Laptop Advice for Postgraduate Student

Dear All

At the end of the month I am going to do a Masters course for a year and I need to buy a laptop beforehand.

I would love to have any suggestions that incorporate the following:

  • Preferably sub 1000 pounds (GBP)
  • The thinner the better
  • How helpful is OneNote for note taking and annotating lecture notes?
  • Is the Surface RT/Pro a viable option? A laptop with option of digitizer with OneNote interests me
  • Is the Surface Pro terrible with battery life?
  • Predominantly it will be used to surf the internet, watch movies and do course work
  • I have an older version of Office (2007). Does the newer version have any standout features?
  • From a power user perspective, the option to use Ableton Live (music software) on the go would be an added bonus which would render an RT device useless
  • Have any other students/graduates used their laptop to record the lectures? Does it work well?
  • Would anyone recommend a rather petite laptop with an option of hooking up a larger display monitor (for movies mostly)?
  • Is it beneficial to go for something with a Solid State Disk (SSD)
  • Reference computer memory - more is better but I have a shed load of music that will have to be on an external HDD. So I am not overly fussed about drive space.
  • Speakers-wise: I am fussy and a nice sound is good but I will probably hook up some external speakers via cable/bluetooth/wifi
  • Windows 8 not Mac
  • Gaming: I am not a gamer. BUT I may well be tempted to run Steam and re-install Portal 2 and Limbo
  • Decent battery life is very preferable
  • The few Chromebook lovers out there - I need Microsoft Office and don't want to store everything in the cloud and start shelling out a few years down the line. But if you feel you can sway me - go for it!
  • Finally, I don't know how feasible it is but ideally I would like to minimise paper use. If there really was a viable option of annotating course notes on the computer and reducing pen and paper use then I would love to hear it. At the same time I'd rather use pen and paper if the digitizer is poor and the text seems jagged and messy.

Thank you for reading my post! If you have any suggestions that would be fantastic.

Thank you in advance!