that's just like a laptop keyboard.

 

really, the surface is just a fully fledged laptop with the 'junk' cutout. Its all work, no play. (if you want to play, get to know emulators :P)

 

 

OT: Though I will make one big 'tip' in general.

Dual boot your uni laptop. Make sure no games etc. are allowed, and have it synced to an online storage doodad.

This way you can sync your account without risking 'private' data, and you have a cloud backup. It also ensures no loss of productivity.

I'm a fan of really cut down linux distros for this; as Open Office 'just works', so does QMMP (music player); where as my games or time wasting apps, need screwing around.

Edited by Master_Scythe

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You'd be unlucky if you cant find a surface pro's keyboard that suits.

That's the beauty of JB I guess. Try before you buy.

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I've just bought a Surface Pro Original cos of the price cuts ($700 at jbhifi incl free touch cover). Yep, doesn't have great battery life, but I reckon I could get by if I was still at Uni (you'd probably want to bring your charger on a long day). Love it.

 

But, based on your criteria, if you want to stick to it, then you can't look past a Surface 2 RT. It does everything you need, is within your price range, and has great battery life compared to the Pro.

 

Don't forget, you need to buy Office as well if you buy a Surface Pro (or any laptop, assuming you don't have a spare license), whereas the RT comes with it.

 

ps. Onenote is pretty cool for taking handwritten notes.

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Thanks a bunch everyone for your advice. Here are some criteria I would like to follow (may narrow it down):

 

1. I will be on a student's budget, which will be stricter than I expected, and am looking around the $500-$600 mark.

2. I need Wi-Fi and capable of running Office/or good note taking programs, as I'll be using it strictly for University.

3. I hate paper notes, and I just want to cut down on wasting paper altogether. I find that half the time I don't even use the paper notes again/chuck them out at the end of every year. Also, Uni gives me a budget that I usually would exceed if I printed paper, and usually have to recharge the account - so I'd save money here.

4. I would prefer an included keyboard that is detachable if need be.

5. I've completely eliminated the iPad from my choices - I hate Apple products.

6. I'd enjoy if the device has a pen included, and capability to write on top of the digital notes that Uni provides us online - but this is not important or the deciding factor, I am happy to just type.

7. I've considered a note/net-book and if you can recommend one that is around my price range/requirements, then I may consider.

8. Good battery life.

 

I think that's it, thanks all for the help and I'll definitely look into your recommendations!

Surface it is. I doubt the Pro will be necessary for any of your uses outlined above, so the RT will suffice. That being said the keyboard and pen will be extras. Any netbook or laptop around that price range will be inferior in every way, from build quality to responsiveness, screen quality, and audio playback.

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After everything, I ended up getting a free iPad from my University. Just going to deal with this for now. Have found some decent apps (Notability, good for writing on lecture notes), so just gonna tough it out. I hate Apple tho!

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