Originally Posted by unboggling
Looks to me that for a student like my niece, after considering all previous discussion here, the MacBook Air 13 inch model with 1.8Ghz i5 chip, 4GB RAM, and 128GB Flash Drive at $1199 would be good, ....
Last year I debated buying a tablet or a laptop for my niece as well. In the end I ended up buying her a laptop with a 2 year full warranty, while I rarely buy warranties for a student it's the smart move. She ended up breaking her screen 8mo later. Laptops are just more versatile and in the end it was the right move.
The only time I would recommend a tablet is with something like an ASUS Transformer which has a keyboard that acts like a docking station so that it also has a USB Host port, HDMI, a SD Card slot and extra battery. The USB/SD slot will give the ability to transfer files via USB/sd card and the extra battery will give her extra usage without worrying about being next to an an outlet. As a plus the ASUS has a 600nits screen so it works in direct sunlight.
However my ultimate recommendation is to find out what major she is getting and find out what platform they have standardized on. My major standardized on UNIX and I found installing LINUX on my PC was the better choice.