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Classmate PC - First impressions

Here is the first round of pictures and screen shots from the two Classmate PCs Intel loaned to me for evaluation this week.

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Topic: Hardware
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1 of 18 Christopher Dawson/ZDNet

Very exciting...keep clicking.

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2 of 18 Christopher Dawson/ZDNet

Glorified VTech or handy student computer?

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One of the laptops came straight from a demo in China; fortunately the other came with North American power.

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Power is good. I like the handle; it feels quite a bit like a thick book and seems completely solid.

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One power cord, two laptops, two operating systems.

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The Linux box booting up; yes, the screen really is that small; no, you don't mind after you use it for 5 minutes. It's light, rugged, and cheap - how big a screen do you want?

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This should look familiar to SUSE users.

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Nothing too exotic here, but I have to admit, it's faster and more reliable than the Linux Classmate.

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A standard KDE interface; the test machine seemed to have real problems with multiple windows, though and kept asking me to download a boot certificate. Intel is looking into this.

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Two math applications come pre-installed on the Windows Classmate

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A wide variety of FOSS as well as web links are pre-installed on the Linux Classmate.

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2.4 GB of flash-based permanent storage means lots of data better be online instead of stored locally.

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Wouldn't have expected that, eh?

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Not much bigger than my bucket of Wasabi peas!

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I think my 17" laptop would win in a fight, but these sure fit nicely in a bag, on your lap, or under your arm.

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This is actually a pretty cool feature. An included USB device digitizes anything written on a piece of paper attached to the device if you use the included pen.

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Built-in software records the handwriting and prepares it for email, export, etc.

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A closer look shows some jumps in the corners. It takes some experimentation to know where, when, and how to write with the device.

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