There's been lots of buzz lately about small, low-cost laptops. The first one we heard about was the OLPC (or One Laptop Per Child), which, along with the Intel Classmate, was aimed at children in developing countries. The always creative minds at Asus were inspired by these to make the Eee PC, a $399 consumer laptop.
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Both systems use flash hard drives and have 7-inch screens. The Asus runs a custom version of Linux, while the Classmate has a stripped-down version of Windows XP.
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The Classmate is much thicker, adding generous plastic bumpers to keep internal components safe from the rigors of nontraditional learning environments.
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The Asus Eee's keyboard is even smaller than an ultraportable laptop--not for the thick-fingered.
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We liked the cool round touchpad on the Intel Classmate, but it doesn't have a scroll zone.
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The Classmate includes a snap-on leather cover that doubles as a carrying handle.
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We could fit both of these on the keyboard tray of the massive HP HDX laptop, with room to spare.
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