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In this picture, we have removed the protective cover of the Intel Classmate (centre) to reveal the SD card slot at the back. The rear of the ASUS Eee is mostly taken up by the battery, the only other feature being the power connector. Meanwhile, the back of the OLPC XO is simply a carrying handle.
Although it's the smallest of the three notebooks, the ASUS Eee has the largest keyboard. The main keys measure 15mm by 13mm and have a positive action; adults with large fingers may struggle to touch-type on the Eee, but children should have no problems. The Eee's touchpad is also relatively small.
Like the Eee, the Classmate has a traditional-looking keyboard, although it feels more solid than the Eee's. However, the key-tops are slightly smaller and the position of one or two keys (notably the '+/=' key) may confuse at first. The Classmate's circular touchpad seems slightly gimmicky, but is reasonably usable.
The Eee's keyboard is not ruggedised in any way, while the Classmate's is described as 'water resistant'. The OLPC XO's keyboard is properly rugged, being a sealed membrane-type unit (see next page). The XO has a conventional two-button touchpad flanked by two areas that will accept stylus input, although there's no stylus provided as yet.
The keys on the OLPC keyboard are relatively small and the action takes some getting used to — for adults at any rate. However, children who tested our review sample had no complaints (in fact one commented that it was 'addictive, like popping bubble-wrap').