Best Media Watching/Study Device for < $650

First of all sorry, I know there's a lot of these threads. I did have a browse before posting.

I did some research beforehand though so I'm mostly just looking for first hand experiences from people.

Basically I'm thinking of getting a cheap device to watch videos/study on. I'm tossing up between a surface go, iPad or a small laptop or two in one like these:

Basically I'd need it for taking notes during lectures and essay writing, so a lot of typing. As well as watching movies/youtube etc. I do a lot of this in bed as my room is too small for a desk, so need to be able to type on my lap.

So basically just something that will be easy to type on and has a decent screen.

It doesn't need to be powerful, have a lot of memory or run fortnite.

Preferably something I could get in the next week or so as I'm due to be without a laptop for a few days.

Would love any opinions, definitely happy to look around myself for the best price.



  • +1

    For this budget I think it's better to buy a secondhand ultrabook from ebay.
    You could pick up a Thinkpad X1 Carbon, Latitude 7470 or 7250 for the same money as the ones linked and these will be leagues better than the ones linked.

    • I'd consider it but will they have warranty? Also I'd prefer not to spend the full amount if I can help it but the ipad/surface both cap out around that with a keyboard and student discount.

      Also what is the upside to one exactly?

  • +1

    but a thinkpad, theres a deal every 5 minutes.

    Dont buy a chromebook unless you can guarantee google apps is enough

    • Thanks! I could potentially get one, but whats the advantage over the others? I don't really need the processing power or disk space.

      • +1

        windows and ridgidity

  • Surface Go is your friend

  • +1

    I absolutely love my iPad for Uni but use it alongside a laptop (could not imagine using it for word processing/anything typing-heavy). Brilliant for general web browsing/taking notes with the pencil/viewing and marking textbook PDF's/annotating lecture slides though - using it far more than I initially expected. Could pair it with a second-hand Chromebook (see: eBay/Gumtree) and you'd still be under $650 (iPad + pencil + education discount).

    • Thanks, the education discount only knocked like $30 off the price for an ipad though unfortunately so it's still quite a lot. I'd also want a warranty for whatever a I bought as I'm not sure when I'll have money in the future, so second hand isn't ideal.

      • +1

        Fair enough, Chromebooks are pretty reliable but I definitely couldn't recommend an iPad on its own - too constrained.

        If you want something with warranty, the Asus in your post is a great deal - enough horsepower for your use case and converts nicely for watching video. Slightly limited on storage, but you can add a 64GB MicroSD for ~$20.

  • +2

    For that budget I would buy a secondhand MacBook Air. I wouldn't even attempt to write an essay on a tablet.

  • -1

    What do you other Uni friends use? If its not for heavy gaming and just work then a Windows laptop. Maybe a 2 in 1 to give you the option of using as a tablet. 8g Ram 256g SSD. i5 chip or i7, but suspect for budget it will be a i5 processor. What I found in researching is that you need to get the specs you want and then the budget comes from there as until you work that out the budget may not be realistic for your needs. Hope that makes sense. I started looking for my wifes laptop with a budget she had, but when we looked into it there were extra features she didn't consider, so the price when up over double. Understand you have a budget, but maybe sell somethings you don't use on FB or GT to give you more buying options.

  • I'm studying Med with the new iPad 6th gen + Apple Pencil. I hardly use my laptop at all anymore, unless I'm doing something serious like writing a big paper etc. It's too hard to do all the endnote referencing etc and the screens not big enough.
    I will use it for writing but usually finish off the assignments on a laptop or other computer.

    For day to day lectures, note taking, highlight & marking up lecture notes, powerpoint, presentations etc all on the iPad. I'm always looking up medicines, pathology etc and it comes to the clinic with me as well.
    Great for watching recorded lectures, Netflix, catch up tv etc as well. battery lasts all day.

    Some of the others are using a Surface Pro, but that's out of the price range.
    ** Most important though, whatever you get, make sure the battery will last long enough for your needs! **

  • I bought a refurb Lenovo Yoga 2 in 1 for similar purposes for nearly $500 (in the 20% off sale), worked great for 6 months but then the lcd went (which may be a thing on these 2 in 1s), luckily it was through GraysOnline who had a 1 year warranty so I got full refund, bear this in mind with the ebay refurbs as most places offer between 30-90 days, rare to get 1 yr apart from Dell outlet and Grays

  • Thanks all,

    I decided I really don't need most of the things a laptop provides and the better screen on the ipad/surface go is better for watching stuff along with the touchscreen.

    I'm tossing up between an ipad, surface go or ipad pro on some sort of plan as I have a scholarship coming in later in the year.

    Not feeling great about spending that much on a pro though especially when I'm not going to have the money for a few months.

    But the aspect ratio for watching stuff is better on a surface go than ipad, and the keyboard will suit my needs whereas the ipad keyboard addon one doesnt have anywhere for wrists to go and is shorter, which im guessing is going to make it more awkward to type on sitting in bed.

    So probably getting Surface, just going to wait it out for a couple more days until I'm without a computer to see if any more deals pop up. Thanks all.