Looking for a laptop/tablet for college

I will be heading off to college next year and am looking for a mid-range laptop. Somewhere around $500. My major will not be requiring much in the way of high intensity programs so I will not be needing top of the line specs, that being said slow computers with inferior build quality makes me want to cry. I am looking for a laptop but am looking at some tablets while I am at it just to make sure I don't pass something good. I am not decided on an os yet and am looking at Ubuntu, ChromeOs, OsX, iOs, Android, and Windows; due to my wide interest range I will be posting this in multiple forums, please don't turn this into a fanboy shit show. If you have some honest input, maybe from personal experience, I would be extremely grateful if you could share and help me make this decision. Thanks