OLPC's XO Laptop and Asus's Eee PC have been bloody rivals in people's minds, whether or not the totally comparison's fair. The Eee's well-reviewed and popular, while XO's target audience has poo-pooed on it and the WSJ has laid out how it's being murdered by competition. Nonetheless, Laptop Mag aims to settle a running thread in our own comments: Which super cheap laptop reigns supreme?
Even though it's bulkier and heavier than Eee, XO's durability and clever, colorful design with antenna locks, a swivel screen with a power-conserving black & white mode, and resistance to 120-degree temps and four-foot drops unshockingly bring home the design category. But, XO wins in just two more: Connectivity, thanks to its mesh networking capabilities for daisy-chaining Wi-Fi and collaboration, and price (obviously). It loses in UI, learning curve, apps and specs.
In their conclusion, Laptop kicks XO in the nuts, and hard:
...Its designers may have outthought themselves; in their quest to create a laptop that adults could teach children to use the world over, they forgot that it's children who usually teach the grownups how to use new gadgets. Barring its unique form factor and mesh networking features, we wonder if the XO couldn't have been better served by an operating system and programs more akin to the Eee PC 701.
So, if you're buying for yourself, Eee's the best bet by a good stretch. But if you're trying to be semi-altruistic, this showdown obviously shouldn't stop you from giving a little back. Cause it's not about you, right? [Laptop]