Photos: OLPC, Classmate and Eee

Photos: OLPC, Classmate and Eee

Summary: How do the three leading education-orientated ultraportable notebooks stack up? Take our visual tour to find out.


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  • The left-hand sides of the three notebooks all carry a pair of audio jacks (mic/headphone) and a USB port; the Classmate and Eee add an RJ-45 Ethernet connector and a fan intake — features missing from the wireless-only, passive-cooled OLPC XO. The latter's ear-like antennas cater for 802.11s mesh networking as well as standard 802.11b/g Wi-Fi connectivity (also supported in the Classmate and Eee).

    The connector for the XO's 12V AC adapter is also on the left-hand side: the notebook is designed to work with off-grid power sources such as solar panels and car batteries; a human-powered 'yo-yo' pull-cord generator has also been designed, although this is not yet widely available.

    Another unusual feature of the XO is its microphone input, which can also be used to measure voltage and resistance, allowing sensors to be plugged in and their output recorded by the included Measure application (or 'activity' in OLPC's terminology).

  • The ASUS Eee is the only notebook of this trio with a VGA connector for an external monitor. The right-hand side of the Eee also carries two USB 2.0 ports (making a total of three), an SD/MMC card slot and a Kensington lock slot. The Intel Classmate's right side has the power connector, a second USB port and a fan vent, while the OLPC XO has a pair of USB ports (again making three in all), one mounted horizontally, the other vertically.


  • Viewed from the front, the bulkiness of the 4.4cm-thick Intel Classmate (centre) is clear, as is the relative slimness of the ASUS Eee, which tapers from 3.5cm at the back to 2.15cm at the front

Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Reviews


Charles has been in tech publishing since the late 1980s, starting with Reed's Practical Computing, then moving to Ziff-Davis to help launch the UK version of PC Magazine in 1992. ZDNet came looking for a Reviews Editor in 2000, and he's been here ever since.

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  • Am I retarded...

    ...or is there no way to get to the next page of the article? All I see is "In the following pages we take a comparative pictorial look at the OLPC XO, Intel Classmate and ASUS Eee" and then... nothing.
  • Nevermind

    I see how it works.

    Worst. Navigation system. Ever.
  • XO available

    TFA mentions "Production XO laptops (above, left) became available in November 2007". Are they still available? I'd love to get one for my kid but onl heard about give-one-get-one the day after it ended...
  • Navigation is terrible

    I agree whole-heartedly with this comment.

    The intra-story navigation is *so* bad it would make Jacob Neilson's lamb-chops curl.

    Please consider making the image navigation independent of the article itself and stick to 'Next>>' or '1|2|3' links at the bottom of each page.

    Also, surely it's only necessary to give credit to the photographer once. The pix ain't that good.
  • Navigation etc.

    We mustn't offend Mr Nielsen must we? -- so we'll take a look at the navigation issue. The photos have been suitably de-credited too.
    Charles McLellan
  • It's not JN you offended


    It is not Jakob Nielsen you offended, it is us, your readers and your users and, frankly, we are your audience so you better pay attention, as JK would no doubt tell you. Piss off the audience and they refrain from returning.
    We are highly intelligent, web savvy people who can't find our way through your article (which frankly, would do well to be organised in a much better way) and it is not our fault. You want to tell me I'm wrong because the street sign isn't legible or are you going to accept responsibility for an unhelpful and some may say unnecessary navigation system.

    The web has moved on since 2000 and us users like sleek, fast, well organised content in an uncrowned environment, with semantically structured documents, code that complies to web standards and an interface that takes us humans into account, not the software that delivers the page.
    have a look at,,, and listen to your audience, not snipe at them

    So snarky comments aside, we're only here because the content is good, but I, for one, spend much less time here than I used to because the sight is so disastrously slower, more complicated more crowded, much, much less accessible, much less usable, much more unhelpful than it used to be for little or no benefit.
  • As promised...

    You'll be pleased (I hope) to see that we've improved the navigation on photo galleries. Keep the comments coming!
    Charles McLellan