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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').
The OLPC XO (left) has the biggest screen, measuring 7.5in. across the diagonal; the Intel Classmate and ASUS Eee both have 7in. TFT screens with native resolutions of 800 by 480 pixels.
The XO's screen is an innovative dual-mode TFT that can operate in greyscale/reflective mode to save power, or in LED-backlit colour/transmissive mode (shown here) for maximum image quality. In greyscale/reflective mode, the resolution is 1,200 by 900 pixels and power consumption is 0.1-0.2W; in colour/transmissive mode, resolution is approximately 800 by 600 pixels and power consumption 0.2-1W, according to OLPC.
The XO has a 0.3 megapixel digital camera to the right of the display; the Classmate has no camera, although there are plans to include one in the next version of the system; the entry-level 'Surf' version of the Eee (pictured here) has no camera, but slightly more expensive models have a 0.3 megapixel unit.