One Laptop for Every Child – The XO Reviewed

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     So I was giving the gift of giving this Christmas… and found out I could get as well.  When I went to buy an XO laptop for a child in Africa and give that purchase in honor of my nephew, they were offering to let me buy two and get one for here in the states.  So I jumped at the chance to play a little before giving the computer to a child in need here at home.  Anyway, the extra one arrived today and I must say it’s pretty neat.  I’ll sprinkle some photos around this post but the rest of the unboxing can be found on my flicker page.

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It feels very solid.  Almost something like Fisher Price would design except it has a really high quality camera and wi-fi.  It feels like it can take a few drops sm012.jpgsm012.jpg(especially when closed) and be no worse for the wear.

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The rubberized keyboard is very nice and clearly will reduce any problems with build up of dust over time since there are no spaces between the keys.

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The camera functions very well and looks just great.  It lets you take still images and record video and audio which is cool.  The monitor is very bright and looks just great.  It swivels 180 degrees in each direction which will facilitate creative sharing.  The battery life appears to be quite good right out of the box.sm037.jpg

     Frankly the only tricky part was learning a new interface.  It’s unlike anything else I’ve worked with and seems to have a logic all it’s own.  There are buttons on the keyboard that move you through the main pages which was helpful once I figured that out.  It is necessary to go to what is called the Neighborhood page to see available wi-fi connections nearby.  Once there, the connection could not have been easier.  There is also a built in connection with other similar computers in the area and a lot of the functionality appears to be based on connecting the different kids’ computers with each other.  I’ll bet that’s a real hoot, however with just one I can only imagine.

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     The software is fairly basic but quite functional.  There are a number of applications that essentially create something like garage band, which allow kids to make music in a very simple way.  That program wasn’t intuitive for me, but I got it to make some fun sounds, including animal noises.  I was looking for a help screen and couldn’t find one, but the kids will probably make it sing. 

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The browser seems solid and allowed me to connect to any site I wanted without a problem.  The desktop or home page keeps track of progams that are open so you can return to them easily.

      All in all, this is a really great product and I admire the people who put it together.  It’s a big idea aimed at solving a big problem.  The folks at Intel should be ashamed for doing battle with this generous project.  Let’s connect everyone, regardless of platform or hardware.  The XO is a solid step in the human direction.  Nice.

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Filed under design, Innovation, Introspection, Tech

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